Ultimate Guide to HSC Mathematics (1 Viewer)

Dragonmaster262

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Hello, fellow bosers. My name is Namu Lyoo and I am here to hand this guide upon YOU. I have done 2 unit mathematics and 3 unit mathematics for HSC last year (2008 HSC) as an accelerant and achieved good marks in both. So please don't post a crap saying that I don't have an experience and knowledge to post this kind of thread. While this thread is primarily for the 2 unit hsc students (and 3 unit hsc students doing 2 unit), this can be applied to a variety of maths. I will soon post up another one for 3 unit if I have some free time. So yeah, this is it.


NOTE: This the revised version of "What you wish to know before exam" that I posted long time ago. Back then, I was quite an amateur student but I have improved quite significantly over a period of one year since then until now. This is also a response to numerous private messages that I have received over the past few months in regards to HSC Mathematics.
So here we go:

HSC is drawing near! I am pretty sure there will be people out there who are not sure about how to prepare for the HSC Mathematics exam and Mathematics Extension 1 or how to maximise their marks in exam. READ THIS!

This is simply written to provide useful advices and tips. Knowing and not knowing about something makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE. Read it, learn it and know it. And you will succeed!!!

PRIOR TO EXAMS (TIMETABLE ISSUE)

1. Year before HSC:
1. Do your homework! Homework is important particularly for maths. I personally don't do any homework apart from maths homework. That suggests the importance of it.
2. Do extra homework. Regard homework as 'minimum work'. There is just NO END in maths. <o>:p></o>:p>
3. Get good textbooks/study guides such as EXCEL, FITZPATRICK, CAMBRIDGE AND COUCHMAN. <o>:p></o>:p>
4. PUT 30 minutes - 1 hour a day (recommended)
5. Why not start accelerating on your own or with your tutor? Accelerating in maths will be very useful.

3. 6 months before HSC: <o>:p</o>
1. Do your homework as always. But build on that homework. Advance further than everyone else! (i.e. do more work)
2. Your own acceleration <o>:p></o>:p>
2. Put about 1 hour a day. 1-1.5 hour is recommended. <o>:p></o>:p>
3. Start some easy past papers starting from as old as you can get your hands on. Try to do them under exam conditions.
4. Start with the old papers. Save the recent papers for later.
5. You might want to set the pace of your exam. (i.e. timing your own exam)

4. 3 months before HSC: <o>:p</o>
1. You should know alll the formulas and relevant information by now. Good thing about HSC Mathematics and Mathematics Extension 1 is that rote learning can actually get you far. You can rely on memory to do a lot of work for you. I have to admit that I memorised how to derive the formulas. But if you are wishing to go beyond 3 Unit maths, you should know in your head how to derive each formula. But for 2 unit and 3 unit, it's not necessary at all.
2. You really have to put 1 hour minimum. You may wish to increase the workload to 1 hour and 30 minutes perhaps but it's not really necessary. That will basically cover some exercises and some challenging questions. <o>:p></o>:p>
3. Ditch the old papers now and do more recent past papers and learn from it. There is nothing better than doing the REAL ONES. And keep setting your space. You may want to keep the

5. 1 month before HSC: <o>:p</o>
1. Know your formulas really well. But apart from that, you also have to know where you use your formulas and WHEN you use them. For example, don't be confused with velocity, acceleration and displacement.
2. Keep doing your past papers. Can't stress this enough. Learn from it and set your own goals for each exam. ALSO try to do it under the time given to you in real HSC. Now you set the pace, you should try to do it under 3 hours minimum. If you can, set it to under 2 hours and 30 minutes.
3. You may want to record some questions that you have difficulty understanding so you may be able to come back.

6. KNOW WHEN YOU HAVE EXAM (INCLUDES 1 WEEK BEFORE HSC)
Note: by this time, you should have finished all revelent past papers. Now it's time to go through questions that you have got wrong!!! (how fun). Alternatively, you may want to focus on the weak topics by doing questions related to that specific topic from your past papers.
The date hasn't come out yet. But it is always good to know when you have exam. Following link is very brief one and does not tell us when the Mathematics exam is.

But you have to be aware that HSC starts on 20 October. And if we assume that Mathematics is on 20 October (which is very very unlikely) you can set your timetable like this:

16 October: Focusing on your weak topic(s) (learning over again &doing some pratice questions )
17 October: Focusing on your weak topic(s) (doing a lot of past paper questions related to that topic(s) )
18 October: Go through your past papers and choose the ones that you did poorly. Attempt them again under exam condition. You should be able to do them under at least 2 hours and 30 minutes.
19 October: Be prepared (get all the stuff needed and just relax and make sure you know all the relevant formula and every other bits and pieces).
You shouldn't really study much on the day before because you don't really want to be stressed out. The most important thing in HSC, disregarding the knowledge part, is your preparedness.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: It is important that you take past HSC Mathematics exams in EXAM CONDITION for 3 hours.

AND if you get some questions wrong/make mistake, you can always improve. Do at least 20 Past papers before exam starting from 1988 ones. Also note that on 11 October or prior to that, you can study for subject that comes after Mathematics (DO PAST PAPERS). Following link only has few exam papers. You better buy past papers that comes with SOLUTIONS!
http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au.../index4.html#m.

If you can, go back to much older ones but that's not necessary. That's only when you have heaps of free time or if you are an accelerant who has a lot of free time.
<o>:p>You can also get heaps of past papers on the RESOURCE SECTION of this website. I got all and did them all really. :p You should too!</o>:p

DURING EXAM
6. Attempt all questions!
I cannot stress this enough. ATTEMPT ALL QUESTIONS! If you get stuck with one question, leave it for the time being and move on to another question. You may have better luck in other questions.

7. Be aware of the marks allocated to each question!
Marks allocated to each question reflects how difficult it is and how much you have to write. You don't have to spend 30 lines explaining 2 marks-value question. My teacher once said that we should spend 1.5 minutes for each mark. But that's pretty much rubbish because questions from 1-5 are really easy that you should spend much little time on them.

8. Use board developed calculators
Get board-approvaed calculators. Following link shows the name of board-approvaed calculators. Make sure you read it if you don't have one.
http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au...ators_hsc.html

9. You are encouraged to write formulas down

Write your formulas down when you are doing complicated ones that involve many numbers. It will be of large benefits.

10. Make sure your writings are readable and neat
Write neatly and make sure your writings are READABLE. Be clear in your answer (e.g. 0.7 rather than .7) This was my issue for a long time. I have lost many marks in my school tests because of this. I am glad that it didn't happen during my hsc, haha.

11. Show all necessary workings
Some people don't do this. EVEN THE EXAM SAYS THAT YOU NEED TO SHOW ALL WORKINGS. Therefore, do all your workings especially for PLANE GEOMETRY AND CIRCLE GEOMETRY. Even if you write stuff on diagrams write them down in your working out. You are advised to do that. You are also encouraged write stuff such as "thefore", "so", "i.e." and etc to allow markers to follow you!

12. Be specific when you give theorems for geometric questions .
Don't just say "the angles in an isoceles triangle add to 180 degrees"
You have to be specific. For example, "x =70 degrees, the base angles of an isoceles triangle are equal".

13. If a theorem has a "recognised name". It is sufficient to quote the name
i.e. "Ratio of Intercepts theorem" or "Pythagoras's theorem"

14. Give enough speace for each question.
HAVE lots of space. It is always good to have lots of space to prevent UGLINESS AT THE END. It's also useful when you cannot do the question and have to come back later.

15. In Q1, when you get substitution question, you must show the step of substitution immediately before use of calculator

16. IN Q1, when you get a calculator-based question, you have to write everything on your calculator before rounding off.

17. Usually, it's betteer to draw diagrams & sketches even if they were given in the question, Spend at least half a page drawing on it. There have been markers' comments that they don't even mark a drawing if they are not at least the 1/3 of the page (i.e. when marks are actually allocated for drawing a diagram)

You are highly encouraged to draw your diagram. They are also useful aids in solving problems. When drawing it, PLEASE USE RULER AND NECESSARY ITEMS.

18. Write your answer in an appropriate place so markers can see it. Don't expect them to find it. (it's really bad if you write two answers where only one answer is right...)

Write them in an appropriate place and make sure markers can find it.

19. Read over your exam and don't waste your time
You just spend 10 years at school to get to here. Don't waste one moment of it. Read over your exam and fix all the writings if yourself can't read it. Be clear, specific, neat and right.


20. KNOW HSC TERMS:
'state' or 'write down' or 'give example of': no explanation required - just write your answer
'find' or 'determine': provide reasoning, explnation
'verify': should test the truth oof a statement, usually by substitution
'hence': student should use the preceding result or information to answer the question
'prove' or 'show': establish in detail the truth of a statement. Full reasoning is needed and NEVER try to prove something by assuming at the start
'solve': work out the anwer or solution to a problem. Write them in appropriate forms (e.g. in decimal, pi or fraction form)

Recommended books:
0. While not being an official "book" this is the ultimate guide to your success. The central message of this thread is asking for you to do past papers.

1. Fitzpatrick - absolute essential for 2 unit

2. Cambridge - another great book that supplements fitz's weak topic area such as physical application of caluclus.

3. 50 Tips Excel by Jeff Geha - another great book. It gave me a lot of tips actually.

This is the end...

If you need some extra guidance, just give me a private message.

btw, please excuse my spelling errors that seem to be present everywhere...I will fix all of them soon. :p

So why do you recommend old past papers first and recent ones last?
 

lyounamu

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So why do you recommend old past papers first and recent ones last?
Recent papers are generally better than old papers. You won't be able to find enough recent papers to keep you busy throughout the year. So you can do old papers for a while until you change to recent papers.

Old papers give you a great practice anyway so do old papers for a practice and do recent papers for a serious exam studying. :)
 

hungwell1337

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rofl i only attempted the 1 hr challenge, looking back, i should have also done the no calculator challenge
 

Trebla

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Recent papers are generally better than old papers. You won't be able to find enough recent papers to keep you busy throughout the year. So you can do old papers for a while until you change to recent papers.

Old papers give you a great practice anyway so do old papers for a practice and do recent papers for a serious exam studying. :)
I prefer to do older trial papers most of the way and put recent papers as last on the list for when you have the time for it. The reasons for this are:
- More than likely the types of questions in recent papers (particularly the harder ones) won't be asked again when it comes to the current year's paper. Teachers who set the HSC will have incentive to make it as different from recent years' trials/HSC as possible to ensure people don't just regurgitate the answers
- In your assessment tasks, teachers will more than likely source their questions from old trial or HSC papers
- Older papers usually contain a higher ratio of more difficult questions which prepare you for anything nasty in the current year's HSC or trial
 

lyounamu

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I prefer to do older trial papers most of the way and put recent papers as last on the list for when you have the time for it. The reasons for this are:
- More than likely the types of questions in recent papers (particularly the harder ones) won't be asked again when it comes to the current year's paper. Teachers who set the HSC will have incentive to make it as different from recent years' trials/HSC as possible to ensure people don't just regurgitate the answers
- In your assessment tasks, teachers will more than likely source their questions from old trial or HSC papers
- Older papers usually contain a higher ratio of more difficult questions which prepare you for anything nasty in the current year's HSC or trial
Oh, that's so true.
 

Tully B.

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Hey Namu, did you get any not-so-good marks at the beginning of your accelerated HSC courses? I didn't do so well in my first MX assessment, but it was only worth 15%. I'm still kind of bummed out about it, as I was hoping to achieve a high MX rank (perhaps top 3...)
 

lyounamu

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Hey Namu, did you get any not-so-good marks at the beginning of your accelerated HSC courses? I didn't do so well in my first MX assessment, but it was only worth 15%. I'm still kind of bummed out about it, as I was hoping to achieve a high MX rank (perhaps top 3...)
Hm...I came like 12th in my first 2 unit hsc maths internal task.

However, for that exam I got 32/33 and lost a mark due to very silly mistake (11 got 33/33, LOL). So I could easily recover from that because the difference in mark was so small.

But don't worry. People usually perform badly when it comes to trial. I was like 3 marks behind my friend (3%, i.e.) but in trial, I beat him by 7 marks so I could come first in the year.
 

Aquawhite

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A really good guide Namu. What better advice than to take it from the master of maths himself :D

I will take on board as much as I can.
 

legendfunk

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Every second answer in Fitzpartick is a typo. Almost.

So don't stress out if you can't get something right from it.

Cambridge is great. Get the 3U book. It's better. They're split up into "basic", "Development" and "Extension" for a reason, so if you're not doing 3U or 4U you don't have to stress out about the whole exercise.

The FONT/TYPEFACE of Cambridge reminds me of the Australian Mathematics Competition and the Maths Challenge, i.e. incredibly hard. So don't be worried if you look at the font and CRINGE IN FEAR. I did.

Surprisingly, Wikipedia has the formulae and it's very friendly.

For example.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson's_rule

All nice and friendly :D
 

lyounamu

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Every second answer in Fitzpartick is a typo. Almost.
Incorrect. You are exaggerating too much. I don't know what edition of the book you are referring to but at least the most recent ones hardly have typo.

Cambridge is great. Get the 3U book. It's better. They're split up into "basic", "Development" and "Extension" for a reason, so if you're not doing 3U or 4U you don't have to stress out about the whole exercise.
Cambridge book is a great book. I agree with that. However, many questions are very unrealistic. On top of that, if you do only 2 Unit Mathematics, you shouldn't buy 3 Unit Cambridge.

Surprisingly, Wikipedia has the formulae and it's very friendly.

For example.
Simpson's rule - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

All nice and friendly :D
Nice suggestion. I will take this on board.
 

Dragonmaster262

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Incorrect. You are exaggerating too much. I don't know what edition of the book you are referring to but at least the most recent ones hardly have typo.



Cambridge book is a great book. I agree with that. However, many questions are very unrealistic. On top of that, if you do only 2 Unit Mathematics, you shouldn't buy 3 Unit Cambridge.



Nice suggestion. I will take this on board.
What do you mean by that?
 

duckcowhybrid

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They're so disgustingly difficult even James Ruse don't ask questions that hard in the 4U trial.
 

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