Recently I wrote an article on how to Practice Math and Add Math. Here’s Part 1 of the article. And here’s Part 2.

I realized that students who do practice or those who try to practice on their own, often got stuck and they don’t know what to do, or don’t know what’s wrong.

So what’s the solution? “Wait for tuition class to ask Miss Ng.” Hah! What if you don’t have the privilage of a private or small group tutor?

Here are some tips on what to do when you’re stuck at a question.

1) Read through the question again and make sure you copied it correctly! Then make sure you understood the question correctly.

2) Check through your workings again. (many students check through their workings and couldn’t spot their own mistakes!) So my advise is this, re-do the question on a fresh page. Then check your new working against the old.

3) Try to think if you’ve done questions that are similar to the one that you’re stuck at. Many questions in SPM are a repetition of the same type. Only the numbers are changed with a slight variation. Refer to the previous similar question. Most of the time you can solve it with the same method.

4) Look for a similar question in the reference book examples and see how it is solved. Understand the concept and try to apply the same method to solve your question.

5) Always look for a pattern in the different types of questions asked. Find relationships between variables and form equations. Math is almost always about finding relationship and forming equations to determine unknowns.

8) The Final Solution – ask your teacher. This should always be the final step. Try all the above steps first. If the don’t work, then only ask someone. Why? Because it is great to achieve the solution on your own! It feels fantastic to know “I solved it on my own.”

What to do when you finally found your mistake and gotten the correct answer?

1) Don’t rub away the old workings with mistakes! This is also something many students do. They will rub off their workings which are wrong, and write the correct one. How are you going to learn from your mistakes if you need to refer to this in the future?  Never rub off your mistakes. Just write with another color pen with the correct workings next to it. 

2) Make sure you’re very very clear of your misunderstanding and why you made the mistakes earlier. Many students just complete the question, and move on to another question without pausing to think through the question.  This is why I believe, many students practice Add Math but are still unable to answer many questions when it comes to exam. They practice without having a clear understanding of their work and mistakes.