Myth buster: You do not need elementary math (E math) formulae in additional math (A- math) exam.
Have you needed some E math formulae during A-math exams and realized you cannot find it on the A-math formulae list? Are you aware you need to know your E math formulae in an A-math exam? This requirement is implied in the A-math syllabus. Some students may be puzzled why using E math formulae in A-math exams is allowed but the other way of using A-math formulae in E math exam is not allowed. The more savvy students will apply this anomaly to their fullest advantage.
In this post, we will walk you through the reasons behind this tacit rule and why you should memorize the E math formulae list before your A-math exam.
We have divided this post into three sections to help you easily find what you’re looking for:
Is this requirement stated in the A math syllabus
In the GCE ‘O’ level exams, students taking both the additional math (a-math) and elementary math (e math) subjects will sometimes wonder if they can use the formulae in a math and e math interchangeably. Some learnt that they cannot use A-math formulae in E math exams after they have been penalized for doing so. A few may then think that likewise using E math formulae is not allowed in A-math exams. Others assume that all the formulae you need in the A-math exams will be provided in the formulae list. Many students learnt it the hard way when they needed an E math formula in A-math exams and realized it is not found on the A-math formulae list. They then realized they needed to know the E math formulae before their A-math exams.
The SEAB A-math exam syllabus does not state explicitly that students need to memorize E math formulae before their A-math exams. This requirement is stated implicitly in the syllabus subject content heading below:
“Knowledge of the content of O-Level Mathematics syllabus is assumed in the syllabus below and will not be tested directly, but it may be required indirectly in response to questions on other topics.”
This implies that students need to know their E math formulae when they are sitting for their A-math exams.
Why do you need to know your E math formulae in A-math exams
Some teachers will remind students to learn E math formulae for A-math exams as the requirement is stated implicitly in the SEAB A-math exam syllabus.
It is implied in the Syllabus
E math and A-math share common topics in algebra, geometry and trigonometry. A-math students learn additional concepts and higher order thinking skills in these common topics and more. They also develop better thinking and problem solving skills. This gives them an edge in E math exams. It would also means that the content and skills in E math form the foundation on which the A-math knowledge and skills are based on.
It is required indirectly in question
Using E math formulae in A-math exams is sometimes necessary to solve a question or part of a question. You will arrive at the same answer but using fewer steps. You will also not incur any loss of marks for using E math formulae in A-math exams.
In A-math exams, students are expected to know their E math formulae in the backdrop of a more challenging problem set. There is often more than one way of solving a question in A-math exam. This is provided for in the marking scheme. Students who are unable to arrive at the solution via one route will still be able to secure the marks if they can find another way to solve the question, sometimes by using E math formulae. Without knowing the E math formulae, they may not be able to continue further in some questions. Therefore having these E math formulae at your fingertips will enhance your success in A-math exams.
It is not provided in Exams
Finally, students who qualify for A-math exams are expected to have a strong foundation in the E math. Hence the E math formulae list is not provided during A-math exams. Only the A-math formulae list is provided. For your easy reference, please find the E math and A-math formulae lists here. As students, it is therefore essential for you to know the E math formulae by heart before your A-math exams.
How can you use E math formulae in A-math exams to your advantage
What can you do if you are an A-math student preparing for your A-math exams? The first thing to do is to revise the topics within the A-math syllabus. Having done that, you will want to ensure you have memorized the full list of E-math formulae. You will need to know which E math formulae will help in which A-math questions or topics during A-math exams. Using E math formulae in A-math exams can speed up your problem solving processes. It can provide an alternative route to the solution in case you are stuck with the question. You can also use E math formulae in A-math exams to ascertain your answers are correct. This is a good way to know you have secured the marks allocated for that question. Examples of how you can do all these will be taught in our tuition lessons.
At tuitioncafe, you will learn how to effectively apply E math formulae in their A-math exams. Once you are familiar with the formulae lists and get the hang of best practices for the E math and A-math exams, you will know how to exploit the formulae interchangeably to your advantage. You will be able take your math problem solving skills further to get ahead of your competition in the GCE ‘O’ level exams.
Engage Math Tutors who are Experienced School Teachers
For parents with children preparing for national exams this year, they will need to be very selective when choosing math tutors. Now is the time to go for tutors who are preferably experienced school teachers who have kept themselves abreast with the latest syllabus requirements. These tutors will be able to identify learning gaps promptly, cover all learning objectives and boost exam readiness in your child.
If you are looking for an online tutor for physics, chemistry and math, we are here to help. We are a team of ex-teachers from HCI/RI who are experienced online tutors. We impart knowledge and skills based on the latest syllabus requirements to guide students to prepare for their GCE O and A level, IGCSE or IBDP exams. Our substantive student-teacher interaction coupled with reliable resources is back by a strong track record of student satisfaction, learning outcomes and exam results.
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We hope you understand why you need to know your E math formulae before your A-math exam. You will not fret when you realize you need them for certain questions. You will be on your way to securing better marks for A-math exams.
Read our other article on using A math formulae in an E math exams.