What You Need To Know About Further Maths

Further Maths is one of the unique subjects in VCE in regards to structure. It is unusual primarily because each school has the option to choose particular sections to teach.

Which is why I want to properly explain exactly what students should be expecting from Further Maths in year 12.

What You Need To Know About Further Maths

Module Layout

There are six modules that compose of the Further Maths curriculum.

Two core modules, and four optional modules

Core Modules

The core modules are Data Analysis and Financial Mathematics. Every school in Victoria is required to teach these two modules.

Data Analysis is by far the largest of all the modules in Further Maths, and typically takes up most of the first Term of the year. It involved concepts from previous years such as mean/median/mode, bar charts, box plots etc., as well as new concepts such as Normal Distributions and Linear Regression.

Financial Maths focuses on concepts such as interest, loans, and investments. It is definitely a welcome addition to the curriculum, although there is room to add more detail to make it more beneficial for the wider world.

Optional Modules

The four optional modules are Linear Relations, Geometry & Trigonometry, Networks & Decision Maths, and Matrices.

Every school selects two of these modules to deliver. Typically, this choice is based off what the school’s teachers are most comfortable delivering. It can also be based on what the school believes will achieve the best results.

While no module is particularly easier or harder than another, there are certain modules that are more popular.

  1. Matrices is by far the most popular module choice for schools
  2. Geometry and Trig comes in second
  3. Networks & Decision Maths is next most popular
  4. Linear Relations is typically the least common selection

This is the reason that the Further Maths textbook is so daunting…

It includes content from all six modules, despite the fact that students only focus on four of them.

The exams are constructed in a similar way; students are only expected to complete the modules that they have learnt.

Yes, there are horror stories of students trying to complete all the sections. Don’t be that person…

SACs

Student studying Further Maths for an upcoming SACNote: Schools have the freedom to decide how best to deliver SACs to their students. The information in this section is based on my experience with a range of schools – these aren’t rules, they are simply observations from experience. Please speak to your teacher to get a detailed outline of your SACs for Further Maths.

SACs count for 34% of your overall mark in this subject. That weight is split between all the SACs throughout the year, though the exact split is actually up to your school and teachers.

Typically speaking, Further Maths students get around 4-6 SACs for the year. 2-3 SACs for Data Analysis, and one each for Finance Maths and the two optional modules.

Data Analysis is proportionately bigger than other modules and contains a large amount of varied content, which is why it gets the extra attention.

Further Maths Exam Layout

There are 2 exams at the end of the year for Further Maths.

Each exam is 1.5 hours in length, plus the 15 minutes reading time at the start.

Both exams allow full calculator use and summary notes.

Check out this quick easy list “5 Things That Further Students MUST Have Nailed Before Exams”

Unlike in Maths Methods or Specialist Maths, in which the first exam is calculator-free and notes-free.

And each exam is weighted for 33% of your overall mark.

In fact, the only difference between the two exams is the style of question.

Exam 1

Exam 1 is entirely multiple choice questions:

  • 16 Questions for Data Analysis
  • 8 Questions for Finance Maths
  • 8 Questions for each optional module

For a total of 40 questions to be answered. This equates to 2 minutes and 15 seconds per question, for those who are about to ask. The questions require no shown work or explanation, and there are no consequential marks.

You’re either right, or you’re wrong.

Exam 2

Exam 2 is built entirely of extended answer questions:

  • 36 Marks allocated to Core section, which is typically split as:
    • 24 marks for Data Analysis and
    • 12 marks for Finance
    • These are a little flexible, in 2017 it was 22 and 14.
  • 24 Marks allocated to optional module (12 marks per module)

Which totals 60 marks. If you’re looking for a time budget, that equates to 1 minute and 30 seconds per mark. Despite the fact that there are more marks available in this exam, it is overall worth exactly the same as Exam 1.

Consequential and method marks are both available in Exam 2, which means it is important for students to make an active effort to show their working and methodology in answering questions.

My one piece of advice for Further Maths students

Your Summary Book is gold.

As long as you put in the effort to create it in the best way possible.

Want some help building your summary book? Check out “How to create a killer summary book for Further Maths”

The thing about Further Maths is that each module is completely segregated from the others.

Which means that you can update your summary book as you go without having to be concerned about going back to fill in pieces later.

Your goal should be to use your summary book for each SAC as well as for the exams.

By keeping it constantly up to date, it will become an incredibly valuable resource throughout the year. Don’t wait until the end of the year to do it.

The fact is, once you finish the Data Analysis module, you won’t have a good reason to look at that content again until exam time. Do you think you’ll be able to remember everything important and relevant by then?

Most students can’t, which is why creating a summary book for Further Maths turns into such a daunting task. But if you keep on top of it from the start, it’s not only useful but easy!


Now that you know exactly what to expect, all that’s left is to master the Maths itself! But if that sounds a bit daunting, why not get in touch with us to organise a free introductory tutoring session? Just fill in the form here and we can get in touch with you to give you more information!

Make A Difference | January 2018 Donation

Thank you - making a difference

The first month of 2018 is already over…

Where the **** did that go?!

Scary, scary stuff. But, at the same time, I was really excited when we got to the end of the month.

Because that meant it was time to make our first ever donation to UNICEF. So I went and checked out the lesson report for January.

Admittedly, it was a bit of a slow start this year… with only 12 lessons taking place throughout the month. But even that small number can make a difference.

2018 January lesson count - let's make a difference

The good news is that we already have double that amount booked for February, and we still have slots available for new students!

Which means that our goal in February is to acheive more than double our January donation.

And I know that, with your help, we can do that.

Regardless, we still managed to contribute a small amount to help make a difference to children around the world.

Everyone starts somewhere. This $12 donation is still making a difference, and throughout the year we will continue to keep making that difference (hopefully more and more each time!)

2018 January donation - $12 - make a difference

So thank you to all parents and students whose tutoring made an impact around the world – this is just the beginning!

Confidence is so important, and here’s how we build it….

building confidence in primary school students

Confidence is one of the most important aspects of studying Maths. Especially at a younger (primary school) age.

In fact, confidence is easily the single most prevalent reason that parents seek out a tutor for their child.

[bctt tweet=”Confidence is easily the single most prevalent reason that parents seek out a tutor for their child.” username=”simplymaths”]

It separates the students who enjoy Maths from the ones who resent it. Which is why we, as Maths tutors, will always make it a priority to help build a student’s confidence as quickly as possible. And, luckily, there are a few tricks to help some of those younger students along.

Easy ways to build confidence in young students

1. Build confidence by starting with easy questions

Confidence comes partly from skill, but mostly from experience. When students go through less challenging questions, they find themselves understanding effortlessly. Which in turn makes them feel ready to tackle some of the more problematic questions that come their way.

This may seem like such a simple strategy, but don’t overlook it – giving young students a confidence boost here can make a huge difference in problems later.

Downplay the differences between easy and hard questions

A hard Maths question is just an easy question with a twist. Try to help your student focus on the similarities to previous (easy) questions, rather than focusing on the differences. If students feel like a problem is close to one that they find easy, it’s much less of a stretch to ask them to add in an extra step.

[bctt tweet=”A hard Maths question is just an easy question with a twist.” username=”simplymaths”]

Try not to let your students focus on the aspects that make the question hard – teach them how to handle the curveball, and otherwise let them work they way they were already working.

Don’t set too many “trap” questions

A student’s confidence will take the biggest hit in situations where they thought they nailed it.

Trap questions are good every now and then to keep students on their toes, but it can be all too easy to abuse them.

Try not to constantly undermine your student’s skills with these tricky questions. Present them in an obvious way that allows you to teach your student how to navigate the challenging aspects, before trying to trick them. No good will come of giving a student a question that they had no hope of answering. 

With confidence high, results will follow

Eventually. It will take time. But the fact is, with confidence comes excitement and passion. Students hate to feel like they aren’t doing a good job, and it can be all too easy for Mathematics to become a subject that causes this effect.

But with the right attitude, Maths typically becomes a strength rather than a weakness. This is one of the reasons that I recommend that parents don’t mention to their kids that they didn’t like Maths growing up (click here to read that article).

Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or tutor, these simple ideas can create a monumental change in your student’s perception of Maths in school.

[Free Poster] Primary School students are learning how, but not why…

Primary school students are learning how to do basic operations, but not why

If life is like a box of chocolates, Maths is like a box of tools.

Plenty of people know how to use most tools in a toolbox, but only the experts really know when to use them effectively.

But in early years of education, this can cause problems…

In working with students, we find that more and more are struggling with basic operations questions.

But it’s not the process of adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing that is causing trouble…

It’s knowing which of those operations to choose.

Worded questions (more formally known as application questions) cause countless students difficulty.

Why?

Because students know how to use the tools, but not why. 

That’s why I’ve put together an easy to use poster for you. All you have to do is download it below, and pin it up somewhere around the house. I suggest the back of the toilet door – after all, what else are kids gonna do while they sit there?!

The poster is a simple guide to the most common scenarios in which each of the four main operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) are necessary.

Which is arguably even more important than actually being able to perform the operations. Especially as technology continues to advance at such great speeds.

Realistically, who doesn’t walk around with a calculator in their pocket anymore? The fact is, learning when and why to use Maths is infinitely more important than how.

 

$3 down… how many to go?

first week unicef donations

Well, the first week of the tutoring year is already done! As you can imagine, the first week is always incredibly quiet…

But I’m super proud.

Because, for the first time ever, we are already making a difference.

Not just to the two students who have gotten a head start on the school year by starting their tutoring early.

But of ourselves. Because this week marks the first $3 (hopefully of many hundreds or even thousands more) that we have put aside to contribute to UNICEF.

If you haven’t heard, this year Simply Maths is putting a new policy in place. And it has already started.

From the 1st of January 2018, $1 from every hour of tutoring completed will be donated to the children’s charity UNICEF, in the hope of helping children around the world to live the lives they deserve. 

It might be a slow start, but it’s a start nonetheless! And we can’t wait to make even more of an impact.

Every single parent who commits to tutoring will be making a difference – not just for their own child, but for children around the world.

And it will only grow from here! As new students continue to commit to tutoring and their own education, our ability to make a difference will continue to grow with them.

Here’s to making 2018 better for absolutely everyone!

Christian