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All About A-Level Exam: Mathematics (Part 1)

4 Min Read
November 07, 2022

[caption id="attachment_2573" align="aligncenter" width="475"]A-Level Exam - ALL-in Eduspace A-Level, A-Level Exam, Test A-Level[/caption]   To all high school students taking up the Cambridge curriculum –  it may be a daunting stage in your life where you have to tackle examinations. Be it IGCSE to enter a preparatory college or ASA Levels, all exam candidates need preparation. In this blog series, we will be discussing A Level examination in the subject areas of Mathematics, Physics and Accounting. Having once felt the pressure of taking the A Level exam yet able to ace it with flying colors, we are going to share tips for each A Level subject area individually.


A-Level Exam Subject: Mathematics

Being a subject almost everyone will take, it is not easy to predict the type of questions that will come out on the A Level exam. Questions are crafted carefully to be neither too easy nor too difficult for high entry candidates. The bright side is, you don't have to worry. There are some tricks to help get you prepared for the questions.

  1. Check out the most up-to-date syllabus and Learner Guide for your A-Level exam series. You can get them  from CIE's official website. Make sure to cover all the topics as you study and revise before the exam. Prepare for all possibilities, you never know what can come out.


  1. Practice past papers. This is a very effective method to ace the A-Level exam. Every time doing it, set yourself as if in an examination with a timer on. Refrain from opening up a textbook or notes when answering the questions to test yourself for the real exam. As cliché as it may sound, do learn from the mistakes during practice so you don't repeat the same mistake in the real exam.


  1. Try to sort the questions into the different topics mentioned in the syllabus. Put in the score percentage you got correct for each topic. Draw up a table and do it for all the past papers. From there, analyze which topics you got mostly correct and those that still need improvement. For the next practice, focus on the topics you're still relatively weaker on. In addition to that, look at topics mentioned on the syllabus that you've never encountered with. Chances are, the topics have never been tested on previous exams. Always be proactive and look up for sample questions online or in textbooks.


  1. For those of you aiming for high score, knowledge of the subject alone may not always be enough. Losing even just small points may make you fall into a lower band for borderline cases, especially when the grade threshold is high for the particular series you are taking. So what should one do? Be familiar with the correct format of answering the different papers you will be taking.


Important notes

- For Pure Mathematics (Paper 1 and 3), make sure to write all workings, not just the final answer. Especially for questions with bigger points (usually the last few questions), you may lose points for every missing work line. Make sure to write your workings concisely and neatly. Not to forget, even when you cannot find the final answer or in case it turns out to be wrong, points may still be gained for the workings you've written. - For those of you taking Mechanics (Paper 4 and 5), make sure you read the question word after word when interpreting it into diagrams. Pay attention to negative signs for vectors. - As for Statistics (Paper 6 and 7), always cross-check your answer with the question. This is important for questions with long arithmetical workings. An example is to calculate the standard deviation of more than 10 data. Here, there's a possibility to finish work at its variance – when you actually still need to square root it to get the standard deviation. A careless mistake like this may cost you marks when there is a point for the process of square-rooting and another mark for accuracy (arriving at the exact final answer as that shown on the marking scheme).  

Last but not least about A-Level Exam...

We would like to emphasize the importance of being familiar to the aspects of the A-Level examination, be it the content of the subject itself, question types, method of answering the questions and what the examiner's looking after in the answers. You will be given a formula booklet MF9 along with you question paper and answer booklets. When you have time, get familiar to the formulas included in the booklet. For example, when you need to use the multiplication of two trigonometric functions but forgot the basic addition formula during the exam, simply derive it from the addition formula given in the booklet. Saves precious time to recall the formula by writing it on the rough working paper. And for those of you taking Statistics, do get used to the normal distribution table attached to the MF9 booklet. Print the booklet if needed and use it every single time you practice past papers.   To be continued to Part 2.