O-level elementary mathematics (E-Maths) can be said to be the most important subject that any student will take. This is because it is a determining subject for entry to many Polytechnic courses, and serves as a fundamental basis for Maths in JC.

It may be a breeze for some, yet a difficult one for others. However, under the right guidance, it is a subject many grow to appreciate, and have confidence in, once they can grasp it.

Here are a few tips on how you can approach E-Maths and simply have fun with it.

**1. Know your formulas**

The most important factor in scoring for E-Maths, is that students must have a firm understanding of the formulas.

It’s not enough to just be familiar with them, but the difference between scoring an A1 and a mere Pass, is knowing when and how to apply them. This requires you to master the formulas.

**2. Practice, practice, and more practice!**

Attempting past-year papers will expose you to possible questions that you might encounter in the examination. It will also test your understanding of the concepts so you know your strengths and weaknesses.

A suggestion is to master the Paper 1 topics first, which are essentially more of the Lower Secondary topics. Be very certain about scoring full marks for Lower Secondary topics, such as algebraic questions (factorisation, quadratic equations, completing the square, etc.) – it is about understanding how the concepts work.

For Upper Secondary topics, they are more formula-based (trigonometry, arc length and sector area, statistics), and therefore, students must know these formulas well before attempting the questions.

Practice is hard work, but we promise that the rewards will be work it.

**3. Answer the questions completely**

Considerable care must be taken in how you state your answers to the questions to avoid losing marks unnecessarily.

For example, make sure you include every working of your answer, as the omission of essential working means loss of marks. Progressive workings may constitute marks, so don’t miss any step, assuming that the examiner will simply award you full points as long as you get the final answer.

Never lose easy marks because of this simple (but surprisingly common) mistake!

**4. Read the instructions carefully**

Don’t be in a rush to begin your paper and skip important details in the instructions, as this might cost you valuable marks.

For example, the instructions might require you to leave your answers in 3 significant figures, to the nearest cent, or to the nearest second. Bear in mind that there will be a penalty for the wrong rounding off of answers.

Once again, if you already know the answers, it’ll be a shame to waste any precious marks because of a simple oversight. Be vigilant, read the instructions carefully, and have your results showcase you at your best!

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