How to Study for VCE Specialist Maths: Three Common FAQs!

VCE Specialist Mathematics is a challenging yet rewarding subject that demands consistent practice and strategic preparation. Here we address three common FAQs to help you excel in your studies and make the most of this subject.

1. When Do I Start Studying for Exams? And What’s the Best Way to Do It?

As with all maths subjects, Specialist Maths is all about practice, practice, practice! Start doing exam-style questions as soon as you’ve finished your first topic. These questions can be sourced from various resources, including past VCAA exams, external company exams, and publications such as Checkpoints. Make sure to save recent VCAA exams for just before your final exams, as these are the best practice in the lead-up to them.

Your textbook is a great resource, but don’t become too reliant on it. Use the textbook until you’re confident with core concepts. At this point, you should have all the skills necessary to tackle exam-style questions. Focus on longer, Exam 2 type questions as these are generally regarded as harder and rely more on your ability to apply techniques, whereas many Exam 1 questions can be learned through rote learning.

2. Specialist Scales Up So Much. Should I Pick It Just for the Scaling?

Absolutely not! Whatever your opinion on scaling, it does a pretty good job of equalising the three maths subjects. Most Specialist Maths students get a raw study score for Specialist that’s around 5-10 points lower than their Methods raw score, which makes sense given the approximate 7-point difference in scaling. Therefore, scaling shouldn’t be the primary reason for picking Specialist Maths.

Moreover, Specialist Maths requires a considerable level of competence to pass. It’s akin to learning a language; picking up something like French in Year 11 without prior exposure would be considered insane! You should only consider Specialist Maths if you enjoy math, achieve good grades in Methods, and aren’t afraid of a challenge.

3. So If It’s Difficult and the Scaling Isn’t an Incentive, Then Why Should I Pick It?

Specialist Maths is incredibly useful! It’s the most beneficial of the three VCE maths subjects in terms of first-year university courses. Science and engineering programs at university all require Specialist level maths or higher. Completing Specialist in VCE typically means you won’t have to repeat it in your first year of university. Additionally, studying this level of maths in VCE rather than at university can make the content easier to grasp, as it is covered at a more manageable pace.

Specialist Maths is also fascinating and has numerous real-world applications. Almost the entire Unit 4 content is about applications of topics such as vectors, and the topic of kinematics is just real-world applications! A lot of this content is covered in Year 11 as well, so if you’re keen on learning some useful maths, definitely give Specialist Maths a go!


Choosing to study VCE Specialist Mathematics is a significant decision that can greatly benefit your academic and professional future. By starting your exam preparation early, practicing consistently, and understanding the true value of the subject beyond scaling, you can excel in Specialist Maths. Remember, this subject not only prepares you for university-level math but also equips you with problem-solving skills that have real-world applications.

For more insights and to connect with expert VCE Specialist Maths tutors, visit Learnmate.

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