Ten Year Series: How many questions or papers to practice for Maths O Levels / A Levels?

This is a question to ponder about, how many questions or papers to practice for Maths O Levels / A Levels for the Ten Year Series?

If you searched Google, you will find that there is no definitive answer of how many questions to practice for Maths O Levels/ A Levels anywhere on the web.

For O Level / A Level, practicing the Ten Year Series is really helpful, as it helps students to gain confidence in solving exam-type questions.

Here are some tips about how to practice the Ten Year Series (TYS):

1) Do a variety of questions from each topic. This will help you to gain familiarity with all the topics tested, and also revise the older topics.

2) Fully understand each question. If necessary, practice the same question again until you get it right. There is a sense of satisfaction when you finally master a tough question.

3) Quality is more important than quantity. It is better to do and understand 1 question completely than do many questions but not understanding them.

Back to the original query of how many questions or papers to practice for Maths O Levels / A Levels for the Ten Year Series, I will attempt to give a rough estimate here, based on personal experience.

5 Questions done (full questions worth more than 5 marks) will result in an improvement of roughly 1 mark in the final exam.

(The 5 Questions must be fully understood. )

So, if a student wants to improve from 40 marks to 70 marks, he/she should try to do 30×5=150 questions (around 7 years worth of past year papers). Repeated questions are counted too, so doing 75 questions (around 3 years worth of past year papers) twice will also count as doing 150 questions. In fact, that is better for students with weak foundation, as the repetition reinforces their understanding of the techniques used to solve the question.

If the student starts revision early, this may work out to just 1 question per day for 5 months. Of course, the 150 questions must be varied, and from different subject topics.

Marks improved by Long Questions to be done Approx. Number of years of TYS OR (even better)
10 50 2 1 year TYS practice twice
20 100 4 2 year TYS practice twice
30 150 6 3 year TYS practice twice
40 200 8 4 year TYS practice twice
50 250 10 5 year TYS practice twice

This estimate only works up to a certain limit (obviously we can’t exceed 100 marks). To get the highest grade (A1 or A), mastery of the subject is needed, and the ability to solve creative questions and think out of the box.

When a student practices TYS questions, it is essential that he/she fully understands the question. This is where a tutor is helpful, to go through the doubts that the student has. Doing a question without understanding it is essentially of little use, as it does not help the student to solve similar questions should they come out in the exam.

Hope this information will help your revision.

Exam Time Management and Speed in Maths (Primary, O Level, A Level)

Time management is a common problem for Maths, along with careless mistakes.

For Exam Time management, here are some useful tips:
1) If stuck at a question for some time, it is better to skip it and go back to it later, rather than spend too much time on it. I recall for PSLE one year, there was a question about adding 1+2+…+100 early in the paper, and some children unfortunately spent a lot of time adding it manually.
2) Use a exam half-time strategy. At the half-time mark of the exam, one should finish at least half of the paper. If no, then need to speed up and skip hard questions if necessary.

To improve speed:
1) Practice. It is really important to practice as practice increases speed and accuracy.
2) Learn the faster methods for each type of question. For example, guess and check is considered a slower method, as most questions are designed to make guess and check difficult.

Sincerely hope it helps.
For dealing with careless mistakes (more for O and A levels), you may read my post on How to avoid Careless Mistakes for O-Level / A-Level Maths?

English: an animated clock
English: an animated clock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why is e^(ln x)=x? (O Level Math/ A Level Math Tuition)

Why is \boxed{e^{\ln x}=x}?

This formula will be useful for some questions in O Level Additional Maths, or A Level H2 Maths.

There are two ways to show or prove this, first we can let

y=e^{\ln x}

Taking natural logarithm (ln) on both sides, we get

\ln y=\ln x\ln e=\ln x

So y=x. Substitute the very first equation and we get e^{\ln x}=x. 🙂

Alternatively, we can view e^x and \ln x as inverse functions of each other. So, we can let f(x)=e^x and f^{-1}(x)=\ln x. Then, e^{\ln x}=f(f^{-1})(x)=x by definition of inverse functions. This may be a better way to remember the result. 🙂

The above method of inverse functions can be used to remember \ln (e^x)=x too.