It certainly seems tricky, doesn’t it?
How do you study for an assessment that is, by design, unfamiliar questions?
Application tasks are designed to challenge you to take your current understanding of Maths problems and test you to see if you can apply them in new (and often obscure) scenarios.
Which means that simply knowing the content isn’t enough.
Focus on “why” just as much as “how”
Most students, after sufficient study, can easily explain how to perform the processes and strategies learnt in Maths.
But when I want to see if a student is truly on top of the idea, I ask a very simple question.
Why would you use this?
And the answer to this question quickly outlines to me if a student is fully grasping a concept in Maths.
Because the answer to that question is usually the key to achieving high results in application tasks.
An application task is built to test both the “why” and the “how” of your topics
A simple test will only focus on the how.
But in order to effectively problem solve, you need to be on top of the “why” as well.
Once you effectively understand why you would use a process, you become able to build out plans and strategies to solve problems.
“Why” is what separates amateurs from professionals
I’m not a carpenter. But I can effectively to all the jobs a carpenter can do. I can measure precisely, cut proficiently, and operate any number of power tools.
So, what is the difference?
The difference is that I do not understand why I would do those things. I am not capable of deciding on how large a frame I would need for a job. I do not know why I would use a certain type of screw. I don’t even know why I would use a certain type of timber, even though I do know which timber to use.
I know how to use the tools, but I do not know why.
And if you struggle with application tasks, it is because you know how to use your Maths tools, but not why.
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