Singapore Haze Math

Is the Singapore Haze coming back?

The haze is clearly coming back in Singapore, as haze hangs over Singapore on Sunday evening.

Interested how PSI is calculated using Math? Check out this article on The Math of air pollution at:

How to Offer Encouragement to Someone Who Has Failed an Exam or Test


Read this post to learn how to offer encouragement to someone who has failed an exam or test. Remember, the most important thing is to learn from failure, and use their failures as a stepping stone to success. 失败乃成功之母, failure is the mother of success.

Help the student to create stirring visions for his or her future. Success breeds success and once the student has a good handle on how to study successfully, this habit becomes part of his or her entire educational cycle. Ultimately, learning how to handle failed exams helps the learning process about failure in general; this leads to a better quality life and most importantly gives the person dignity and independence as an individual.

Offer Encouragement to Someone Who Has Failed an Exam or Test Step 1.jpg

Probability Formula

Formulae for Probability

Works for All Cases:

  1. P(A∪B)=P(A)+P(B)-P(A∩B)

  2. P(A|B)=\displaystyle\frac{P(A\cap B)}{P(B)}

  3. P(A’)=1-P(A)

For Mutually Exclusive Events Only:

  1. P(A∩B)=0

Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive

For Independent Events Only:

  1. P(A∩B)=P(A) P(B)

  2. P(A|B)=P(A)

  3. P(B|A)=P(B)

  4. P(A’∩B)=P(A’) P(B)

  5. P(A∩B’)=P(A) P(B’)

  6. P(A’∩B’)=P(A’) P(B’)

Is the Universe Made of Math?


Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality

In this excerpt from his new book, Our Mathematical Universe, M.I.T. professor Max Tegmark explores the possibility that math does not just describe the universe, but makes the universe

By Max Tegmark

What’s the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything? In Douglas Adams’ science-fiction spoof “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, the answer was found to be 42; the hardest part turned out to be finding the real question. I find it very appropriate that Douglas Adams joked about 42, because mathematics has played a striking role in our growing understanding of our Universe.

The Higgs Boson was predicted with the same tool as the planet Neptune and the radio wave: with mathematics. Galileo famously stated that our Universe is a “grand book” written in the language of mathematics. So why does our universe seem so mathematical, and what does it mean? In my new book “Our Mathematical Universe”, I argue that it means that our universe isn’t just described by math, but that it is math in the sense that we’re all parts of a giant mathematical object, which in turn is part of a multiverse so huge that it makes the other multiverses debated in recent years seem puny in comparison.

Math, math everywhere! But where’s all this math that we’re going on about? Isn’t math all about numbers? If you look around right now, you can probably spot a few numbers here and there, for example the page numbers in your latest copy of Scientific American, but these are just symbols invented and printed by people, so they can hardly be said to reflect our Universe being mathematical in any deep way.

Continue reading at:

Maths Challenge

Hi, do feel free to try out our Maths Challenge (Secondary 4 / age 16 difficulty):

maths challenge

Source: Anderson E Maths Prelim 2011

If you have solved the problem, please email your solution to .

(Include your name and school if you wish to be listed in the hall of fame below.)

Students who answer correctly (with workings) will be listed in the hall of fame. 🙂

Hall of Fame (Correct Solutions):

1) Ex Moe Sec Sch Maths teacher Mr Paul Siew

2) Queenstown Secondary School, Maths teacher Mr Desmond Tay

3) Tay Yong Qiang (Waiting to enter University)

The ideal Singapore JC subject combination for applying to Medicine

Why Additional Maths (A Maths) is important for entering Medicine:

Pathway: A Maths (O Level) –> H2 Maths (A Level) –> NUS Medicine


Quote: While NUS and NTU Medicine does not (officially) require H2 Maths (ie. ‘A’ level Maths), some other (overseas) Medical schools might. And not having H2 Maths might (unofficially) disadvantage your chances, even for NUS and NTU.

Therefore (assuming you intend to fight all the way for your ambition), your safest bet would be to (fight for the opportunity) to take both H2 Bio and H2 Math. The ideal Singapore JC subject combination for applying to Medicine (in any University) is :

H2 Chemistry, H2 Biology, H2 Mathematics


Quote: pre-requisites for nus medicine will be H2 Chem and H2 bio or physics.

as for what’s best,
H2 math is almost a must since without it you’ll be ruling out a lot of ‘back-up courses’

Singapore math


Singapore math (or Singapore maths in British English[1]) is a teaching method based on the national math curriculum used for kindergarten through sixth grade in Singapore.[2][3] It involves teaching students to learn and master fewer mathematical concepts at greater detail as well as having them learn these concepts using a three-step learning process.[2][3] The three steps are concrete, pictorial, and abstract. In the concrete step, students engage in hands-on learning experiences using concrete objects such as chips, dice, or paper clips.[4] This is followed by drawing pictorial representations of mathematical concepts. Students then solve mathematical problems in an abstract way by using numbers and symbols.[5]

The development of Singapore math began in the 1980s when the country’s Ministry of Education developed its own mathematics textbooks that focused on problem solving and heuristic model drawing.[3][6] Outside Singapore, these textbooks were adopted by several schools in the the United States (U.S.) and in other countries such as Canada, Israel, and the United Kingdom.[7][1][8] Early adopters of these textbooks in the U.S. included parents interested in homeschooling as well as a limited number of schools.[3] These textbooks became more popular since the release of scores from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), which showed Singapore at the top of the world three times in fourth and eighth grade mathematics.[9] U.S. editions of these textbooks have since been adopted by a large number of school districts as well as charter and private schools.[3]

Read more at:

The bar model can be drawn as a comparison model to compare two bars of unequal lengths, which can then be used to solve a subtraction problem.


On the road to make math fun: An army major who quit to become a mathematics teacher


On the road to make math fun

Madanlal Baldevraj Ghai during the city leg of his tour. Picture by Sayantan Ghosh

An army major who quit to become a mathematics teacher has embarked on a self-funded tour of the country to promote the subject.

Madanlal Baldevraj Ghai, 70, stayed in a dormitory at Howrah station to keep costs down during the three days he spent in Calcutta recently, meeting officials of the primary and secondary board and the school education department to offer suggestions on how to make the study of mathematics more interesting.

“India has produced brilliant mathematicians not just in the Vedic and medieval ages but also in modern times. Unfortunately, for quite a few years, not many students have been pursuing the subject at the higher level, which has resulted in a decline in the number of top-quality mathematicians,” the former teacher at PMN College in Rajpura, Punjab, told Metro.

“We, the elderly mathematics teachers, need to reach out to students and guardians in every corner of the country to dispel the misconception that mathematics is dry and boring,” added Ghai, who has an MPhil in the subject and is pursuing his PhD at Punjabi University, Patiala.

His 50-day tour was also prompted by the Prime Minister declaring 2012 as the year of mathematics as a tribute to Srinivasa Ramanujan, the autodidact mathematician who died in 1920 at the age of 32.

Read more at:

Math is at the heart of physics. (O Level Maths and Physics Tips)


Studying and practising Mathematics is one of the most useful things an O level student can do.

Not only are the two Maths (E Maths and A Maths) highly intertwined, studying Maths can actually help the students’ Physics too. There are some topics like Vectors and Kinematics in Physics that are also present in Mathematics.

Math is at the heart of physics. So the better your math, the better you’ll do in physics.

A good working knowledge of algebra and trigonometry is needed for Physics.

Mnemosyne with a mathematical formula.
Mnemosyne with a mathematical formula. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mathematics is not a spectator sport (How to study Maths for Humanities students)

Studying Mathematics is totally different from studying Humanities, this is the reason why humanities students often don’t do well in maths. But with the right studying techniques (i.e. practising doing mathematics), humanities students can be very good at maths. Together with their creativity and good memory, humanities students have the potential to achieve the top grades in maths exams.

I have taught Pure Literature students and found that they definitely have the potential to do well in Maths once they learn the correct method of mathematical studying and thinking, and how to approach solving Maths questions.

One of the top mathematical physicists, Edward Witten, majored in history and minored in linguistics! (

Mathematics is not a spectator sport


Even if you understand every word in lecture and in the textbook, the only way to really learn mathematics is by doing mathematics.  Sometimes this means doing even more than the assigned problems.  (See “time committment” above.)  This is how to avoid the common pitfall of “understanding everything in class but blanking out on the exams.

I realize this isn’t welcome advice, and I admit that I haven’t always followed it myself.  But in years of teaching (and 20+ years of learning) mathematics I haven’t found any shortcut.

The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets

Science Book a Day

By Simon Singh

Synopsis: Some have seen philosophy embedded in episodes of The Simpsons; others have detected elements of psychology and religion. Simon Singh, bestselling author of Fermat’s Last Theorem, The Code Book and The Big Bang, instead makes the compelling case that what The Simpsons’ writers are most passionate about is mathematics. He reveals how the writers have drip-fed morsels of number theory into the series over the last twenty-five years; indeed, there are so many mathematical references in The Simpsons, and in its sister program, Futurama, that they could form the basis of an entire university course. Using specific episodes as jumping off points – from ‘Bart the Genius’ to ‘Treehouse of Horror VI’ – Simon Singh brings to life the most intriguing and meaningful mathematical concepts, ranging from pi and the paradox of infinity to the origins of numbers and the most profound outstanding problems that haunt…

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Recommended Maths Olympiad Books for Self Learning / Domain Test

Math Olympiad Books are useful for GEP/DSA preparation. It is also useful for the latest type of test called Domain Tests, which is basically a subject test (Math included) for entry into top secondary schools like the Raffles / Hwa Chong family. There are different subject domains (depending on the school), ranging from General domain / Academic domain / CCA domain.

A First Step to Mathematical Olympiad Problems (Mathematical Olympiad Series)

The Art of Problem Solving, Vol. 1: The Basics

The first book is written by Professor Derek Holton. Prof Holton writes a nice column for a Math magazine, which gives out books as prizes to correct solutions.

GEP Math Olympiad Books

If you are searching for GEP Math Olympiad Books to prepare for the GEP Selection Test, you may search for Math Olympiad Books for Elementary School. Note that Math Olympiad Books for IMO (International Mathematics Olympiad) are too difficult even for a gifted 9 year old kid!

A suitable book would be The Original Collection of Math Contest Problems: Elementary and Middle School Math Contest problems. It covers the areas of Algebra, Geometry, Counting and Probability, and Number Sense, over 500 examples and problems with fully explained solutions.

Other Suitable Math Olympiad Books for GEP

These are some books that are very popular and highly rated on Amazon.

Challenging Problems in Algebra (Dover Books on Mathematics)

Challenging Problems in Geometry (Dover Books on Mathematics)
Math Circles for Elementary School Students: Berkeley 2009 and Manhattan 2011 (MSRI Mathematical Circles Library)

My Best Mathematical and Logic Puzzles (Dover Recreational Math)
The Moscow Puzzles: 359 Mathematical Recreations (Dover Recreational Math)

The Stanford Mathematics Problem Book: With Hints and Solutions (Dover Books on Mathematics)

The USSR Olympiad Problem Book: Selected Problems and Theorems of Elementary Mathematics (Dover Books on Mathematics)

Secondary 4 O Level E Maths and A Maths @ Bishan

Maths Tuition @ Bishan starting in 2014.

Secondary 4 O Level E Maths and A Maths.

Patient and Dedicated Maths Tutor (NUS Maths Major 1st Class Honours, Dean’s List, RI Alumni)



O Level E Maths & A Maths Tuition @ Bishan starting in 2014.

Maths Tuition @ Bishan starting in 2014.

Secondary 4 O Level E Maths and A Maths.

Patient and Dedicated Maths Tutor (NUS Maths Major 1st Class Honours, Dean’s List, RI Alumni)


Secondary 4 Maths Tuition @ Bishan starting in 2014.

Maths Tuition @ Bishan starting in 2014.

Secondary 4 O Level E Maths and A Maths.

Patient and Dedicated Maths Tutor (NUS Maths Major 1st Class Honours, Dean’s List, RI Alumni)


Performing well in math is generally a result of hard work, not innate skill


Recently, I read this article in The Atlantic about the myth of being innately “bad at math,” and how performing well in math is generally a result of hard work, not innate skill. By all accounts, I should have known this, but it only took that one semester to break down years of confidence in my aptitude. In the article, the author notes several patterns we see that reinforce this myth. The one that resonated most with me was as follows:

“The well-prepared kids, not realizing that the B students were simply unprepared, assume that they are ‘math people,’ and work hard in the future, cementing their advantage.”

And the B students (or in my case D student), well, they assume it’s about skill level and from that point forward it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

My mentor convinced me to apply to business school, and when he asked why I wouldn’t apply to Wharton, I said, “too quantitative.” I was scared. But he convinced me to apply, and after a crash course in Calculus, I learned that if I worked hard enough, indeed I could have success… even when my classmates were so-called quant jocks.

For me, it worked out, but for millions of kids in our education system, the ending isn’t so happy. Instead, parents determine at a very young age that a child has or does not have math skills. And, I would argue, they — we — do the same with reading. We decide that it’s one or the other, left or right brain. Instead, we can acknowledge our kids’ struggles with a particular subject, while continuing to encourage and remind them that a consistent effort can make a tremendous difference, but it takes perseverance.

What do I wish my teacher had done? I wish he had told me that I could do everything my classmates were doing, but I lacked the preparation before I ever stepped foot in his classroom.  If only he had instilled that confidence in me, that simple knowing that I could do better, who knows what else I might have tackled coming out of high school.

Study Tips for Mathematics

Here are some useful study tips for Mathematics. The key to acing Maths is to understand that practice is key for Mathematics!

Sincerely hope these tips help.

Please do not study Maths like studying History, Literature or Geography, the study method for Maths is totally different and opposite from studying Humanities. Reading a Maths textbook without practicing is not very helpful at all.

Once a student understands the basic theory of a certain topic (usually just one or two pages of information), he or she can move on to practicing actual questions immediately. While practicing, the student will then learn more and more knowledge and question-answering strategies for that Maths topic.

Even if you already know how to do a question, it is useful to practice it to improve on speed and accuracy.

The study strategy for Maths and Physics are kind of similar, hence usually you will find that students who are good in Maths will also be good in Physics, and vice versa.

Students from China usually do very well in Maths exams because they understand the strategy for studying Maths (which works very well up till JC level), namely a lot of practice with understanding. The strategy is called “题海战术” in Chinese, which means “immersing oneself in a sea of questions”.

Source for diagram below: Email from JobsCentral BrightMinds

maths mindmap

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos (Hardcover)

The secret to being good at Maths (or any other subject) is to like it and enjoy it. This would make working hard and practicing Maths easier and more efficient. 2 hours can easily fly past while doing Maths if one is interested in it.

This is a storybook (suitable for young kids) about “The Boy Who Loved Math”, a true story about the Mathematician Paul Erdos.

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos

Most people think of mathematicians as solitary, working away in isolation. And, it’s true, many of them do. But Paul Erdos never followed the usual path. At the age of four, he could ask you when you were born and then calculate the number of seconds you had been alive in his head. But he didn’t learn to butter his own bread until he turned twenty. Instead, he traveled around the world, from one mathematician to the next, collaborating on an astonishing number of publications. With a simple, lyrical text and richly layered illustrations, this is a beautiful introduction to the world of math and a fascinating look at the unique character traits that made “Uncle Paul” a great man.

In China, all parents know that maths is the number one subject in schools


‘Above all, it is a cultural thing.” Professor Lianghuo Fan is reflecting on the differences he has noticed between maths education in China and Singapore, where he lived and taught for 40 years, and in Britain, where he is now based. “In China, all parents know that maths is the number one subject in schools, and they expect that in a modern society everyone must be comfortable with maths, even if that means they have to work hard at it.“That attitude is passed on to their children. But here in Britain, you can feel students’ attitude about mathematics is different. They feel all right if they say they don’t like mathematics.”

Professor Fan is not alone in highlighting this national phobia of ours about maths. The government has this week shown itself determined to tackle the problem head on with the unveiling of a new “back-to-basics” primary school maths curriculum, with a renewed emphasis on times-tables, mental arithmetic, fractions and rote learning.

Most people over 40 will see the proposals as a return to the classroom practice of their childhood – but in its introductory remarks the Department for Education claimed inspiration from Asian model that Professor Fan knows so well: “I never heard a child in China or Singapore say that they don’t like maths’,” he stresses, “without a sense of embarrassment.”

We are sitting in a café near Southampton University – where 50-year-old Professor Fan has been head of the Mathematics and Science Education Research Centre since 2010 – as we try to decide if anything lies behind the popular stereotype that Asian children are “naturally” better at maths than those in the West. It is, for example, in the core storyline of Safe, the recent Hollywood blockbuster, starring Jason Statham. An 11-year-old girl, Mei (played by Chinese-born actress Catherine Chan), is a maths prodigy who can decode number sequences at a glance – and therefore has to be protected from the baddies.

Math Mark

Chinese Math Students vs English Math Students


This is a recent test used in England:

a diagnostic math test for first year university students in England

Here’s a Chinese math test:

a math question from a Chinese college entrance test

Now we know why students from China are so good at Maths!

The Aims of Additional Maths (New Syllabus)

Additional Mathematics is kind of important, if your child is intending to pursue any studies related to Mathematics in university. Business, Accounting, Economics, and of course Engineering and Physics are examples of courses requiring some Mathematics.


The syllabus is intended to prepare students adequately for A Level H2 Mathematics and
H3 Mathematics, where a strong foundation in algebraic manipulation skills and
mathematical reasoning skills are required.
The O Level Additional Mathematics syllabus assumes knowledge of O Level Mathematics.
The general aims of the mathematics syllabuses are to enable students to:
acquire the necessary mathematical concepts and skills for continuous learning in
mathematics and related disciplines, and for applications to the real world
• develop the necessary process skills for the acquisition and application of mathematical
concepts and skills
develop the mathematical thinking and problem solving skills and apply these skills to
formulate and solve problems
recognise and use connections among mathematical ideas, and between mathematics
and other disciplines
develop positive attitudes towards mathematics
make effective use of a variety of mathematical tools (including information and
communication technology tools) in the learning and application of mathematics
produce imaginative and creative work arising from mathematical ideas
• develop the abilities to reason logically, to communicate mathematically, and to learn
cooperatively and independently

Arthur Benjamin: The magic of Fibonacci numbers


Math is logical, functional and just … awesome. Mathemagician Arthur Benjamin explores hidden properties of that weird and wonderful set of numbers, the Fibonacci series. (And reminds you that mathematics can be inspiring, too!)

Watch the video at

Recommended Calculus Book for Undergraduates

Thomas’ Calculus (12th Edition)

Thomas’ Calculus is the recommended textbook to learn Undergraduate Calculus (necessary for Engineering, Physics and many science majors). It is used by NUS and can be bought at the Coop.

Full of pictures, and many exercises, this book would be a good book to read for anyone looking to learn Calculus in advance.

What is the Difference between H1 Mathematics, H2 Mathematics and H3 Mathematics?


Note: Additional Mathematics is very helpful to take H2 Mathematics in JC!


There are three mathematics syllabi, namely H1 Mathematics, H2 Mathematics and H3 Mathematics.

Students who offered Additional Mathematics and passed the subject at the GCE ‘O’ level examination may take up H2 Mathematics. Students posted to the Arts stream and did not offer Additional Mathematics at the GCE ‘O’ level examination are not allowed to take H2 Mathematics but may consider taking up H1 Mathematics. However, students who are posted to the Science stream but did not offer Additional Mathematics at the GCE ‘O’ level examination are advised to offer H2 Mathematics if they intend to pursue Science or Engineering courses at a university. Students who wish to offer H3 Mathematics must offer H2 Mathematics as well.

The use of a Graphing Calculator (GC) without a computer algebra system is expected for these Mathematics syllabi. The examination papers will be set with the assumption that candidates will have access to GCs.

H1 Mathematics

H1 Mathematics provides a foundation in mathematics for students who intend to enrol in university courses such as business, economics and social sciences. The topics covered include Graphs, Calculus and Statistics. A major focus of the syllabus would be the understanding and application of basic concepts and techniques of statistics. This would equip students with the skills to analyse and interpret data, and to make informed decisions.

H2 Mathematics

H2 Mathematics prepares students adequately for university courses including mathematics, physics and engineering, where more mathematics content is required. The topics covered are Functions and Graphs, Sequences and Series, Vectors, Complex Numbers, Calculus, Permutations and Combinations, Probability, Probability Distributions, Sampling, Hypothesis Testing, and Correlation and Regression. Students would learn to analyse, formulate and solve different kinds of problems. They would also learn to work with data and perform statistical analysis.

H3 Mathematics

H3 Mathematics offers students who have a strong aptitude for and are passionate about mathematics a chance to further develop their mathematical modeling and reasoning skills. Opportunities abound for students to explore various theorems, and to read and write mathematical proofs. Students would learn the process of mathematical modeling for real-world problems, which involves making informed assumptions, validation and prediction. Students may choose from the three H3 Mathematics modules, namely the MOE-UCLES module, the NTU Numbers and Matrices module and the NUS Linear Algebra module.

The MOE-UCLES module is conducted by tutors from our Mathematics Department. The three main topics to be investigated are Graph Theory, Combinatorics and Differential Equations. This module would be mounted only if there’s demand.

The NTU Numbers and Matrices module is conducted by lecturers from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Students would have to travel to Hwa Chong Institution to attend this module.

The NUS Linear Algebra module is conducted by lecturers at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Students who offer this module would have to attend lessons together with the undergraduates at the university.

Maths Skills to be a Doctor

Doctor and Lawyer are the top two favourite careers in Singapore. Do doctors need to use Maths? Read the below to find out.

Even if Maths is not directly needed, the logical thinking skills learnt in Mathematics will definitely be of great use. 🙂

I am not a medical doctor, but my two younger siblings are medical students, and the Mathematical knowledge and thinking skills have definitely helped them in their medical studies.


Functional numeracy is as essential to an aspiring medical professional as functional literacy. As a physician, perhaps the most important mathematical skills you will need are:

1. Basic mathematical knowledge sufficient to calculate drug doses, concentrations, etc.

2. An understanding of the core statistical concepts most commonly represented in the medical literature.

3. Knowledge of algebra to understand calculations of acid–base status, etc.

4. Ability to appreciate whether or not results are mathematically plausible.    (Nusbaum, 2006)

The careful logical reasoning that is necessary for the study of mathematics is an essential element of clinical reasoning. Although you do not need higher mathematics to get through medical school, you will need the ability to manipulate numbers, including fractions, ratios, powers of 10 and logarithms. You will also need a basic understanding of probability, graphs and simple algebra. You will need to rearrange equations and convert between units of measure.



It’s often unclear from your interactions with a doctor how much math she is using in order to treat you. While not all doctors have to use math as directly and frequently as engineers do, all of them must understand the complex mathematical equations that inform different medical treatments in order to administer treatments correctly.

Dosages and Half-Life

One of the most common ways in which doctors use mathematics is in the determination of medicine prescriptions and dosages. Doctors not only have to use basic arithmetic to calculate what dosage of a particular drug will be effective for your height and body type over a specific period of time, they will also have to be aware of the medicine’s cycle through the body and how the dosage of one drug compares with the dosage of a similar type of drug. Sometimes doctors have to use calculus to figure out the right dosage of a drug. Calculus is the study of how changing variables affect a system. In the human body, the kidney processes medicine. However, people’s kidneys are at varying levels of health. Doctors can designate the kidney as a changing function in a calculus equation known as the Cockroft-Gault equation. This equation uses the level of creatine in a patient’s blood to find the level of the kidney’s functioning, which allows the doctor to determine the appropriate dose.

Cancer Treatment

When a doctor administers radiation therapy to a cancer patient, the radiation beams have to cross each other at specific angles, so that they harm the cancerous tumor without harming the surrounding healthy tissue. The precise numbers for these angles must be calculated mathematically. Cancer tends to respond to any drug by mutating so that its DNA is no longer affected by that drug. Oncologists and medical scientists have decided to target cancerous tumors with many different kinds of drugs at once so that the cancer is unable to respond adequately. They use complex mathematical models that plot the speed and timing of the cancer’s different mutations to figure out what combinations and dosages of different drugs should be used.

Medical Images and Tests

Doctors in medical imaging use two-dimensional images of a patient’s body taken from thousands of angles to create a three-dimensional image for analysis. Determining what angles should be used and how they will fit together requires mathematics. Medical researchers who study disease will analyze the mathematical dimensions of these images. Neurologists who run EEGs on patients to measure their brain waves must add and subtract different voltages and use Fourier transforms to filter out signal static. Fourier transforms are used to alter functions in calculus.

Treatment Research

Medical scientists working with cardiologists use differential equations to describe blood flow dynamics. They also build sophisticated computer models to find the ideal size of an artificial aorta and where to place it in an infant pending a heart transplant. Doctors have to read medical journals to keep up on the latest scientific findings for the benefit of their patients. In addition to describing the calculus used to model health conditions, medical journal studies also make heavy use of statistics and probability to describe the health conditions of whole populations and the likelihood that different treatments will be effective.

Sec 4 Maths Tuition

Maths Tuition @ Bishan starting in 2014.

Secondary 4 O Level E Maths and A Maths.

Patient and Dedicated Maths Tutor (NUS Maths Major 1st Class Honours, Dean’s List, RI Alumni)


O Level Maths Group Tuition

Maths Tuition @ Bishan starting in 2014.

O Level E Maths and A Maths.

Patient and Dedicated Maths Tutor (NUS Maths Major 1st Class Honours, Dean’s List, RI Alumni)


Mathematics homework

You can reach for the stars with Jaws, Braille and determination, mathematics whiz Yeo Sze Ling tells HELLEN TAN

Maths Group Tuition starting in 2014!


Counting on her mind

1,248 words 24 May 2005 Digital Life English (c) 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Limited

You can reach for the stars with Jaws, Braille and determination, mathematics whiz Yeo Sze Ling tells HELLEN TAN

Given that multiple degrees are common today, the fact that Miss Yeo Sze Ling has two degrees in mathematics, and is working on her doctorate in the same field, is probably not news.

Until you find out that she is blind.

The 27-year-old who earned her Bachelor’s degree (Honours) and a Master’s degree from National University of Singapore (NUS) is now into research on coding mathematics theories and cryptography.

These are used in computing algorithms to protect passwords or data from being stolen when they are zipped from computer to computer.

The field is an interest she shares with John Nash Jr, a mathematical genius who won a Nobel Prize, portrayed in the Oscar-winning movie, A Beautiful Mind.

Certainly, like Nash, her achievements should mean a lot.

He was a schizophrenic who thought he was doing secret cryptography work for the American government.

She has been blind from the age of about four when glaucoma struck. Glaucoma is a condition that increases pressure within the eyeball causing sight loss.

Technology has come in handy.

On campus, she totes a laptop.

At home in a four-room HDB flat in Bishan, her desktop Compaq PC holds today’s tech staples – e-mail and MSN Messenger for exchanging notes with friends.

The Internet is her source for research as well as for online newspapers or electronic books like A Beautiful Mind.

Continue reading at,%2024%20May%20-%20Counting%20on%20her%20mind%20-%20Yeo%20Sze%20Ling.htm

Information about Mathematics Department Courses (Nanyang JC)


H1 Mathematics

H1 Mathematics provides a foundation in mathematics for students who intend to enrol in university courses such as business, economics and social sciences. The syllabus aims to develop mathematical thinking and problem solving skills in students. A major focus of the syllabus will be the understanding and application of basic concepts and techniques of statistics. This will equip students with the skills to analyse and interpret data, and to make informed decisions. The use of graphic calculator is expected.

H2 Mathematics

H2 Mathematics prepares students adequately for university courses including mathematics, physics and engineering, where more mathematics content is required. The syllabus aims to develop mathematical thinking and problem solving skills in students. Students will learn to analyse, formulate and solve different types of problems. They will also learn to work with data and perform statistical analyses. The use of graphic calculator is expected.

This subject assumes the knowledge of O-Level Additional Mathematics.

Continue reading at

Carl Friedrich Gauss


Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (/ɡs/; German: Gauß, pronounced [ɡaʊs] ( listen); Latin: Carolus Fridericus Gauss) (30 April 1777 – 23 February 1855) was a German mathematician and physical scientist who contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, algebra, statistics, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, geophysics, electrostatics, astronomy and optics.

Sometimes referred to as the Princeps mathematicorum[1] (Latin, “the Prince of Mathematicians” or “the foremost of mathematicians”) and “greatest mathematician since antiquity“, Gauss had a remarkable influence in many fields of mathematics and science and is ranked as one of history’s most influential mathematicians.[2]

Carl Friedrich Gauss.jpg

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Number Theory Notes – Art of Problem Solving


Excellent notes on Olympiad Number Theory!


This set of notes on number theory was originally written in 1995 for students

at the IMO level. It covers the basic background material that an IMO

student should be familiar with. This text is meant to be a reference, and

not a replacement but rather a supplement to a number theory textbook;

several are given at the back. Proofs are given when appropriate, or when

they illustrate some insight or important idea. The problems are culled from

various sources, many from actual contests and olympiads, and in general

are very difficult. The author welcomes any corrections or suggestions.


Advice to Students


Advice to Students:

Over the years, I have collected some information that I hope will help  students, particularly beginning math students, to improve their study  and learning habits.  An important part of what you learn at college is  how to learn, so that you can carry that on for the rest of your  life.  Find out what works for you and what doesn’t.

These observations are centered around first-year calculus courses, so not  everything may apply to you, but even more advanced students can benefit  from some of them.

As you develop your own learning habits, please think carefully about the  following topics:

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Student Advice: Comments on Perseverance


Comments on Perseverance:

One source of confusion for students when they reach college and begin to  do college-level mathematics is this:  in high school, it is usually pretty  apparent what formula or technique needs to be applied, as much of the  material in high school is computational or procedural.  In college,  however, mathematics becomes more conceptual, and it is much harder to  know what to do when you first start a problem.  As a consequence of this,  many students give up on a problem too early.

If you don’t immediately know how to attack a problem, this doesn’t mean you  are stupid,

If you already know how to do it, it’s not  really a problem.

or that you don’t understand what’s going on; that’s just how  real problems work.  After all, if you already know how to do it, it’s not  really a problem, is it?  You should expect to be confused at first.   There’s no way you can know ahead of time how to solve every problem that  you will face in life.  You’re only hope, and therefore your goal as a  student, is to get experience with working through hard problems on your  own.  That way, you will continue to be able to do so once you leave  college.

One of the first steps in this is to realize that not knowing how, and the  frustration that accompanies that, is part of the process.  Then you have  to start to figure out the questions that you can ask to help you to break  down the problem, so that you can figure out how it really works.  What’s  really important in it?  What is the central concept?  What roles do the  definitions play?  How is this related to other things I know?

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Does one have to be a genius to do maths?


Better beware of notions like genius and inspiration; they are a sort of magic wand and should be used sparingly by anybody who wants to see things clearly. (José Ortega y Gasset, “Notes on the novel”)

Does one have to be a genius to do mathematics?

The answer is an emphatic NO.  In order to make good and useful contributions to mathematics, one does need to work hard, learn one’s field well, learn other fields and tools, ask questions, talk to other mathematicians, and think about the “big picture”.  And yes, a reasonable amount of intelligence, patience, and maturity is also required.  But one does not need some sort of magic “genius gene” that spontaneously generates ex nihilo deep insights, unexpected solutions to problems, or other supernatural abilities.

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There’s more to mathematics than grades and exams and methods


When you have mastered numbers, you will in fact no longer be reading numbers, any more than you read words when reading books. You will be reading meanings. (W. E. B. Du Bois)

When learning mathematics as an undergraduate student, there is often a heavy emphasis on grade averages, and on exams which often emphasize memorisation of techniques and theory than on actual conceptual understanding, or on either intellectual or intuitive thought. There are good reasons for this; there is a certain amount of theory and technique that must be practiced before one can really get anywhere in mathematics (much as there is a certain amount of drill required before one can play a musical instrument well). It doesn’t matter how much innate mathematical talent and intuition you have; if you are unable to, say, compute a multidimensional integral, manipulate matrix equations, understand abstract definitions, or correctly set up a proof by induction, then it is unlikely that you will be able to work effectively with higher mathematics.

However, as you transition to graduate school you will see that there is a higher level of learning (and more importantly, doing) mathematics, which requires more of your intellectual faculties than merely the ability to memorise and study, or to copy an existing argument or worked example. This often necessitates that one discards (or at least revises) many undergraduate study habits; there is a much greater need for self-motivated study and experimentation to advance your own understanding, than to simply focus on artificial benchmarks such as examinations.

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The Key To Career Success


“The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple.” ~ Stan Gudder, Mathematician

Math, at its core, is about solving problems — about breaking a challenge into its basic elements to be investigated, tested, manipulated and understood. Math can give you the tools to find a winning formula. And, it can create the path to your career.

Math is the key to unlocking possibilities. It frees you up to think creatively about solutions and to focus your attention on what truly matters at the end of the day.

Finally, math empowers you to be a better leader and to remain open to new ideas. It sparks creativity and learning. It gives you confidence and conviction to say “YES!” when you’re asked to take on a new challenge. It helps you attract and energize the people you hire to help you.  In a marketplace that’s moving so fast, it’s important to constantly listen, learn, analyze and formulate new ways to serve customers.  Math provides the foundation for doing just that.

Want to succeed? It’s simple … math.

Mathematics is an art

Taken from

The first thing to understand is that mathematics is an art. The difference between math and the other arts, such as music and painting, is that our culture does not recognize it as such. Everyone understands that poets, painters, and musicians create works of art, and are expressing themselves in word, image, and sound. In fact, our society is rather generous when it comes to creative expression; architects, chefs, and even television directors are considered to be working artists. So why not mathematicians? Part of the problem is that nobody has the faintest idea what it is that mathematicians do. The common perception seems to be that mathematicians are somehow connected with science— perhaps they help the scientists with their formulas, or feed big numbers into computers for some reason or other. There is no question that if the world had to be divided into the “poetic dreamers” and the “rational thinkers” most people would place mathematicians in the latter category. Nevertheless, the fact is that there is nothing as dreamy and poetic, nothing as radical, subversive, and psychedelic, as mathematics. It is every bit as mind blowing as cosmology or physics (mathematicians conceived of black holes long before astronomers actually found any), and allows more freedom of expression than poetry, art, or music (which depend heavily on properties of the physical universe). Mathematics is the purest of the arts, as well as the most misunderstood. So let me try to explain what mathematics is, and what mathematicians do. I can hardly do better than to begin with G.H. Hardy’s excellent description: A mathematician, like a painter or poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas.


Tangent Secant Theorem (A Maths Tuition)

Nice Proof of Tangent Secant Theorem:

Note: The term “Square of Sum less Square” means a^2-b^2=(a+b)(a-b)

The proof of the Tangent Secant Theorem, though not tested, is very interesting. In particular, the proof of the first case (DA passes through center) should be accessible to stronger students.

The illustration for theorem about tangent and...
The illustration for theorem about tangent and secant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

O Level E Maths Tuition: Statistics Question



From the graph,

Median = 50th percentile = $22,000 (approximately)

The mean is lower than $22000 because from the graph, there is a large number of people with income less than $22000, and fewer with income more than $22000. (From the wording of the question, calculation does not seem necessary)

Hence, the median is higher.

The mean is a better measure of central tendency, as it is a better representative of the gross annual income of the people. This is because more people have an income closer to the mean, rather than the median.

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):





Geometry and Trigonometry






Geometry and Trigonometry




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)

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.


  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!