Why Sec 3 Students Struggle With A Maths At the Start

At the end of secondary two, students have to make the choice of their subject combination for the final two years of their secondary school life. Among the many new subjects available for taking, A Math or Additional Mathematics continues to enjoy a high take up rate. Owing to its close association with the popular triple science curriculum, the subject is often chosen for students looking to improve their mathematics subject knowledge and to prepare themselves for tertiary education. 

While A Math enjoys a high demand rate from students, it does stir fear and frustration amongst students by the end of their secondary three year. So what happened between the optimism expressed prior to the commencement of lessons and at the end where exams are arriving at their door step? The answer lies in both difficulty of the syllabus as well as the lack of specialized attention that students need in order for them to master this subject. In this article, we cover the challenges that secondary three students face when first picking up Additional Mathematics in order to give parents a better understanding of the challenge their children is attempting to overcome. 

For starters, a huge leap occurs from the general mathematics subject that secondary two students take and that of the first few chapters of Additional Mathematics. Where a student does not possess a strong foundation and understanding of algebra, they are liable to quickly fall behind in the opening chapters of this advance subject. Moreover, math grades in secondary two are not always a good proxy gauge for a students’ ability in A Math. The amount of logical thought process and complexity of new theorems are capable of rocking even the likes of star math students. 

Secondly, intermediate and later chapters in A Math are built upon the understanding of earlier topics. For example, it would be near impossible for students to answer binomial theorem questions without first having confidence in their algebra. Unfortunately, due to time constraints of the semester, lessons arrive at a fast and furious pace, ruthlessly rushing students through the early chapters. Subsequently, students fall behind the syllabus without even realizing it until they arrive at a later chapter that requires mastery of a prior topic. At which point, their uncertainty over their fundamentals leaves them vulnerable to self-doubt and a sense of hopelessness as they valiantly attempt advance topic questions. 

If you have a child who is thinking of taking Additional Mathematics in the coming year, it would be highly beneficial for you to plan ahead. Engaging a sec 3 A math tuition center to help him or her to keep pace with the curriculum is one way of giving him or her the resources needed for success. This is especially so for schools which lack the resources needed to dedicate time and personal coaching efforts to your child. 

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