Can’t do Long Division? Clear it with Synthetic Division!

Can’t do Long Division? Clear it with Synthetic Division!

This article was written by Ronald Khoo, a current VCE Specialist Maths tutor. Ronald currently is accepting students, so if you’re interested in his services, please go here



LearnMate is Australia’s leading tutoring agency offering private lessons in all primary & high school subjects including English, maths, science, humanities, foreign languages, and so much more. Our mission is simple: to provide professional, engaging and enthusiastic tutors to students, while also ensuring the student feels empowered and confident during their assessments! Ultimately, our goal is to empower students all over Australia to achieve amazing results and make their dreams come true!

LearnMate provides you with tailored, one-on-one lessons for tutoring in a variety of suburbs in MelbourneSydneyGeelongBrisbaneHobartCanberraPerth & Adelaide! With hundreds of tutors on the LearnMate platform, you’re bound to find someone local for any primary or high school year level! You can choose to have lessons in-person or online – whatever is easiest for you!

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Can’t do Long Division? Clear it with Synthetic Division!
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How to Study for VCE Specialist Maths – The Three Common FAQs!

How to Study for VCE Specialist Maths – The Three Common FAQs!

This article was written by Sam Daffy, a VCE Specialist Maths tutor. You can see more about Sam’s tutoring services here.


  1. Will I ever use this after school/in real life?

    Probably not. Of course, if you study pure mathematics at university, you will be using Specialist Mathematics (SM). But if you want to study engineering, then you may well need SM. For example, the mathematical constant i, which is defined as the square root of negative 1, is a concept studied in SM which has real-life applications within the field of engineering.

    2. Why would anyone study Specialist Mathematics?

    There’s a perception that you would have to be crazy to study SM unless you’re a mathematical genius. But there are at least three reasons to study SM. First, if you are unusually good at maths, or if you particularly enjoy it (which generally only happens if you’re good at it), SM might be a good choice. Second, if you want to study engineering, it will make your introduction to university studies much easier; it will mean you can skip entire subjects and get to more in-depth and ‘real life’ subjects sooner. Finally, SM scales up. A lot. While this alone is no reason to take a subject, let’s be honest: it won’t hurt your ATAR – unless it’s simply too hard.

    3. How do I know if I should study Specialist Mathematics?

    SM is not easy. There are many different concepts to get your head around and the SACs and exam are rarely forgiving. While your scaled study score will be marked up significantly – a raw score of 30 scaled up to 41 in 2015 – earning a raw score of 30 in SM is no mean feat. Despite the massive scaling, some students will spend much of their time in Year 12 slaving away at SM only to receive a disappointing study score. In some cases, this time could have been better spent on a subject more suited to that particular student, as well as their other subjects. If you are unsure about whether SM is for you, ask your maths teacher, and people you trust. Generally, to do well in SM, you should be consistently getting A’s and maybe B’s in maths already.

Not sure how to do long division? Clear it with synthetic division! Here’s how.

LearnMate is Australia’s leading tutoring agency offering private lessons in all primary & high school subjects including English, maths, science, humanities, foreign languages, and so much more. Our mission is simple: to provide professional, engaging and enthusiastic tutors to students, while also ensuring the student feels empowered and confident during their assessments! Ultimately, our goal is to empower students all over Australia to achieve amazing results and make their dreams come true!

LearnMate provides you with tailored, one-on-one lessons for tutoring in a variety of suburbs in MelbourneSydneyGeelongBrisbaneHobartCanberraPerth & Adelaide! With hundreds of tutors on the LearnMate platform, you’re bound to find someone local for any primary or high school year level! You can choose to have lessons in-person or online – whatever is easiest for you!


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How to Study for VCE Specialist Maths – The Three Common FAQs!
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How to Study for VCE Specialist Maths – The Three Common FAQs!

How to Study for VCE Specialist Maths – The Three Common FAQs!

This article was written by Alex Niehof, a VCE Specialist Maths tutor. You can see more about Alex’s tutoring services here.


  1. When do I start studying for exams? And what’s the best way to do it?

As with all maths subjects, Specialist is all about practice, practise, practise! Start doing exam style questions as soon as you’ve finished your first topic. These can be sourced from plenty of resources, including past VCAA and external company exams, as well as publications such as checkpoints. Make sure to leave recent VCAA exams until 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. The textbook should be used until you’re confident with core concepts, at this point you should have all the skills necessary to tackle exam style questions. Longer, exam 2 type questions should be prioritised, as these are generally regarded as harder and are much more reliant on a strong ability to apply techniques, whereas a lot of 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 lower than their methods raw score, which makes sense as the difference in scaling is approximately 7. So scaling isn’t really a reason for picking Specialist.

Furthermore, Specialist is a type of subject that requires a considerable level of competence in order to pass. It’s a bit like a language; picking up something like French in year 11 have never had any exposure to the language would be considered insane! You should only consider Specialist maths if you enjoy maths, 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 to choose it, then why should I pick it?

Specialist maths is actually incredibly useful! It’s definitely the most useful of the three VCE subjects in terms of the first-year university. Science and engineering courses at university all require Specialist level maths or higher at a minimum, and doing Specialist in VCE typically means you don’t have to repeat it in the first year. Doing this level of maths in VCE instead of a university will also make it easier to pick up, as the content is covered much quicker.

Specialist maths is also really interesting and has a huge amount of 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 stuff is covered in year 11 as well, so if you’re keen on learning some useful maths, definitely give Specialist a go!

Not sure how to do long division? Clear it with synthetic division! Here’s how.

LearnMate is Australia’s leading tutoring agency offering private lessons in all primary & high school subjects including English, maths, science, humanities, foreign languages, and so much more. Our mission is simple: to provide professional, engaging and enthusiastic tutors to students, while also ensuring the student feels empowered and confident during their assessments! Ultimately, our goal is to empower students all over Australia to achieve amazing results and make their dreams come true!

LearnMate provides you with tailored, one-on-one lessons for tutoring in a variety of suburbs in MelbourneSydneyGeelongBrisbaneHobartCanberraPerth & Adelaide! With hundreds of tutors on the LearnMate platform, you’re bound to find someone local for any primary or high school year level! You can choose to have lessons in-person or online – whatever is easiest for you!

How to Study for VCE Specialist Maths – The Three Common FAQs!
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VCE Maths – Study Skills Required to Succeed!


This article has been written by Tianhe Xie, a VCE Maths Methods, Further Maths, Specialist Maths & Physics tutor at LearnMate. If you’re interested in private tutoring from Tianhe, then please check out her page here.


Study Skills – How To Study Mathematic Subjects

During my school years I have always heard people complaining about the difficulties of studying mathematical subjects. Indeed, mathematic subjects can be challenging, because in order to acquire a good score, you have to not only understand the concepts and techniques, but also do a lot of practice to improve your calculation accuracy, which can be very time consuming. Therefore, it is important to be very organized when you study maths, which is basically why I am writing this article.

In this article I will provide some basic advice on study skills for mathematic subjects specifically, which have helped me to perform well in year 12.

Notebooks

Have Three Notebooks:

For each of my math subjects, I had three separate notebooks for class notes, homework/exercise and summary respectively. It is important to have a summary book as early as possible, because in the exam you will be using these books. If you start to make your summary book early and use them in your SAC, you will be familiar with the locations of your formulas, which will give you a large advantage in the exam. Please be aware that there are certain rules which restrict the types of notebooks that can be taken into the examination room – when unsure, always check with your teachers at school or the VCAA website.

What to write in your summary book:

The summary book should cover the concepts (definitions), and formulas in each area of study. Also, it will be good to include questions that you have got wrong during practice. I always write down why I got this question wrong on the side too, just to remind myself not to make the same mistakes again. As a careless person, on the front page, I have put certain common things that I have regularly done wrong when doing my homework, such as unit conversions, precision of result (how many decimals required) and calculator mode for angle measurements, so that before my SAC, I know I need to be careful with them. For Math Methods and Specialist Math Students: On the last several pages, I have summarized the graphs with their basic function equations that we have learnt – This can be very helpful for graph, derivatives and anti-derivatives questions in the exams.

Update your summary book before the SAC as a revision, and ask your teacher/tutor about the parts you are uncertain with.

For Methods and Specialist Students

Practice your calculation skills:

Even though you are allowed a calculator for many sections in your exam, you should still try to solve questions by hand when you are doing your homework. This will really reinforce your understanding and familiarise yourself with the techniques. In the tech-free part, there are always questions simply testing your calculation skills – it’s always good to secure these marks. Therefore, please make sure you know multiplication table, differentiation/anti-differentiation and equation solving techniques, and the relation between fraction and division, etc.

Additional Advice

Do your homework regularly:

Yes you actually should do your homework. Personally, I stay in the school library after school to complete the relevant exercise of the day, because if I go home I get lazy. As normally you would have time in class to do some of it, it really should not take long – if you understand the context and are updated, it should take only about 15-30 minutes. 

Know how to use the calculator:

Please know your calculator well. There are many clever functions in the calculator that can save you enormous time in exam (for further math students especially, please know how to use the ‘geometry’ function for your trigonometry section). If your teacher don’t give your enough information on this (as I know from some of my students), you should really find someone who can explain this to you or check your textbook for more instruction.

Have a positive attitude:

It may sound clichéd, but I do think it’s important to have confidence when you are studying mathematics. Yes, mathematics is difficult, but high school mathematic subjects are not real mathematics – they are subjects, so if you do enough work, you will do well in them. As I mentioned earlier, mathematic subjects appear to be harder than other subjects, because they require a larger amount of work. Yet, once you have done enough practice, you will begin to see the similar pattern in them and the strategies to all the puzzling questions will suddenly become obvious to you. So, never think you are incapable of understanding high school mathematics – it might be the fact that your teacher’s explanation doesn’t match your learning preference, or the fact that you haven’t attempted more practice questions. Keep trying – asking people who understand it, reading your textbooks, getting a tutor or doing more practice – you will get there. Everyone is capable of understanding high school mathematics – in a way, it’s like learning addition and multiplication in primary school – you may get it wrong due to a lack of practice, but it will be ridiculous to say that you do not understand it.

This advice looks simple but is actually hard to implement and maintain. If you have successfully integrated all of them into your study, you should be able to perform very well in your exam. 

I wish you all the best and you’ll do amazingly well if you follow my advice above!


This article has been written by Tianhe Xie, a VCE Maths Methods, Further Maths, Specialist Maths & Physics tutor at LearnMate. If you’re interested in private tutoring from Tianhe, then please check out her page here.


LearnMate is Australia’s leading tutoring agency offering private lessons in all primary & high school subjects including English, maths, science, humanities, foreign languages, and so much more. Our mission is simple: to provide professional, engaging and enthusiastic tutors to students, while also ensuring the student feels empowered and confident during their assessments! Ultimately, our goal is to empower students all over Australia to achieve amazing results and make their dreams come true!

LearnMate provides you with tailored, one-on-one lessons for tutoring in a variety of suburbs in MelbourneSydneyGeelongBrisbaneHobartCanberraPerth & Adelaide! With hundreds of tutors on the LearnMate platform, you’re bound to find someone local for any primary or high school year level! You can choose to have lessons in-person or online – whatever is easiest for you!

VCE Maths – Study Skills Required to Succeed!
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