So you have decided that you want to study SACE Specialist Mathematics?
As intimidating as it may seem, SM is one of the most interesting and smoothly executable units that you can do in year 12, with due dedication and perseverance. So where to begin? Firstly and most importantly, I cannot stress this enough: Do not leave your assessments to the last minute. This is universal to all subjects but as simple as certain concepts may seem in practice, when you set your final exam, your theory behind that practice will be tested. Yes, you may choose to revise for your test a day or two before, yes, you may score well enough, but in your examination, the type of questions you will encounter are not as simple.
My advice is to grasp the theory that is being taught for each of the chapters thoroughly. My reasoning behind this is that if your understanding of the concept is up to standards, then believe me when I say that the exam will seem straightforward. I am aware that many of us are introverts, but if you want to excel, you must ask questions. If you feel intimidated in class, stay back and make it a mission to have your queries answered. Specific to SM, understand your graphics calculator. Allocate time during your exam preparations to do questions that require the complex use of your GC. Many a times students go through a process of trial and error to figure out exactly which operation to use to solve a question in the exam. You do not want to be allotting precious time of using a calculator in the exam, so familiarise yourself with your GC. As exam dates get closer, prepare using past exams which are available on the SACE website, under Support Material. Make use of this as, without past exams, you will struggle with timing.
I also recommend, if possible, to purchase or borrow a copy of MASA student guide for Specialist Mathematics. This guide is excellent in giving material for each of the specific chapters and previous years’ exams. If you are unable to acquire one, ask your teacher. Often, teachers will also have copies of old examinations. To give you a guide, any paper from 2000 onwards is worth having a look at as the structure of the exam does not change much. Another tip while practising for exams is to use a timer. During my practising, I would always allocate myself a 3-hour slot where I would not be disturbed. Avoid stopping to look at answers for clarification. As tempting as it may seem, be true to yourself and test yourself so that when you actually check your answers, you know exactly which concepts you need clarification on. It is also helpful to keep in contact with someone, a fellow student or tutor, who can assist you with last-minute confusions.
During that exam preparation period, due to the high levels of stress, some very basic concepts seem complicated, so have someone who can reassure your doubts. Lastly, take breaks. Do not exhaust yourself out with continuous practice, rather take 15-20 minute breaks in between where you are away from your study environment.
This is a rough guide that I followed myself and I have suggested to people. Just remember, with your dedication and perseverance, you will do well! Good Luck!
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