KS’ thoughts on H2 Math 2015

After Christine shared what will likely pop up in the upcoming H1 GP paper, I thought I can share some thoughts too. Just to clarify, I am not spotting as I never believe in spotting for a Mathematics paper, the thought is pretty ambiguous.

Let us first look at the effect of having the papers being one week of each others first. So some students plan to hold back on Statistics a bit and focus more on Pure Mathematics since there is a week to work on Statistics. Please don’t bank on this thought too much and ignore Statistics too much. Lets be honest, we are not going to spend the next 6 days entirely on statistics as most of you have papers straight after Paper 2.

Next, will the paper be easier, you know the hearsay about paper being easy and hard every year. Lets not bank on that, since things are pretty erratic these days, people don’t do things the norm (just look at the haze and what some neighbours say). Furthermore, an easy paper is not exactly what you should pray for. Everybody can do an easy paper but not everybody don’t make a careless mistake. 🙂 I’ll advise students be really meticulous with their papers. And for the n^{th} time, please present legibly. Its time to write “Let X denote…” for every single variables you introduce from system of linear equations to statistics. And lets not forget to get real with \lambda in vectors.

Now, every year’s paper has some questions that springs a surprise and throws students off their feet. In 2013, we saw the distance with two planes. In 2011, we saw a trigonometry Mathematical Induction. In 2009, we saw periodic/ cyclical functions coupled with piecewise functions. These questions were not hard if students are aware of the correct technique to treat the questions. The marks are really generous given. Some of you who saw my suggested solutions did ask me why my working so short. Because its all about knowing and understanding, instead of rote-learning.

Surprise questions aside, basic questions will definitely appear. Students who still struggle with implicit differentiation, should really get some help already. Let’s be clear that you have learnt enough differentiation to be highly capable to differentiate every single thing that appears in A-levels, even the rate of gradient, i.e., Latex \frac{d}{dt}(\frac{dy}{dx}). If you still can remember all the formulas for trigonometry differentiation, learn the trigonometry and just go back to basics, perform that quotient or product rule. Every trigonometry differentiation goes back to differentiating \mathrm{sin}x, \mathrm{cos}x \mathrm{~and~tan}x. Just saying. And please know your formulas in MF15, don’t need to memorise them but know what you have and how to apply/ use them CORRECTLY. Oh, and who is to say that we can’t have you differentiate piecewise functions. hmmm. One just have to be meticulous enough to check domains in functions.

Aside from being able to present solution well for vectors, students must know how to work with lines. The thing about H2 Math syllabus is that, we can always test concepts not in syllabus so long as there is sufficient pointers and guidance. For example, the shortest distance between two skewed lines (which is not required to be learnt in syllabus) can be solved by having students finding an angle & a projection. Students should also be careful with their drawing in exams, I’ve marked really good art pieces which unfortunately are misrepresentation of the questions. Take your drawing with a pinch of salt and don’t assume anything unless you are certain. Given that the line is on plane, is the perpendicular distance of a point to line same as the perpendicular distance from point to the plane? A question was designed during revision period for my students and many students assumed so. It is really convenient to assume this, but we should never jump to that conclusion. So please be careful and take that picture with a pinch of salt.

Statistics is like a free marks for many of my students. Students love them cos its all about Graphing Calculator. But lets be honest, in Graphing Calculator we trust and we will copy that 0.159002476 on the screen and round it off appropriately. But what if we have butter fingers and typed wrong. Will we key it twice and check if we made a human error. And don’t get me started on square rooting the variance please. My students find me too naggy already, yes, thou shalt hear my voice in exam. If you finish the paper without continuity correction, you need to go back and do some correction. And not to be forgotten, PRESENTATION PRESENTATION PRESENTATION! Round off when you need, know when to use 3SF and 5SF. 🙂 This is very important in statistics, we don’t have time to try to understand your variable X.

Lastly, please have enough rest. Drink water and get enough rest daily. A handful of students have fallen ill due to the haze and that’s time lost. That 3 hours more of studying which will cause you to fall sick for a day, not worth it. And don’t tell yourself, you can do this and will not fall sick. Even the A-levels 2013 Paper 2 Question 12 knows that the probability of a person falling is not constant. :p

All the best, and I will share my suggested solutions shortly after your paper.

Showing 3 comments
  • theazariah100th

    So roughly what’s the mark to hit an A for this year’s H2 Math a-lvl exam?

    • AcemyMath

      60% to get C
      70% to get B
      85% to get A
      From what i gathered from friends from different schools.

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