Five topics Futher Students should nail before exams

Non-negotiable.

There are a few things in Further that are absolutely non-negotiable when it comes to content that needs to be learnt.

If you’re more interested in what you need to know for Maths Methods, click here

Unfortunately, the entire course is pretty necessary

There’s not a lot in Further that you can get away with simply skipping. But we all know that memorising and mastering absolutely every damn thing in the curriculum can be a big order to fill

If you are having trouble prioritising what to study here 5 things Further students absolutely must have nailed before exams.
(There are actually 7 but two of them won’t apply to you)

Linear Regression (Line of best fit)

I know it’s a pretty big topic, but this one is a staple in Further. They have used it every year without fail for the last ten years. And you can definitely bet that they will be using it again.

Take the time to learn this topic inside and out, and you’ll be ahead of the game!

Interpret gradient, y-intercept and coefficient of determination (r2)

These questions are usually easy marks. In fact, if you put this template into your summary book, you can make sure you’ll be able to interpret them.

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Finance Solver

The financial solver on your CAS is a gold mine. It actually has a lot more power than you realise.

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The finance solver can deal with any situation that involves a form of compounding interest or depreciation. Including annuities, savings plans, loans, reducing balance depreciation, investments, and more.

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Here’s the simple run-down:

  • n is the number of payments over the time period you’re interested in
  • I% is interest rate (make it negative if using solver for depreciation)
  • PV is present value: value right now. It’s positive if money is going into your pocket (at the start of a loan for example) and negative if the money is going out of your pocket (like if you put it into a savings account)
  • Pmt is the regular payment that happens every cycle (week, month, quarter, etc). Again, positive means into your pocket (like a withdrawal from a savings account) and negative if it’s leaving your pocket (like a loan payment)
  • FV is future value. This is usually 0 if a loan is paid off, otherwise positive if you get given money at the end, or negative if you owe money.
  • Ppy means payments per year. 1 for yearly, 12 for monthly, 4 for quarterly etc.
  • Cpy means compounds per year. It should always match Ppy for the purposes of Further Maths.
  • PmtAt tells the calculator if payments happen before or after interest is calculated. Should always be set to END.

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Transition Matrices (Matrices Module)

Matrices isn’t a big chapter so it’s important to make sure you can use transition matrices effectively. Some quick tips to remember:

  • In a transition matrix, the columns always total to one
  • Don’t forget that the power ALWAYS goes on the square matrix
  • The power dictates how many steps you will take. A power of three means three steps forward (that could take you from month 4 to month 7)
  • Any power over 30 will do if you are looking for the steady state.

Forward and backward scanning (Networks Module)

If you can nail working out the earliest and latest start times, then finding critical paths, crashing, and float times all come as a very quick natural progression.

This is one skill that can flow on to provide support for several different questions, so it’s a good way to cover a lot of bases quickly.

Drawing maps for bearings (Geometry & Trig)

I just heard a collective groan. These are usually torture for most students, but being able to produce a relatively accurate sketch on the fly is a huge win.

Try drawing mini compasses on each checkpoint, and draw in angles relative to these compasses. That, and make sure you’re familiar with corresponding and opposite angles (the z rule!)

Graphing Feasible Regions (Linear Relations module)

Being able to visually represent a feasible region from constraints is relied upon continuously in this module. Make sure you’re comfortable sketching these lines and marking in regions.

These can often make up a pretty big part of the question pool in linear relations. Be prepared for it!

I’m here to help!

If you think you might need some extra help getting through this stuff, I happen to know a few tutors who might be able to help you out! Drop me a line in the comments or click on the button on the right hand side to schedule a call. I’m sure I’ll be able to help!

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