Preparing for SA1 Math


As part of our series on SA1 exam prep advice, this post contains some helpful tips to tackle the Math paper.

Identifying Weaknesses

Take a practice SA1 paper that you have completed, and diligently record the corresponding topics of the questions which you had committed errors in. The topics that surface often are those that you have to focus on.

Primary 3 & 4

For those who did not pass

Your foundation is weak and you simply have to begin with the basics. Start with questions in Sections A and B to strengthen your fundamentals, before taking on the more challenging questions in Section C (those that carry 3 marks each). Often times, the reason you are not doing well is due to your weak manual calculations. Honing calculation skills through numerous practice tests can help to build stamina and meticulousness.

For those with an average score

Losing marks in Sections A and B are likely due to careless mistakes or tricky questions. Double checking and working backwards will prove beneficial in tackling such issues.
Most students face challenges in the word problems in Section C. Practice more to gain more experience in the different question types and master the different techniques to answer them.

Primary 5 & 6

For those who did not pass

Lay the foundation. Do Paper 1 questions to fortify your fundamentals, before starting on Paper 2 questions (those that carry 2 – 3 marks each). This will help you to work on the gaps in your fundamentals. Slowly build your confidence by starting with MCQs and Short Answer questions.

For those with an average score

Losing marks in Paper 1 are usually due to poor manual calculation skills and a lack of practice. This also causes time management issues in completing the paper. Timed practice would prove beneficial.
Word problems are difficult due to the failure in recognising the different types of questions and the respective techniques required to solve them. Highlight key phrases and components within the question to identify the question type.

For those who want to excel

Try exposing yourself to various types of challenging questions, thereby equipping yourself with stronger critical thinking skills.

Ultimate tip

If you are already running short of time, the quickest course of action would be to focus on past mistakes and review past corrections. Use available model answers or seek help from a parent/teacher.

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