How to Get an A* in IGSCE Maths

Mathematics is a subject that is either your strength or your weakness, there is rarely an in-between. Maths has its lovers as well as haters but it is undeniably a crucial subject for life and also for IGSCE.

If you belong to the latter category of people who spend their life dreading Maths but are also preparing for IGSCE Mathematics finals, we are here to help you.

To score an A* in your IGSCE Maths finals, the most important thing to do is to stop running away from it and to start befriending it.

Once you are mentally prepared to take on Mathematics with a ‘come what may’ attitude your battle to get an A* in IGSCE Mathematics is half won.

For the other half of the battle, we bring you suggestions, tips and pointers from IGSCE tutors, experts and the syllabus itself.

We guarantee you an A* if you completely swear by the following:

1.   Master the Key Concepts and Basic Formulas:

First and foremost, you should know all the formulas, key concepts and values in the syllabus by heart. We aren’t talking about only memorizing them but also understanding the reasoning behind them.

You could also note down all the formulas and concepts in the syllabus on a paper and paste it in your study area, room and on the wardrobe. This will help you in imprinting them on your mind and in learning them by heart.

2.   Work on Reasoning and Logic:

The best thing about this subject is that you have to rely less on cramming and more on your knowledge and intelligence. The syllabus and the assessment criteria that have been designed for IGSCE Mathematics does not test your memory. They test your ability to apply formulas of Mathematics on varied situations.

Once you understand and learn the formulas, practice to apply them in any other situation. Most questions are spun around the formula that you already know but is just framed in a different situation. Therefore, instead of panicking when confronted with a difficult question just calm down and analyze it reasonably. After enough practice, you will be able to recognize patterns and chalk out multi-step solutions.

3.   Teach for Practice:

One of the most effective ways to memorize and practice your mathematical formulas and concepts is to teach them to someone. Once you understand a concept, explain it from the start to a friend, family member, classmate or even an imaginary friend.

Teaching it to someone else will not only entrench them in your mind but also make you aware of deeper meaning and logic behind the mathematical formulas or concepts

4.   Pay Attention to Command Words:

It is very essential to pay attention to the command words given in the questions before you begin to solve them. Command words are directions that tell you what to do with the problem and specify how to find the solution.

As explained by CAIE in their directions, some examples are as follows:

Command word What it means  
Calculate Work out from given facts figures or information, generally using a calculator
Construct Make an accurate drawing
Describe State the points of a topic/give characteristics and main features
Determine Establish with certainty  

Some other commonly used command words are: explain, give, plot, show, sketch, work out, and write etc.

It is important to understand what has been asked of you and to deliver or answer that in particular, otherwise you will be writing wrong answers without intending to.

5.   Understand the Marking Scheme:

There are two ways based on which examiners mark your answers in the IGSCE exam for Mathematics:

  • Marks for the final answer
  • Marks for the method

There are marks allotted to the final answer, even alternate answers as well as to the steps and the procedure to arrive at the answer especially in questions which contain ‘show’ as the command word.

Therefore, you must read the question carefully and list out the procedure neatly even more so if you have been directed to do that in the question. Make sure you organize and present information properly in tables or diagrams if required. Or else you won’t get full marks despite getting the final answer right.

6.   Timing is Crucial:

Plan the time you will devote to each section of the question paper before you begin solving it. You must be very careful in not wasting time when you are stuck on a question. In such a situation let that question be and come back to it once you are done with the rest of the paper.

Also, take note of the marks allotted to a question along with the command words. Do not waste time on elaborating all the steps of the equation or drawing diagrams if the question is of fewer marks or among short questions and does not specifically ask you to show all the steps. Be very judicious with your time or else it can cost you precious marks.

7.   Previous Papers and End of Chapter Exercises:

For practice, you must take up IGCSE Maths past papers and marked question papers and the exercises given after the chapters. Other than honing your mathematical abilities, these papers and exercises will help you understand the pattern of the paper, the kind of questions to expect. Thereafter, you can prepare yourself and design a strategy to attempt the IGSCE Maths exam accordingly.

8.   Watch Out For and Avoid These Common Mistakes:

There are some common mistakes that make you lose marks despite knowing the answer. For instance, do not round of the intermediate values as that can lead to wrong answers. Only calculate the final answer. Make sure you use and interpret the correct mathematical notation. Also, be sure to answer the questions in the form mentioned.

Once you arrive at your final answer check the question again to see if the answer is realistic. Do not forget to draw your diagrams and graphs with a pencil so that you can rub off the errors, if any. Draw the straight lines with a scale and all the curves freehand.

If you are aiming for an A* in IGSCE Mathematics then you must put into practice the above-mentioned suggestions and tips.

Also, remember that mathematics isn’t just another subject in your IGSCE exams, it is a life skill that is going to stay with you for life.

Stop running away from Maths, turn around and run towards it with conviction, persistence, and these tips for succeeding in life as well as your IGSCE Maths.

All the best, we are sure you can be a master at mathematics.

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