Start Maths Revision Early for the Best Results!

O Level Group Tuition @ Bishan starting in 2014!

Maths is a subject that requires students to start revision / practice early!

It needs consistent practice and last minute studying is not going to work well!

Many students have the wrong concept that they can start practising questions one or two months before the O Levels. The problem is, without constant practice, the questions from the Ten Year Series would be too difficult for students to even begin attempting the questions! This is especially true for Additional Mathematics. This leads to panic and is not the desired study strategy. This is the main reason why it is possible to score very low (less than 20 marks out of 100) in Maths, if the student does not have solid foundation or has lack of practice. To avoid this scenario, start practicing and revising Maths now! Many students already start studying / learning in advance during the December holidays. January is still a good time to start! As the Chinese proverb states: “一年之计在于春一日之计在于晨”, the best time to begin planning for a task is in Spring.

Also, the current O Level Maths is not like the O Level of the past! Due to higher education standards nowadays, and competition from foreigners (especially China students whose pet subjects are Maths and Chinese), the bell curve for E Maths has shifted very very high. Rumours have it that 90 marks is necessary for a guaranteed A1 in E Maths.

On the bright side, it is very possible to improve in Maths with practice. Look at the Mathematics questions in O Levels, one long question is around 10 marks. Answering that one question correctly will already boost your score by 10 marks. (2 grades). Answering two long questions correctly will boost score by a whopping 20 marks!

Hesitate no longer! Start revising for your Maths now!

O Level Group Tuition @ Bishan starting in 2014!

Maths Tutor Singapore, H2 Maths, A Maths, E Maths

If you or a friend are looking for maths tuition: o level, a level, IB, IP, olympiad, GEP and any other form of mathematics you can think of

Experienced, qualified (Raffles GEP, Deans List, NUS Deans List, Olympiads etc) and most importantly patient even with the most mathematically challenged.

so if you are in need of the solution to your mathematical woes, drop me a message!

Tutor: Mr Wu

Email: mathtuition88@gmail.com

Website: https://mathtuition88.com/

H2 Maths Tuition: Complex Numbers Notes

H2 Maths: Complex Numbers 1 Page Notes

Modulus

Argument

Cartesian Form

Draw diagram first, then find the appropriate quadrant and use

(can use GC to double check)

Polar Form

Exponential Form

When question involvespowers, multiplication or division, it may be helpful toconvert to exponential form.

Please write Ƶ and 2 differently.

De Moivre’s Theorem

Equivalent to

Memory tip: Notice that arg behaves similarly to log.

Locusof z is aset of pointssatisfying certain given conditions.

in English means:The distance between (the point representing)and (the point representing)

Means the distance offromis a constant,.

So this is acircular loci.

Centre:, radius =

means that the distance offromis equal to its distance from

In other words, the locus is theperpendicular bisectorof the line segment joiningand.

represents ahalf-linestarting frommaking an anglewith the positive Re-axis.

(Exclude the point (a,b) )

Common Errors

– Some candidates thought thatis the same asand thatis the same as.

– The “formula”for argumentsdoes not workfor points in the 2ndand 3rdquadrant.

– Very many candidates seem unaware that their calculators will work in radians mode and there were many unnecessary “manual” conversions from degrees to radians.

Maths Tuition Free Exam Papers (Primary, Secondary, O Levels, A Levels) Links

The Free Exam Papers Database has moved to:

https://mathtuition88.com/free-exam-papers

(Click here to go to Free Exam Papers Database)

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.

积少成多: How can doing at least one Maths question per day help you improve! (Maths Tuition Revision Strategy)

We all know the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away“. Many essential activities, like eating, exercising, sleeping, needs to be done on a daily basis.

Mathematics is no different!

Here is a surprising fact of how much students can achieve if they do at least one Maths question per day. (the question must be substantial and worth at least 5 marks)

This study plan is based on the concept of 积少成多, or “Many little things add up“. Also, this method prevents students from getting rusty in older topics, or totally forgetting the earlier topics. Also, this method makes use of the fact that the human brain learns during sleep, so if you do mathematics everyday, you are letting your brain learn during sleep everyday.

Let’s take the example of Additional Mathematics.

Exam is on 24/25 October 2013.

Let’s say the student starts the “One Question per day” Strategy on 20 May 2013

Days till exam: 157 days  (22 weeks or 5 months, 4 days)

So, 157 days = 157 questions (or more!)

Each paper in Ten Year Series has around 25 questions (Paper 1 & Paper 2), so 157 questions translates to more than 6 years worth of practice papers! And all that is achieved by just doing at least one Maths question per day!

A sample daily revision plan can look like this. (I create a customized revision plan for each of my students, based on their weaknesses).

Suggested daily revision (Additional Mathematics):

Topic

Monday

Algebra

Tuesday

Geometry and Trigonometry

Wednesday

Calculus

Thursday

Algebra

Friday

Geometry and Trigonometry

Saturday

Calculus

Sunday

Geometry and Trigonometry

(Calculus means anything that involves differentiation, integration)

(Geometry and Trigonometry means anything that involves diagrams, sin, cos, tan, etc. )

(Algebra is everything else, eg. Polynomials, Indices, Partial Fractions)

By following this method, using a TYS, the student can cover all topics, up to 6 years worth of papers!

Usually, students may accumulate a lot of questions if they are stuck. This is where a tutor comes in. The tutor can go through all the questions during the tuition time. This method makes full use of the tuition time, and is highly efficient.

Personally, I used this method of studying and found it very effective. This method is suitable for disciplined students who are aiming to improve, whether from fail to pass or from B/C to A. The earlier you start the better, for this strategy. For students really aiming for A, you can modify this strategy to do at least 2 to 3 Maths questions per day. From experience, my best students practice Maths everyday. Practicing Ten Year Series (TYS) is the best, as everyone knows that school prelims/exams often copy TYS questions exactly, or just modify them a bit.

The role of the parent is to remind the child to practice maths everyday. From experience, my best students usually have proactive parents who pay close attention to their child’s revision, and play an active role in their child’s education.

This study strategy is very flexible, you can modify it based on your own situation. But the most important thing is, practice Maths everyday! (For Maths, practicing is twice as important as studying notes.) And fully understand each question you practice, not just memorizing the answer. Also, doing a TYS question twice (or more) is perfectly acceptable, it helps to reinforce your technique for answering that question.

If you truly follow this strategy, and practice Maths everyday, you will definitely improve!

Mathematics homework

Hardwork \times 100% = Success! (^_^)

There is no substitute for hard work.” – Thomas Edison

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)

H2 Maths Tuition: Foot of Perpendicular (from point to plane) (Part II)

This is a continuation from H2 Maths Tuition: Foot of Perpendicular (from point to line) (Part I).

Foot of Perpendicular (from point to plane)

From point (B) to Plane ( p)

h2-vectors-tuition

Equation (I):

Where does F lie?

F lies on the plane  p.

\overrightarrow{\mathit{OF}}\cdot \mathbf{n}=d

Equation (II):

Perpendicular

\overrightarrow{\mathit{BF}}=k\mathbf{n}

\overrightarrow{\mathit{OF}}-\overrightarrow{\mathit{OB}}=k\mathbf{n}

\overrightarrow{\mathit{OF}}=k\mathbf{n}+\overrightarrow{OB}

Final Step

Substitute Equation (II) into Equation (I) and solve for k.

Example

[VJC 2010 P1Q8i]

The planes \Pi _{1} and \Pi _{2} have equations \mathbf{r\cdot(i+j-k)}=6 and \mathbf{r\cdot(2i-4j+k)}=-12 respectively. The point A  has position vector  \mathbf{{9i-7j+5k}} .

(i) Find the position vector of the foot of perpendicular from  A to \Pi _{2} .

Solution

Let the foot of perpendicular be F.

Equation (I)

\overrightarrow{\mathit{OF}}\cdot  \left(\begin{matrix}2\\-4\\1\end{matrix}\right)=-12

Equation (II)

\overrightarrow{\mathit{OF}}=k\left(\begin{matrix}2\\-4\\1\end{matrix}\right)+\left(\begin{matrix}9\\-7\\5\end{matrix}\right)=\left(\begin{matrix}2k+9\\-4k-7\\k+5\end{matrix}\right)

Subst. (II) into (I)

2(2k+9)-4(-4k-7)+(k+5)=-12

Solve for k,  k=-3 .

\overrightarrow{\mathit{OF}}=\left(\begin{matrix}3\\5\\2\end{matrix}\right)

H2 Maths Tuition

If you are looking for Maths Tuition, contact Mr Wu at:

Email: mathtuition88@gmail.com

H2 Maths Tuition: Foot of Perpendicular (from point to line) (Part I)

Foot of Perpendicular is a hot topic for H2 Prelims and A Levels. It comes out almost every year.

There are two versions of Foot of Perpendicular, from point to line, and from point to plane. However, the two are highly similar, and the following article will teach how to understand and remember them.

H2: Vectors (Foot of perpendicular)

From point (B) to Line ( l)

(Picture)

h2-vectors-tuition

Equation (I):

Where does F lie? F lies on the line  l.

\overrightarrow{\mathit{OF}}=\mathbf{a}+\lambda  \mathbf{m}

Equation (II):

Perpendicular:

\overrightarrow{\mathit{BF}}\cdot \mathbf{m}=0

(\overrightarrow{\mathit{OF}}-\overrightarrow{\mathit{OB}})\cdot  \mathbf{m}=0

Final Step

Substitute Equation (I) into Equation (II) and solve for  \lambda .

Example:

[CJC 2010 P1Q7iii]

Relative to the origin O , the points A , B and C  have position vectors  \left(\begin{matrix}1\\2\\1\end{matrix}\right) , \left(\begin{matrix}2\\1\\3\end{matrix}\right) and \left(\begin{matrix}-1\\2\\3\end{matrix}\right) Find the shortest distance from  C to \mathit{AB} . Hence or otherwise, find the area of triangle \mathit{ABC} .

[Note: There is a 2nd method to this question. (cross product method)]

Solution:

Let the foot of perpendicular from C to AB be F.

Equation (I):

\overrightarrow{\mathit{OF}}=\overrightarrow{\mathit{OA}}+\lambda  \overrightarrow{\mathit{AB}}=\left(\begin{matrix}1+\lambda \\2-\lambda  \\1+2\lambda \end{matrix}\right)

Equation (II):

(\overrightarrow{\mathit{OF}}-\overrightarrow{\mathit{OC}})\cdot  \overrightarrow{\mathit{AB}}=0

\left(\begin{matrix}2+\lambda \\-\lambda \\-2+2\lambda  \end{matrix}\right)\cdot  \left(\begin{matrix}1\\-1\\2\end{matrix}\right)=0

\lambda =\frac{1}{3}

\overrightarrow{\mathit{CF}}=\overrightarrow{\mathit{OF}}-\overrightarrow{\mathit{OC}}=\left(\begin{matrix}2\frac{1}{3}\\-{\frac{1}{3}}\\-1\frac{1}{3}\end{matrix}\right)

\left|{\overrightarrow{{\mathit{CF}}}}\right|=\sqrt{\frac{22}{3}}

Area of  \Delta  \mathit{ABC}=\frac{1}{2}\left|{\overrightarrow{\mathit{AB}}}\right|\left|{\overrightarrow{\mathit{CF}}}\right|=\sqrt{11}

For the next part, please read our article on Foot of Perpendicular (from point to plane).

H2 Maths Tuition

If you are looking for Maths Tuition, contact Mr Wu at:

Email: mathtuition88@gmail.com

Is d/dx (a^x)=x a^{x-1}? (a conceptual error in O/A Level Math)

In O Level, students are taught that \boxed{\frac{d}{dx}(x^{n})=nx^{n-1}}

So naturally, students may think that \displaystyle\frac{d}{dx}(a^{x})=xa^{x-1}?? (a is a constant)

Well, actually that is good pattern spotting, but unfortunately it is incorrect. Do not be too disheartened if you make this mistake, it is a common mistake.

The above is a conceptual error as  \boxed{\frac{d}{dx}(x^{n})=nx^{n-1}} only holds when n is a constant.

Fortunately, this question is rarely tested, though it is quite possible that it can come up in A Levels.

To fully understand the following steps, it would help read my other post (Why is e^(ln x)=x?) first.

First, we write \displaystyle a^x=e^{\ln a^x}=e^{x\ln a}.

Hence
\displaystyle    \begin{array}{rcl}    \frac{d}{dx} (a^x)&=&\frac{d}{dx} (e^{x\ln a})\\    &=&e^{x\ln a}(\ln a)\\    &=&e^{\ln a^x}(\ln a)\\    &=&a^x(\ln a)    \end{array}

After fully understanding the above steps, you may memorize the formula if you wish:

\boxed{\frac{d}{dx} (a^x)=a^x(\ln a)}

Memory Tip: If you let a=e, you should get \boxed{\frac{d}{dx} (e^x)=e^x(\ln e)=e^x}

The above steps involve the chain rule, which I will cover in a subsequent post.

How to avoid Careless Mistakes for Maths?

Many parents have feedback to me that their child often makes careless mistakes in Maths, at all levels, from Primary, Secondary, to JC Level. I truly empathize with them, as it often leads to marks being lost unnecessarily. Not to mention, it is discouraging for the child.

Also, making careless mistakes is most common in the subject of mathematics, it is rare to hear of students making careless mistakes in say, History or English.
Fortunately, it is possible to prevent careless mistakes for mathematics, or at least reduce the rates of careless mistakes.

From experience, the ways to prevent careless mistakes for mathematics can be classified into 3 categories, Common Sense, Psychological, and Math Tips.

Common Sense

  1. Firstly, write as neatly as possible. Often, students write their “5” like “6”. Mathematics in Singapore is highly computational in nature, such errors may lead to loss of marks. Also, for Algebra, it is recommended that students write l (for length) in a cursive manner, like \ell to prevent confusion with 1. Also, in Complex Numbers in H2 Math, write z with a line in the middle, like Ƶ, to avoid confusion with 2.
  2. Leave some time for checking. This is easier said than done, as speed requires practice. But leaving some time, at least 5-10 minutes to check the entire paper is a good strategy. It can spot obvious errors, like leaving out an entire question.

Psychological

  1. Look at the number of marks. If the question is 5 marks, and your solution is very short, something may be wrong. Also if the question is just 1 mark, and it took a long time to solve it, that may ring a bell.
  2. See if the final answer is a “nice number“. For questions that are about whole numbers, like number of apples, the answer should clearly be a whole number. At higher levels, especially with questions that require answers in 3 significant figures, the number may not be so nice though. However, from experience, some questions even in A Levels, like vectors where one is suppose to solve for a constant \lambda, it turns out that the constant is a “nice number”.

Mathematical Tips

Mathematical Tips are harder to apply, unlike the above which are straightforward. Usually students will have to be taught and guided by a teacher or tutor.

  1. Substitute back the final answer into the equations. For example, when solving simultaneous equations like x+y=3, x+2y=4, after getting the solution x=2, y=1, you should substitute back into the original two equations to check it.
  2. Substitute in certain values. For example, after finding the partial fraction \displaystyle\frac{1}{x^2-1} = \frac{1}{2 (x-1)}-\frac{1}{2 (x+1)}, you should substitute back a certain value for x, like x=2. Then check if both the left-hand-side and right-hand-side gives the same answer. (LHS=1/3, RHS=1/2-1/6=1/3) This usually gives a very high chance that you are correct.

Thanks for reading this long article! Hope it helps! 🙂

I will add more tips in the future.

Recommended Maths Book:

Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail

This book is a New York Times Bestseller by actress Danica McKellar, who is also an internationally recognized mathematician and advocate for math education. It should be available in the library. Hope it can inspire all to like Maths!


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.