It’s no surprise that Maths is one of the subjects students struggle with most at O Levels. From performance anxiety to a lack of understanding of the required concepts, students can face many different roadblocks towards success. While a degree of nerves can be expected, more than half the battle is already fought before the big day comes around. This is due to the many hours of revision and preparation students have to put in prior to the actual day. With adequate preparation, O Level Maths doesn’t have to be an impossible battle to take on.
Doing well in O Levels will provide students with many more options when it comes to pursuing post-secondary education, whether they wish to enter JC or attain a Diploma in one of the five local Polytechnics. If Maths is one of your weaker subjects, you can always work on it by engaging Maths tuition by tutors who specialise in O Levels.
In this guide, you can find out everything you need to know about O Level Maths, and we will also share with you some top tips and tricks for scoring well!
Many students, especially those who struggle with Maths or do not wish to pursue it in higher education, have questioned why O Level Maths is important. Improving your grades can seem like an uphill battle when you are constantly failing or getting Cs. Beyond a rudimentary understanding and the ability to carry out simple calculations to get by in daily life, Maths comes into play in many aspects of our lives. Even if you do not wish to do anything Maths-related after secondary school, you will find that the study of Maths tests your critical thinking and analytical skills, which are useful to have no matter which area of study you end up going into.
Love it or hate it, Maths is an important part of O Levels. For Express students, this can include both Elementary Maths (E Maths) and Additional Maths (A Maths). Doing badly in one or even both can pull down your aggregate results and affect your chances of getting into the JC or Poly course of your dreams. No matter whether you are seating for just the E Maths paper or both, you will need to put in adequate preparation to maximise your chances of doing well.
There are important reasons SEAB requires Secondary 4 and 5 students to seat for Maths papers. Below are the four objectives of O Level Maths, as highlighted by SEAB:
Below is a list of topics tested under the current O Level Maths syllabus:
By the time most students reach Secondary 4, they should already have a good idea of which topics and concepts they struggle most with. Here, it would help if you dedicated more time to these areas of weakness, but remember not to neglect the topics you are good at, either. While you may not need as much practice with them, it helps to go back to them from time to time to make sure that you don’t forget how to answer questions.
Both the E and A Maths O Levels exam are divided into two papers: Paper 1 and Paper 2. An approved calculator can be used for both papers, and students should make sure that their calculator is running on enough battery power to last them the duration of the paper. Alternatively, you may decide to bring in an extra calculator or spare batteries just in case. You will also want to make sure you have a curve ruler with you.
Paper 1: 2 hours, 80 marks, 50% of total score
25 short questions can be found in this paper.
Paper 2: 2.5 hours, 100 marks, 50% of total score
In this paper, there will be approximately 10 questions, with different marks to be attained for each based on their length and complexity.
While candidates are required to answer all questions, this can be a challenge for students whose greatest weakness is speed. You may know how to solve all or most of the questions correctly, but you will still miss out on valuable points if you are unable to complete the paper on time.
Paper 1: 2 hours, 80 marks, 44% of total score
There can be anywhere between 11 to 13 questions in this paper, depending on the number of marks attributed to each one.
Paper 2: 2.5 hours, 100 marks, 56% of total score
Similar to Paper 1, the questions in Paper 2 will vary in marks and level of complexity. However, there will only be 9 to 11 questions in this paper.
One reason O Level Maths is such a dread paper is because of the breadth and depth of topics covered. Because of this, preparation has to begin early, and students must have a solid foundation of the concepts covered from Secondary 1 to 3. If this is not done right, students will find themselves struggling at the start of Secondary 4 and having to play catch up with their peers.
Below are some of the most common challenges faced by students when it comes to taking on O Level Maths:
Compared to the languages and humanities, O Level Maths is a highly objective subject. As long as you get the right answer, even if there’s more than one way of getting there, you can be sure that there’s no subjective interpretation to it. To this end, doing well is all about knowing exactly what you need to do.
Here are some of our top tips and tricks for scoring in O Level Maths:
By following these top tips, you will be increasing your chances of walking away with your desired grade. Whether you choose to move on to JC or Poly next, the study skills you have acquired from preparing for O Levels will stand you in good stead throughout the rest of your higher education journey!
Do You Require More Individualised Attention? Here’s Why Tuition Can Help
Do you find that no matter how much time and practice you put in, you are still struggling to bring your grades up? Do you arrange review sessions with your teachers, but time is always tight or your teacher has to divide his or her time between a few students? Or are you afraid to ask questions in class with so many pairs of ears listening?
If that’s the case, there are many ways tuition can benefit you, including:
As long as you are willing to put in the time and hard work, there’s no student who can’t be helped. With the right attitude and a good tutor who’s matched to your needs, you will soon start to see a difference in your grades.
As O Levels start rolling around, it’s normal to feel a degree of stress and anxiety. Whether you are panicking for yourself or for your child’s sake, it’s not too late to start preparation. At Tutor City, we make it easy for you to find a tutor who ticks all your boxes. You can start searching for a tutor by applying the right filters to our selection. All our tutors are experienced in their field of specalisation and have undergone a strict vetting process before being approved to teach for us.
If you would rather have us recommend a tutor for you, please feel free to get in touch and request a tutor. Based on your preferences and requirements, we will send you a list of profiles within 24 hours and once you have decided to engage one of them, you can expect to receive an invoice after the lesson. If you wish to change tutors, all you have to do is pay for the lesson and make the change to another tutor – no commitments before you have found one who’s right for you!