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Any maths teachers around? Revision skills for good mathematics who have never had to try before.

(14 Posts)
TheDonald Tue 17-Oct-17 07:25:20

Sorry this probably sounds like a stealth boast. Dd finds maths easy and all her efforts and my worries have focused on English where she's much more borderline.

She's got a maths exam after half term and she wants to try for a 9 but doesn't really know what to do to improve. In recent class tests the marks she's dropped have been careless mistakes. She seems to have a good understanding of most of it but is not very good at checking her work and sometimes misreads long questions.

Without past papers how can she improve on this?

TheDonald Tue 17-Oct-17 07:26:44

Sorry that title sounds really braggy. I mean she's coasted and now needs to start trying a bit harder.

KnittingPearl Tue 17-Oct-17 07:29:45

If the marks are being dropped through careless mistakes, then pretty much the only thing to do is take more time and read the question carefully, and practise everything/anything - as you say, knowledge isn't the issue, it is correct application of existing knowledge.

MsAwesomeDragon Tue 17-Oct-17 07:30:13

Does she have a revision guide? They generally have a load of exam questions to try and practice with.

Realistically, the best way to revise maths is to do maths. So she needs to find exam questions to practise. Some schools have subscriptions to online resources so if her school has, then look up topics she needs practice on. Or the "Corbett maths" website has "5a day" sheets where you do 5 questions a day to help you revise (I think there's an app, but I haven't used it)

bigTillyMint Tue 17-Oct-17 07:33:29

You say she misreads questions and finds English harder - could she have dyslexic-type difficulties?

She needs to take time, highlight the key words and be really sure what the question is asking. Practice with lots of high-level questions, even from old-style exams.

TheDonald Tue 17-Oct-17 07:44:57

Thanks. Yes she has a revision guide. I think the issue is mainly attitude. She goes through the revision guide or syllabus and thinks she already knows how to do it so doesn't want to spend hours practising when she needs to spend more time on other subjects.

She did have a problem with surds last year and has caught up with that using bitesize and YouTube so now she can't identify problem areas. It's just accuracy.

I will try to get her doing the revision books.

jeanne16 Tue 17-Oct-17 07:50:10

You can print old exam papers from the Internet plus the mark schemes so she can correct her own work. Make sure you know which exam board she is sitting. She should try to do as many as she can. I know maths changed last year but most of the questions will still remain similar.

sashh Tue 17-Oct-17 08:14:42

Has she been taught BUG?

It's designed more for essay subjects

B - box
U - underline
G - go back and tick

Ideally she needs a bright felt tip or highlighter.

Use the highlighter to Box (draw a box round) the most important word in the question, it might be 'evaluate' or 'estimate'.

Once she has done that she underlines the other important things such as, 'John has 3 apples'

Then as she works through she ticks off the underlined words.

It makes you read the question in a more focused way and go back to check you have answered every bit.

Pythonesque Tue 17-Oct-17 09:10:30

Agree that for those who understand mathematics, the key thing is learning how to prevent careless mistakes, and how to check your work effectively. Practicing stuff you do know how to do, and aiming for 100% accuracy will help and is worth it. The same can be necessary for science subjects.

Working slightly slower and being very deliberate about how you write down your working can be helpful. (In reality practising technique will tend to mean that overall you get faster though) How to check depends a bit on what time is available. If only a bit then skimming back through vulnerable questions is one option, or just looking for have I written the same numbers in my working as were in the question? When she makes careless mistakes get her to note the kind of mistake and make a point of looking out for it next time. (eg mistake in arithmetic? Copying the wrong number from the question? Forgetting to write the full answer out at the end? Lining numbers up wrong / writing numbers messily so they morph into a different number on the next line?) If in doubt write more down - if all your working is very clear, you will lose less for silly mistakes than if you have written very little working.

Hope any of this helps. I'm writing from the perspective of someone who had to learn those things. I remember for my chemistry exams at school (not UK) essentially all I had to actually learn was how not to make silly calculation mistakes, the rest came very easily. Good luck to your daughter!

TeenTimesTwo Tue 17-Oct-17 09:14:09

Speaking as a mathematician who was always told I was making too many careless mistakes, and the parent of an 18yo non-mathematician who made mistakes:

Has she got methods for checking her answers that aren't just 'look what I wrote and assume it is right'?

For example
- algebra - Always plus the final answer back in to the original equation
- basic calculations - do the calculation in a different order, so you can't repeat the same mistake
- reading graphs - fill in the missing numbers up the side of the graph, use a ruler to go vertically/horizontally
- straight line graphs - always plot at least 3 points
- word questions, use words in the workings out, and then at the end check you have actually done what was requested
- generally - estimate the answer first where possible, so you can check the answer makes sense

Also look back through past tests and make a list of what kind of careless mistakes she makes. Just by being aware of her most common errors will help her prevent them. (A favourite error for DD was saying 8x8 = 16 etc.)

However, in my opinion, it's not worth getting a 9 at maths at the expense of a 3 or 4 in English.

TeenTimesTwo Tue 17-Oct-17 12:23:41

(As in better an 8 in maths and a 5 in English, than a 9 in maths and risk a 3 in English).

Witchend Tue 17-Oct-17 13:55:07

For long questions underline important information.
Show her how to check the answers using a different method-or work backwards.
First check is that the numbers and signs are all correct.

AtiaoftheJulii Tue 17-Oct-17 18:08:07

Yup, what Teen and Witchend said. Writing out really good descriptions for each stage of the working is really useful. And making sure your answer makes sense and works!

TheDonald Tue 17-Oct-17 22:34:25

This is all really useful thanks.

Teen your list is exactly what we needed.

She's losing marks on the non-calculator paper more than the others so that is a good place to start.

And yes I agree she needs to focus more on English.

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