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A Comprehensive Guide To Embracing Mathematics In Singapore

Part 1: The Importance Of Maths

1.1 Maths In Everyday Life

Mathematics is one of the earliest subjects that children are exposed to, starting from as simple as learning 1+1=2 and counting to 10 by the age of 2. From there, they will be progressively exposed to more advanced maths concepts, such as fractions, algebra, and calculus, amongst others. But beyond just learning maths for its own sake as an academic subject in Singapore just to score good grades, Maths has far more application in daily life

From calculating the travel time needed to reach one’s destination, to comparing the best prices between items when buying in bulk or measuring the right proportions and ratios when cooking, maths is often understated in its importance. Other examples include applying geometry and trigonometry in ball sports for optimal performance, as well as learning how to manage one’s finances – the optimal amount of salary to save or spend, calculating compound interest rates for the best returns on bank accounts and credit cards, and managing investment returns for future retirement. That’s why it’s important to start your child early with O Level math tuition to build up their math foundations, reinforcing what they learn in school and equipping them with the skills for both academic excellence and a brighter future.

Singapore Dollar notes

One of the most important skills that maths instills in students is problem solving and critical thinking. With the shift towards a global and digital economy which requires novel solutions to ever-changing problems, students will find themselves thrust into a competitive and demanding working world which requires every advantage they can get to thrive. Quality math tuition centres in Singapore, such as Kiasu Maths, encourage critical thinking and applied problem solving to help students have a greater appreciation of mathematics and its uses, while also growing in confidence and familiarity for better grades.

Beyond hard skills, maths also plays a role in art such as music. Music and maths are complementary to each other, with research showing that music activates the same areas of the brain that are involved in solving reasoning problems in maths. With music utilising elements such as time signatures and formulaic progressions, children who are passionate in music would likely benefit from strengthening their mathematics skills with help from math tutors in Singapore. It also provides students an avenue for self-expression and mastery beyond academics, which is key to their holistic development and overall wellbeing.

Child playing the piano

1.2 Maths & Career Opportunities

In addition to applying math in everyday life, it also has major ramifications for your child’s eventual career plans and opportunities. Maths is the bedrock that supports the majority of applied fields, such as engineering, medicine, economics, computer science, and microbiology, amongst others. Coupled with other subjects such as Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, Singapore’s academic content paves the way for careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). A pass in H2 is a prerequisite for numerous majors in university, making it a key criteria for students deciding to study H2 Maths in JC, and is where H2 Math tuition comes into play.

Engineer overseeing machinery in a factory

There are numerous benefits to pursuing careers in STEM. Firstly, STEM majors are highly sought after not just in Singapore but across the globe, due to their technical and professional nature. This means that graduates will not only be able to enjoy higher than average salaries, but also better job security and career advancement. Secondly, STEM careers build highly transferable skills, such as the aforementioned critical thinking as well as creativity, resilience, as well as effective communication with one’s peers. Thirdly, STEM fields focus on tackling relevant problems that affect the world, such as climate change, sustainable energy solutions, as well as pharmaceutical drugs and the latest vaccines; making careers in them fulfilling and actively contributing to making society a better place. 

Beyond STEM, maths has benefits in economics, business, and emerging fields such as data analytics and machine learning. As part of the JC curriculum, students will learn about Statistics, which is key to applying the right analyses to a sea of data being collected, allowing them to make important predictions and decisions for their companies, be it guiding business directions and operations or creating optimal models that accurately represent the economy. To best prepare your child, it is crucial to get help from math tutors in Singapore, who will patiently guide them through their academic content with constant practice and tireless support.

The A Levels in Singapore are notoriously competitive and stressful, due to the sheer amount of content to be covered in just under 2 years, as well as the pressure students face in having to excel in their academics to enroll into either their desired university or major. The current COVID climate has further exacerbated the problem, with students struggling to learn effectively with the transition to home-based learning, as well as being limited in leisure, support, and worries about the future.

H2 Maths tuition plays an important role in helping your child to effectively cope and prepare for their A Level exams through effective revision and focusing on their weaker areas. With online classes that promote students’ safety and time savings from needing to travel, as well as having experienced tutors available for flexible consults beyond class hours, maths tuition helps to build up their confidence and proficiency in Maths to ace their A Level exams.

Student having online math tuition on a computer

Part 2: A Breakdown Of O & A Level Maths

In this section, we will cover more about the various Math syllabi and courses available for students in both secondary school and JC, their differences, as well as their general learning outcomes.

2.1 E & A Math

Upon completing Secondary 2 and moving on to Secondary 3, Singaporean students are required to decide whether they want to take A Math alongside E Math, which is compulsory for all secondary school students. E Math stands for Elementary Maths, and focuses on reinforcing fundamental disciplines taught in both Secondary 1 and 2. Topics include Functions and Graphs, Equations and Inequalities, Algebraic Expressions and Formulae, as well as Trigonometry and Coordinate Geometry, amongst others. A Math stands for Additional Maths, which teaches more advanced mathematical concepts such as Quadratic Functions, Polynomials and Partial Fractions, Trigonometric Functions, Identities, and Equations, as well as Differentiation and Integration, amongst others.

Students learning in a math tuition centre in singapore

A frequent concern that secondary students struggling with math have is whether they should take A Math or stick to E Math. On one hand, students who are severely struggling with Math would naturally gravitate towards just learning E Math, particularly if they are confident that they will not pursue careers that require it as a prerequisite and free up additional time for them to focus on their other subjects. On the other hand, a pass in A Math is a prerequisite to taking H2 Maths in JC, due to the overlap in content as well as the huge jump in difficulty from H1 to H2 Maths. 

One advantage of the content covered in the A Math syllabus is that it is systematic and concept-driven. This means that with time to properly grasp and internalise them, along with regular practice, students are very able to score well in their A Math and enroll into their desired JC subject combination. A Math tuitions in Singapore have much smaller class sizes compared to regular secondary school classes, allowing students to receive more attention and to have their individual concerns addressed. Tutors will also guide students on what exams require, helping them to grow in familiarity with math problems posed during exams and score maximum marks.

2.2 H1 & H2 Maths

Upon passing their O Levels and graduating from secondary school, students will be required to decide on their subject combination in JC. This generally comprises a mix of both H1 and H2 subjects, based on various preferences. Similarly to E and A Math, students are given a choice to choose between either H1 or H2 Maths, each with their own content scope and benefits. JC students are required to take at least 3 H2 content-based subjects and one contrasting subject, alongside other requirements such as the General Paper and Project Work.

Both H1 and H2 Maths comprise 2 sections: Pure Maths and Statistics. H1 Maths has a greatly reduced portion of Pure Maths compared to H Maths, focusing instead on Statistics. The H1 Maths syllabus is geared towards students who aim to enter careers in the Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and Businesses. These fields rely heavily on statistics to generate meaningful findings from research data and make accurate decisions that can influence a company’s direction and business plans. H1 Maths is assessed via a single paper which includes real-world problems in the fields of business and social science.

Image of statistics charts

In contrast, the H2 Maths syllabus focuses more on Pure Maths, with more complex topics such as Vectors, Sequences & Series, Complex Numbers, and in-depth calculus sub-topics such as integrals and differential equations. This is to equip students with the analytical skills for majors in STEM fields, such as engineering, maths, and applied sciences. The H2 paper is also more elaborate, with 2 separate papers testing across all topics and including real-world math problems in the context of science and engineering.

While H2 Maths is definitely a major step-up in difficulty from H1 Maths, its nature as a prerequisite for numerous majors in university makes students often forced to take it. The nature of JC education also means that students who find themselves not keeping abreast of their learning can rapidly find themselves lagging behind and scoring, and in severe cases even retain in J1 after failing their end-of-year exams. 

Starting H2 Maths tuition as early as possible is invaluable in reinforcing your child’s maths foundations, focusing on areas they are weaker in and avoiding a snowballing of issues that they will be unable to resolve just mere weeks before key exams. It also provides timely and personalised guidance, particularly with the difficulty of arranging for consults with tutors in school, as well as study techniques to help your child get the most method marks for questions within exam time constraints.

Part 3: Tips To Acing Maths

Scoring well in mathematics is often seen as difficult by many students. Fortunately, math tuition centres in Singapore are here to help your child ace their mathematics and build up both their skills and prepare them for further education. Read on to learn more study tips for students in primary and secondary school, as well as junior college.

3.1 Primary School Maths

As one of the earliest subjects introduced to students at Primary 1 onwards, Maths will form a key part of your child’s education. With the PSLE being the first national exam that your child faces, it is only natural for them to feel daunted, and you should start building up your child’s proficiency in Maths as early as possible. Here are some tips to help your child score well in Maths, with help from math tutors in Singapore.

First, identify how your child studies best. Primary school maths focuses on understanding numbers, patterns, and applying problem solving skills, and each child has their own method of learning effectively. This can range from repetition and rote memory for some, to a more conceptual and hands-on approach for others. A major advantage of identifying how your child learns effectively is that it will guide their study techniques across their academic life as they step into secondary school and beyond, which makes it easier for them to grasp new and more complicated content with greater ease.

Math tutors in Singapore are here to help your child identify their weak areas and common mistakes, such as being careless when doing calculations or having an incomplete understanding of numerical concepts. Parents should also provide constant encouragement and support to their children as they work through their math problems, which builds up their resilience and trust.

Secondly, parents should be proactive in their child’s learning. This includes being aware of the topics that students will learn across primary school, and to have weekly revisions with them to help them clarify any problems they may be facing. In addition, parents should tap into both practical and creative examples of using maths in daily life, be it measuring ingredients for cooking, the proper amount of money to pay for groceries, or using visuals to help your child understand concepts such as fractions.

parent revising together with their primary school child

Thirdly, help your child to establish a balance of study and leisure. One example is ensuring your child completes their homework or revision for a certain period before they are allowed to use their smartphone or computer, or to do other leisure activities such as playing or meeting their friends. This helps to build up their discipline, allowing them to fully focus on their homework from school or math tuitions in Singapore, while also giving them incentives to look forward to.

3.2 Secondary School Maths

Secondary school math offers a notable increase in difficulty for students, particularly in Upper Secondary for students who choose to study both E and A Math. Here are some tips to help students manage their studies, with help from O Level math tuition. First, it is important for you to empower your child to take charge of their own learning. This is an essential skill which they will need as they step into further education, as well as develop their own motivation to excel in not just academics but other pursuits they may have.

Ease your child into it through using planners and timetables to help them manage their daily time allocated to both studying as well as leisure activities or school commitments. As they grow older, they should have greater freedom to choose how they want to allocate their time, allowing them to adapt their schedule as necessary to reduce unnecessary stress while enjoying more quality leisure time, such as studying harder on weekdays so they can spend time with friends or doing CCAs on the weekends.

student studying math at home

Secondly, students should know the difference between learning hard and learning smart. While hard work is definitely an unavoidable part of scoring well in exams, adopting a smart learning approach helps students save on time, prioritise weaker areas and improve their scores. Some techniques include active and concise note-taking to facilitate active recall when working on math problems, breaking complex topics into smaller and more manageable chunks to facilitate ease of understanding, consistent study rather than cramming, as well as clarifying doubts early on with committed math tutors in Singapore.

Thirdly, focus on using intrinsic motivation to help your child. As compared to extrinsic motivation which include token rewards, praise, or avoiding punishment, intrinsic motivation includes self-mastery in complex topics as well as the self-esteem boost from excelling in a subject. Experienced O Level math tuition teachers are well versed in these principles, motivating students through showing their gradual achievement over time as well as challenging brighter students intellectually through complex maths problems which can be outside the regular syllabus, catering to students of differing levels of math proficiency.

3.3 Junior College Maths

In contrast to secondary school math, both H1 and H2 Maths in JC are more rigorous and in-depth. Students should incorporate these tips to study effectively and score well, supplemented by JC maths tuition in Singapore. First, students must learn how to pace themselves. With students’ time taken up by other subjects as well as commitments such as CCAs and leadership roles, it is all too easy for burnout to occur, which can significantly set back students’ academic journey and their overall health and wellbeing. 

Students should properly pace themselves and spread their workload evenly, completing work and revision earlier if possible so as to have sufficient leisure time to unwind and enjoy themselves, particularly during this challenging period with reduced social interaction. When in doubt, students can approach both school tutors and their math tutors in Singapore for their advice and input.

student consulting a math tutor

Second, it is important to revisit topics that were taught earlier. With the constant influx of new topics being taught throughout JC, students may find themselves neglecting topics that they learnt earlier in their J1 years, which can lead to an unnecessary loss of marks in their exams. JC math tuitions in Singapore such as Kiasu Maths regularly revise previous content with students, helping them to rebuild their foundations and integrate it alongside the latest topics that they have learnt while being available for ad-hoc consults.

Thirdly, students should be proactive in their learning. With the lecture-tutorial nature of education in JCs as well as the shift towards home-based learning, it can be tempting for students to just listen to lectures and assume that they have internalised the concepts rather than taking notes and practicing papers and coursework regularly. As Maths is a subject that requires constant application of concepts, a passive approach often results in students scoring poorly. JC math tuitions offer crash courses closer to the A Levels, which train students to effectively answer questions within time limits while also helping them grow accustomed to the style of questions posed.

Lastly, students should be familiar with using their graphing calculators, as well as which formulas to refer to in their MF26 Formula sheet when answering different questions. With regular practice, students will be able to know which formula they need to memorise and which they can simply refer to their formula sheet or plot a graph on their calculators. This saves valuable time, allowing students to feel less stressed amidst time constraints as well as being able to check through their work before submitting, allowing them to avoid losing marks due to careless mistakes.

student using a graphing calculator

Part 4: Conclusion 

Math is often perceived as a challenging subject by many students, which often leads them to avoid regular revision and practice, leading to poor scores. But with hard work and consistent practice, coupled with help from math tutors in Singapore, students can build up solid foundations and excel in their exams, paving the way for a more enriching future.

Looking to enroll your child in O and A Level math tuition in Singapore? Get in touch with us today to find out more on our rates and schedules.