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Thread: Any tips on improving marks in 3U?

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    Any tips on improving marks in 3U?

    I have now recieved 2 3U exams back both with results in the 50 - 60 percent range. I feel depressed as I have a passion for maths but can't seem to do well in exams or in the lead up to them, make time to study for maths.

    My main questions are:
    1. How can I effectively balance 4 or 5 assignments with maths study (especially with regards to time)?

    2. Should I consider dropping Extension Maths?


    3. How does this reflect on how well I will do in Year 12 3U?


    4. Is it a good idea to choose 4U Maths?

    Any tips/ tricks by you Math Gods would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.

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    Re: Any tips on improving marks in 3U?

    Don't be too depressed - your marks right now have ZERO impact on your HSC. I went from 40% on my first 3U test to 95% in my most recent one.

    What were your mistakes in the exams? Too slow? Couldn't figure out how to do a specific problem? Poor algebraic manipulation skills?
    HSC 2018 - [English Adv.] • [Maths Ext. 1] • [Maths Ext. 2] • [Chemistry] • [Software Design and Development]

    1(3√3) t2 dt cos(3π/9) = log(3√e) | Integral t2 dt, From 1 to the cube root of 3. Times the cosine, of three pi over nine, Equals log of the cube root of e.

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    Re: Any tips on improving marks in 3U?

    Quote Originally Posted by fan96 View Post
    Don't be too depressed - your marks right now have ZERO impact on your HSC. I went from 40% on my first 3U test to 95% in my most recent one.

    What were your mistakes in the exams? Too slow? Couldn't figure out how to do a specific problem? Poor algebraic manipulation skills?
    Well, in my 1st exam my teacher decided to cram the exam with a lot of questions (almost every question being 1 or 2 marks) - and at the end of the exam they decided to put 3-4 mark questions (19 on the last page). However, I should of skipped some of them I suppose. The exam was on Polynomials, Perms and Combs and Inequalities. The exam had 60 marks


    And in the exam I sat last week, It had 3D Trig in it - so naturally I got destroyed in that section. However, I had no real problems with the other sections which included Angle between two lines, Sums and Differences of Angles and Double Angles. The exam was out of 40 and 3D Trig was worth 14 marks...

    So overall I know how to solve the problems, but often switch into exam mode and rush, or my teacher crams the exam with a lot of questions.

    Oh and 3D Trig is ridiculuous.

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    Re: Any tips on improving marks in 3U?

    Looks like you should focus on 3D trig then. Harder questions like from Cambridge or Fitzpatrick would be good practice (I can send you the textbooks if you don't have them).

    You did well in the other topics, though - that's good.

    I think you would probably benefit from general advice on how to avoid stressing during an exam. e.g. you could simulate exam conditions when doing a past paper to become more accustomed to the timer or make a plan during your reading time so you have a better idea of what to do.

    Also your mark in exams doesn't matter as much as your ranking (since ultimately, the ATAR is a rank). So instead of going off marks, try to gauge where you are compared to your class or cohort.
    Heresy and KAIO7 like this.
    HSC 2018 - [English Adv.] • [Maths Ext. 1] • [Maths Ext. 2] • [Chemistry] • [Software Design and Development]

    1(3√3) t2 dt cos(3π/9) = log(3√e) | Integral t2 dt, From 1 to the cube root of 3. Times the cosine, of three pi over nine, Equals log of the cube root of e.

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    Re: Any tips on improving marks in 3U?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heresy View Post
    I have now recieved 2 3U exams back both with results in the 50 - 60 percent range. I feel depressed as I have a passion for maths but can't seem to do well in exams or in the lead up to them, make time to study for maths.

    My main questions are:

    I'm no math god, but hopefully I can help.

    1. How can I effectively balance 4 or 5 assignments with maths study (especially with regards to time)?

    2. Should I consider dropping Extension Maths?


    3. How does this reflect on how well I will do in Year 12 3U?


    4. Is it a good idea to choose 4U Maths?

    Any tips/ tricks by you Math Gods would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.
    1. Religiously complete an exercise (if you're still learning the content) or a past paper every day. Most of the time (unless you're SUPER dedicated) you probably lose track of a task and procrastinate by doing something not related to your studies, BUT if you instead remind yourself that it'd be more beneficial to do some maths instead, you can then get back to working on the task for a little bit more. Also, if you treat the maths exercise/past paper as something you have to hand in (even if you don't have to) you will prioritise it. Also bear in mind you don't have to do a full exercise or paper. If you legitimately feel strong with a concept (especially the ones that aren't hard but just require heaps of expansions etc.) just gloss over it in a past paper or exercise (explained more at the end of this).

    2. Not at this point. Again as a user above said, a LOT of people start 3U with 50s or even lower and then go on to achieving high marks in their HSC year. Mainly, it's because 3U maths is very foreign and different to most of Stage 4 and 5 maths. I'd also recommend getting on top of 2U theory (ahead of your class even - by working through the textbook) so that the fundamentals for 3U are strong. Also since you've been saying you struggle with 3d trig, make sure your 2d trig is near perfect and you understand all the ways to approach 2d trig questions.
    Tip: 3d trig is normally just about splitting the image into heaps of triangles. Draw them out with labels and then match labels to each triangle that hits a certain side (hope this makes sense - maybe you already know this already)

    3. Not at all. Kind of goes on from answer to Q2

    4. Definitely consider it. I would again say don't base any of your year 12 decisions on most of your prelim stuff. Maybe yearlies, but just because it might be an indicator that your grasp on the topics isn't as strong as it should and would take too much energy to catch up on (definitely wouldn't be able to tell if this is the case at this stage though). I think if you follow tip in Q1, you will definitely be able to manage.
    I would say that most of 4U isn't really that hard. Sure, the wide variety of questions and critical thinking necessary makes it hard to full mark a lot of questions but the fundamentals are not that hard to get (usually extensions [ik, sounds obvious] of 2U topics) - e.g. 'conics' (a 4U topic) is like using coordinate geometry with just shapes that have different general formulas.

    Just one more thing. Make sure you're not just doing questions because they make you feel better about how you're doing. Not to say that you are, but I personally have many times done easy exercises because they make me feel like I know the content really well, and I neglect the hard stuff. Going to teachers or forums like these with hard questions you don't understand is the most important part of doing exercises and becoming better. It is good to strengthen your knowledge of topics to not do dumb mistakes, but not to the point where the stuff you find hard gets neglected. For example, definitely do a chapter on 3d trig if it's going to come up in your next test. If the first couple of exercises have stuff that you don't struggle with, for time's sake, keep looking until you get a question you don't know how to do and then come here or sticky note it for a teacher. Then, if you have free time you can do the other questions. Just prioritise the right topics and you'll be fine. Same thing applies with past papers (ONLY if you're doing them in untimed conditions and way before the test - otherwise do the whole paper if it's in timed conditions and you're going to mark it as if it were the real thing).

    These are a few things I would have liked to known when I was doing prelim (I feel like it would have reduced my stress) and I hope it helps you out
    Squar3root, Heresy and KAIO7 like this.
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    Re: Any tips on improving marks in 3U?

    Quote Originally Posted by fan96 View Post
    Looks like you should focus on 3D trig then. Harder questions like from Cambridge or Fitzpatrick would be good practice (I can send you the textbooks if you don't have them).

    You did well in the other topics, though - that's good.

    I think you would probably benefit from general advice on how to avoid stressing during an exam. e.g. you could simulate exam conditions when doing a past paper to become more accustomed to the timer or make a plan during your reading time so you have a better idea of what to do.

    Also your mark in exams doesn't matter as much as your ranking (since ultimately, the ATAR is a rank). So instead of going off marks, try to gauge where you are compared to your class or cohort.
    Our teacher (for some reason) doesn't allow reading time.


    I have both textbooks - and I think I will need to go back and really master the 2U concepts - ESPECIALLY BEARINGS...


    I really want to do well in the HSC - especially in Maths - Thank you for your help!

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    Re: Any tips on improving marks in 3U?

    Quote Originally Posted by boredofstudiesuser1 View Post
    1. Religiously complete an exercise (if you're still learning the content) or a past paper every day. Most of the time (unless you're SUPER dedicated) you probably lose track of a task and procrastinate by doing something not related to your studies, BUT if you instead remind yourself that it'd be more beneficial to do some maths instead, you can then get back to working on the task for a little bit more. Also, if you treat the maths exercise/past paper as something you have to hand in (even if you don't have to) you will prioritise it. Also bear in mind you don't have to do a full exercise or paper. If you legitimately feel strong with a concept (especially the ones that aren't hard but just require heaps of expansions etc.) just gloss over it in a past paper or exercise (explained more at the end of this).

    2. Not at this point. Again as a user above said, a LOT of people start 3U with 50s or even lower and then go on to achieving high marks in their HSC year. Mainly, it's because 3U maths is very foreign and different to most of Stage 4 and 5 maths. I'd also recommend getting on top of 2U theory (ahead of your class even - by working through the textbook) so that the fundamentals for 3U are strong. Also since you've been saying you struggle with 3d trig, make sure your 2d trig is near perfect and you understand all the ways to approach 2d trig questions.
    Tip: 3d trig is normally just about splitting the image into heaps of triangles. Draw them out with labels and then match labels to each triangle that hits a certain side (hope this makes sense - maybe you already know this already)

    3. Not at all. Kind of goes on from answer to Q2

    4. Definitely consider it. I would again say don't base any of your year 12 decisions on most of your prelim stuff. Maybe yearlies, but just because it might be an indicator that your grasp on the topics isn't as strong as it should and would take too much energy to catch up on (definitely wouldn't be able to tell if this is the case at this stage though). I think if you follow tip in Q1, you will definitely be able to manage.
    I would say that most of 4U isn't really that hard. Sure, the wide variety of questions and critical thinking necessary makes it hard to full mark a lot of questions but the fundamentals are not that hard to get (usually extensions [ik, sounds obvious] of 2U topics) - e.g. 'conics' (a 4U topic) is like using coordinate geometry with just shapes that have different general formulas.

    Just one more thing. Make sure you're not just doing questions because they make you feel better about how you're doing. Not to say that you are, but I personally have many times done easy exercises because they make me feel like I know the content really well, and I neglect the hard stuff. Going to teachers or forums like these with hard questions you don't understand is the most important part of doing exercises and becoming better. It is good to strengthen your knowledge of topics to not do dumb mistakes, but not to the point where the stuff you find hard gets neglected. For example, definitely do a chapter on 3d trig if it's going to come up in your next test. If the first couple of exercises have stuff that you don't struggle with, for time's sake, keep looking until you get a question you don't know how to do and then come here or sticky note it for a teacher. Then, if you have free time you can do the other questions. Just prioritise the right topics and you'll be fine. Same thing applies with past papers (ONLY if you're doing them in untimed conditions and way before the test - otherwise do the whole paper if it's in timed conditions and you're going to mark it as if it were the real thing).

    These are a few things I would have liked to known when I was doing prelim (I feel like it would have reduced my stress) and I hope it helps you out
    I don't really do questions that "make me feel better" I just go over how to do the basic stuff - from Cambridge and Maths In Focus.

    I will definitely make sure that my 2U Trig is near perfect - as Bearing is a topic that really confuses me... Thank you for your reply. This definitely helps!

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    Re: Any tips on improving marks in 3U?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heresy View Post
    Well, in my 1st exam my teacher decided to cram the exam with a lot of questions (almost every question being 1 or 2 marks) - and at the end of the exam they decided to put 3-4 mark questions (19 on the last page). However, I should of(what??) skipped some of them I suppose. The exam was on Polynomials, Perms and Combs and Inequalities. The exam had 60 marks


    The good thing for you is you are in Yr 11 - so you still have time to fix your problem. But you must not waste further time.

    When you pose a open-ended request for tips to improve your 3U marks, this may not be very useful to you. To help you, one needs to look at your work in some detail, check out your current mathematical ability etc in order to understand where you are at and how to take it from there. Maybe you have tutoring help - but is it effective for you, even if he is well-qualified?
    Last edited by Drongoski; 6 Jun 2018 at 9:36 AM.
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    Re: Any tips on improving marks in 3U?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heresy View Post
    Our teacher (for some reason) doesn't allow reading time.
    Quite odd, as the external exam includes 5 minutes of reading time and your exams should be prepping you for it. If you want to, you might like to take a few minutes regardless to skim over the test paper.
    Heresy likes this.
    HSC 2018 - [English Adv.] • [Maths Ext. 1] • [Maths Ext. 2] • [Chemistry] • [Software Design and Development]

    1(3√3) t2 dt cos(3π/9) = log(3√e) | Integral t2 dt, From 1 to the cube root of 3. Times the cosine, of three pi over nine, Equals log of the cube root of e.

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    Re: Any tips on improving marks in 3U?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drongoski View Post
    The good thing for you is you are in Yr 11 - so you still have time to fix your problem. But you must not waste further time.

    When you pose a open-ended request for tips to improve your 3U marks, this may not be very useful to you. To help you, one needs to look at your work in some detail, check out your current mathematical ability etc in order to understand where you are at and how to take it from there. Maybe you have tutoring help - but is it effective for you, even if he is well-qualified?
    I don't have tutoring help. I'm going at it alone to see how well I do by myself, however I do ask for help sometimes only when I really have no idea on how to solve a problem.

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    Re: Any tips on improving marks in 3U?

    Quote Originally Posted by fan96 View Post
    Quite odd, as the external exam includes 5 minutes of reading time and your exams should be prepping you for it. If you want to, you might like to take a few minutes regardless to skim over the test paper.
    Agreed, it is odd.

    It might be in the Yearly Exam though (fingers crossed).

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    Re: Any tips on improving marks in 3U?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heresy View Post
    1. How can I effectively balance 4 or 5 assignments with maths study (especially with regards to time)?
    time management. start all your assignments on the day you get them. aim to finish them off 1-2 weeks early.
    do minimum 1 hour of maths every night without fail.
    Quote Originally Posted by Heresy View Post
    2. Should I consider dropping Extension Maths?
    only if you're finding it unbearably hard. if you can work harder and practise, do so.
    Quote Originally Posted by Heresy View Post
    3. How does this reflect on how well I will do in Year 12 3U?
    HORRIBLY WILD ESTIMATE: if your papers are HSC level in terms of difficulty, you're heading towards a low band 5. 80-85.
    Quote Originally Posted by Heresy View Post
    4. Is it a good idea to choose 4U Maths?
    4u maths is going to take a HUUGGEEEE amount of time. if you're struggling with time management, i'd advise against 4u. but my general advice is: if you're enjoying 3u AND you're good at maths, take 4u. must meet both of those conditions imo.

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