How to Prepare for Maths Methods Exam
VCE Exam Strategies
Table of Contents
When discussing the best revision strategies to prepare for the Maths Methods exam, you might come across a range of advices, most particularly:
“Spend all your time doing practice questions!”
“Do as many past papers as possible!”
“Don’t worry about revising, just jump straight into the exams!”
However, this over-reliance on practice exams is heavily flawed. Trust me. I’ve been there, done that. Last year, I completed nearly 100 practice papers, which was not only a huge overkill, but as I walked into the exam I realised doing that many papers was actually detrimental to my score. (The one and only silver lining, I guess, is that I can now comprehensively rank the quality of all the company papers out there!) I was so used to the familiar and repetitive question styles of the practice exams that when encountering some of the “curveball” questions I was left momentarily stumped.
So sure, doing practice exams is one of the best revision methods, but should not necessarily be the first thing you do. Let’s end the debate and have a look at what really is the best revision strategy.
The Optimal Revision Cycle
Ideally, this is what revision should look like:
Doing practice questions can allow you to identify your weaknesses. You should then review and reflect on these areas of improvement to make sure you never make the same mistakes again. And the result? Gradual improvement. However, it is far more efficient, and a huge time saver if you can actively identify all your weaknesses yourself, rather than relying solely on the practice questions. A shortcut!
Best Pre–Exam Revision Strategy
As you can see, going through the study design or your notes allows you to independently identify your weaknesses. This means that you can comprehensively go through every examinable concept, rather than needing practice exams to find it for you. From this relatively simple activity, you can save huge amounts of time, and start your practice exams journey on a higher standard.
Key Strategies for Practice Exams
By the time you’re ready to do full practice exams, you will likely be at the busiest part of Year 12, with four or five other subjects jousting for your attention. You have to make every exam count. Here are three simple yet crucial guidelines to get you started.
- Quality > Quantity
How many exams you get done ultimately means nothing. When you inevitably get drawn into the discussion about how many exams everyone did, take no note of them. It is all about what you learn from an exam each time. There are people have done north of 120 exams yet don’t a study score of over 40, and there are people have gotten 47+ from doing less than 10 exams. This brings us to our next point.
- Treat every exam seriously
How seriously? As if it is the real thing. Remove all potential distractors, and use the same pens, rulers, calculators, bound reference that you will use in the real exam. And make sure to not make the same mistake I did, and do them all under strict timed conditions! Even if you finish early, force yourself to improve your checking skills by making the most of whatever time you have left.
- Keep track of your mistakes & progress
The real improvement doesn’t come from doing the exams itself, but rather from reviewing your mistakes, and learning from them. You should have a detailed log keeping track of your common errors and mistakes, as well as your scores across the different exams. This will prove invaluable in the final days leading up to the real exam.
Hope this guide helped! If you’re interested to learn more about revision strategies, it is comprehensively covered in our Exam Strategies module, which also includes separator questions that are a must have for students going for that 45+ study score range.