A 5-Step Guide on How to Study for H2 Math, to Help You Get Ahead

Timothy Gan

Ask any JC students, H2 Maths may be one of the hardest subjects they take. In this blog, I will share 5 essential tips on how to study H2 math effectively so that you can start your journey right. 

In order to overcome the difficulties of H2 Maths, students should not only focus on learning by heart and answering questions, they also need to take a step back and learn how to study smart. Through my experience, I have come to know students who worked really hard with no results before joining us. Some of the most common mistakes they make through my observation include:

  • Rote memorisation of formulae without internalising and understanding them
  • Practising questions without understanding the concept
  • Studying with no plan or direction

Before you set time to revise the subject, you will need to take a step back and know why we lose marks in examinations. There are only 2 reasons why students lose marks in exams,

  • Careless Mistakes
  • Conceptual Misunderstanding

As A H2 Math student, what you will need to do is to minimise the careless mistakes made and to eliminate the conceptual misunderstanding before sitting for exams. It’s very unlikely, or impossible, to have zero careless mistakes in exam conditions (because everyone make careless mistakes even the professors at university) but it is possible to address all misconceptions for each topic.

Careless mistakes are often related to issues with time management, organisation, or the weak grasp of foundational sec school mathematics.

Conceptual misunderstanding can be difficult to spot for a student. This is one of the main reasons why it is not uncommon for students to have the correct final answer but still doesn’t get the required marks. They failed to get the method marks. Therefore, it is important for students to check their work carefully with the help of a teacher for any conceptual misunderstanding that might have occurred during the solving process.

Do note that there are more marks allocated for correct conceptual understanding than getting the correct answers in H2 Mathematics.

1. Know the topics you are weak in, including the secondary school A. Math topics!

The syllabus prepares students adequately for A-Level H2 Mathematics

4047 ADDITIONAL MATHEMATICS GCE ORDINARY LEVEL SYLLABUS

Not many students or teachers know that this is the very first opening line in the Secondary School A. Math O Level Syllabus. This line sums it all, A. Math is really important in H2 math. From my experience, many students take H2 Math thinking that they can forget or “return” their secondary school knowledge to their teacher. This is a grave mistake.

Fortunately, not all A Math topics are of equal importance. However, the topics which are important are typically topics that students hated in secondary school. Here are 3 A-Math topics which you need to master in order to do well in H2 Math,

  1. Trigonometric Functions
  2. Trigonometic Identities
  3. Indices, Surds and Logrithm

These 3 topics are like the bread and butter of H2 math, you can find them in most H2 Math topics such as Functions, Vectors, Complex Numbers, Applications of Integration and etc. Oftentimes, when students couldn’t do a question or get the final answer, you will find that because their foundation for these topics is not strong.

Now, before studying for a given exam, it is important to assess your strengths and weaknesses. This will allow you to better allocate time and energy to the topics where you need more help. From my teaching experience, every student’s struggles are different. Some students prefer statistics over pure math, while some like visuals more than auditory information. Some can visualise 3D models well and apply the integral formulae confidently while others struggle.

Based on your prelims and your own experience, you have a sense of what topics you are weak in. For weaker topics, just try and allocate more time for them. For topics you are confident in, do some prelims questions on them or past year topical questions. 

If you are generally okay with all topics, then allocate the amount of time to each topic based on the proportion of marks of each topic. Keep your focus on what you need to learn, not on how much there is left. Plan your time in advance and only spend the amount of time you have allocated for each topic.

2. Master the major topics

In H2 math, Vectors takes up 30 marks and Integration Techniques affect Differential Equations and Applications of Integrations, which could amount to 30 marks too. Typically, once you get these two topics right, you already have 60 marks out of 200 marks secured which is 30% of the overall grade. I see some students put these topics for revision only when nearing exams as they feel that it will help them to remember better, unfortunately, H2 Math doesn’t work that way, we all know it requires consistency and practice. As daunting as these topics may be, try to do one or two questions each week just to retain the concepts learnt. 

Mastery of any topic doesn’t mean you need to know all the formulas before start trying out the questions. One of the serious problems I see students do often is that they try to memorise all the formulas before attempting the questions. Topics like Vectors in H2 Mathematics, I would highly recommend knowing the basics between the relationships such as, 

  1. Finding the shortest distance between
    • Point to a Line
    • Point to a Plane
    • Two Parallel lines
    • Two Parallel planes
  2. Applications of Dot and Cross Product
  3. Finding Equations of
    • Line
    • Plane 

Once these basics are established and mastered, just try and apply them, anything else is just an extension of these basics concepts. For our students, they can access all the videos on these concepts in the student portal.

What I usually asked students to do is to binge-watch the questions with video solutions in the morning when travelling to school on the bus or car, that later in the day attempt the same questions and see whether you really understood the explanation given.

We have a question bank that sorts all the questions I solved with Video solutions and Handwritten Solutions. Our students love it as it really reinforces the concepts and fundamentals. You can read the testimonials from our students here

3. Master concepts before memorizing the formula

In many branches of mathematics, mastering concepts is paramount. This is why you have more M1 marks (given for Method or showing that you understand the concepts) than A1 marks (given for the accuracy of answers) in papers.

Try not to heavily memorize formulas to questions types, watch and learn how to think and approach the questions, listen to what I said and how to approach and think through the questions and videos solutions available to you at our Question Bank.

How to study for H2 Math A 5-Step Guide on How to Study for H2 Math, to Help You Get Ahead

4. Teach a Friend, the most effective way to learn

One of the best ways on how to study for H2 Math is by teaching a friend.

Understanding math concepts can be difficult. Learning with a friend is a good way to see the steps and understand the logic behind the topic. Teaching your friend is one of the most effective ways to learn yourself. When you explain math concepts to your friend, you are forced to think about what you understand, which reinforce your understanding and challenge your assumptions. It helps you to realize what concepts you have not fully grasped and how to work on them better, this takes a lot of time and effort. But, it is worth it in the end.

5. Time management

When studying for H2 Math – The Pomodoro Technique

Time management is crucial. You can’t just study straight for 5 hours without break, it is just not humanly possible. I will share with you what I do to increase my productivity in my work, it is called the Pomodoro technique.

Manage your time when you study

Basically, study for 25 minutes and take a 5-minute break. During that break, do whatever you want, like playing a game or watch YouTube videos to recharge and rest your brain. Then process repeats. Take a long break of 15 minutes after 4 cycles. This technique is very effective for me, I find myself getting more things done. You can read it here, Article: https://todoist.com/productivity-methods/pomodoro-techniqueTimer: https://pomofocus.io/

So, I would suggest, break down and allocate more time slots for the topics you are weak in or major topics (Vectors, Complex Numbers and Integration and its applications). In every 25 minutes, do about 5 – 8 marks of questions and review Video explanations when needed. Write down notes for concepts do not just copy answers. Right answers are not that important, concepts are.

When practising questions or attempting a full paper

For each paper or question that you attempt, time them. A general rule of thumb is that for every 10 marks use about 15 minutes to solve them. Of course, not all marks are created equal so it’s just a guide. 

One of the many reasons why I think mock papers are important. I think you need to sit through papers that are set similar to the A level standard, probably a bit harder. To see how you stand for these papers. Try to do questions without help and see how many concepts you can recall within a time frame.

Conclusion

H2 Math is a subject that requires a lot of hard work and dedication. However, with the help of good resources and perseverance, it can be mastered. So, do not lose hope!

Sometimes, it might seem like you are the only one who struggles with math. But don’t worry about it because you are not alone in this struggle. In fact, there are many people who have been through the same thing as you and have been able to conquer their fears and become successful in math.

And if you need any help with math and need H2 Math Tuition, please don’t hesitate to call us! My help is one call away. 🙂

Published: 17th May 2022
Written by
Timothy Gan
This is Tim. Tim loves to teach math. Tim seeks to improve his teaching incessantly! Help Tim by telling him how he can do better.
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