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Thread: Doing well in 4 Unit Maths at a 300+ ranked school

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    Doing well in 4 Unit Maths at a 300+ ranked school

    Hey guys,

    I have a sibling who will be doing 4 unit maths in Year 12. Unlike other subjects, I never really figured out how to approach 4 unit maths. My teachers taught the bare minimum, weren't really great and didn't even end up finishing Mechanics let alone getting up to covering Harder 3 unit. The kids are just handed the old Arnold 4 unit text, taught the bare basics and let loose. I found that the Arnold books weren't really representative of HSC questions and self teaching from it was extremely hard, so I tried completing all the exercises in Terry Lee and a bunch of other textbooks to try and cover myself. I ended up pulling about 75 in 4 unit for my final HSC mark but I never really felt like I had everything downpacked, the entire course was just self teaching from textbooks.

    Can anyone who did really well in 4 unit give me some advice that I can pass on? .e.g. How you approached the course, were there any special resources you used? What do you think you would've done in this situation? What do you think is a waste of time?

    Thanks in advance

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    Re: Doing well in 4 Unit Maths at a 300+ ranked school

    As I have been pointing out to my students, Cambridge 4U (Arnold2) is a very difficult book for self-study. It is not a bad book - pregnant and precise with facts. Every time I re-read it, I find something new that I did not pick up previously, or have forgotten over the years. This is a book of the older era - you should see some of the textbooks used 50 to 60 years ago. They were brief, to save cost, and have very few and very primitive diagrams etc: not like the American 1st Year university Calculus textbooks - explained in great detail, fantastic layout and graphics. Arnold & Arnold would be a very good text if it were re-typeset with new layout and expanded 200% for detailed explanation.

    I remember a 4U student of mine, based in Tumut, who got an E4; he did the subject by correspondence. During the holidays, he came down all the way to stay in Sydney to have some tuition. So it is possible to do well in 4U in a 300-ranked school. But unless he has an excellent teacher and/or capable 4U classmates, getting additional guidance or help may be necessary; the earlier the better. As you have done 4U yourself, it is a very heavy course for most people.

    Getting additional text books (Terry Lee, Patel) and past paper with solutions would help. I believe there is an updated Fitzpatrick (with Bob Aus??). Calculus is all pervading in 3U & 4U, esp. 4U. I have a fantastic way to learn the differentiation & integration where, if he is smart enough, he can be twice as good in, in half the time, thereby saving possibly a few weeks of study. (some people may think I am drumming up business; I can assure you I am not. People don't know what I'm talking about.)
    Last edited by Drongoski; 5 Jul 2017 at 3:46 PM.
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    Re: Doing well in 4 Unit Maths at a 300+ ranked school

    Kinda in the same situation because we barely have any classes so there's mainly learning from videos and then asking questions at school, but doing past papers I found many techniques and ways to do questions that I didn't know so I guess try that. Also watch Eddie Woo he has lots of good explanations and read Terry Lee.
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