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Tips to Survive Grade 12 Advanced Functions

By Ishleen Sudan

Math is consistently viewed as one of the hardest courses one can take in high school. Couple that with Grade 12 mathematics, with a course name that has ‘Advanced’ in the front, and the situation becomes increasingly terrifying. Fortunately for you, there are a number of ways you can make your math career a little bit easier, and ensure success:

1. Do your homework regularly, but only as much as you need to.

Homework is helpful for every course, but especially math. Understanding the theory is only half the battle - being able to apply your knowledge is what will get you the answers. That being said, however, blindly marking off every homework question probably won’t get you anywhere either. Sometimes, math homework questions are repetitive, and, if you understand the concept well enough, pointless. Know your strengths, and if you need serious practice on a certain lesson, make sure to do every question assigned (and extra ones, if you need to). However, if you’re short on time, low on sleep, but abundant in understanding, skipping a couple of questions will benefit you in the end.

2. Note down harder homework questions and lessons.

Alas, it is one of the difficult truths of life ー you won’t have time do every question assigned the day before the test. In the days leading up to the test, however, make a note of which questions challenged your thinking, or that you had trouble with. In addition, star the lessons you spent a little bit more time trying to understand. While revising lessons, make sure to thoroughly go over the concepts you struggled with. Afterwards, redo the homework questions that were a challenge. The minimum needed effort met with maximum results is the most efficient way to study for a test.

3. Make you sure you understand everything covered in the lesson by the end of class.

This means that you must pay attention in class. Remind yourself not to drone off, and if this is something you tend to have trouble with, force yourself to do all questions on the worksheet ahead of the class. As the class catches up, make sure you’re doing them the right way. Along with being unnecessarily time-consuming for you, learning at home also means you cannot ask questions to clarify concepts, leaving a fundamental gap in your initial understanding. Most of the time, you will finish the lesson halfway through class, and the rest of the time will be allotted to doing homework, so you can use this period to strengthen your understanding.

4. Your graphing calculator is your best friend.

At the beginning of the semester, you will be given a graphing calculator that can do just about anything. Along with the uses of your regular calculator, it graphs complex functions, and even solves equations (such as the quadratic formula ー all you must do is enter a, b, and c values). The latter feature saves a lot of time on tests, and graphing is an excellent resource if you need to visualize the relation, or check whether your answer makes sense in the context of the question. However, with all those buttons, graphing calculators can be immensely difficult to navigate, so ensure that you take the time to learn how they function!

5. Pretend that Thinking Tasks are of the same calibre as regular old tests.

Thinking tasks have an unfair reputation for being impenetrable. The truth is, just

because you haven’t seen certain types of questions before, doesn’t mean you are incapable of solving them. If you remove the stigma around Thinking tasks, and have sufficiently reviewed the content at hand, a perfect score is within your reach. Given that the test is usually the day prior to Thinking tasks, you are already familiar with the content, so if you look over class notes a few hours beforehand, you should have no trouble with the assessment. Studying more than needed will not alleviate your anxiety! However, this may not be the right step for everyone, so figure out what works best for you! The culminating task for this course is three days of Thinking tasks, so the sooner you overcome the daunting nature of these evaluations, the better. Remember, we all know how to think ー don’t let the stress of the moment make you forget it.

By adhering to this advice, and keeping your style of learning in mind, you will excel in the Advanced Functions course. Good luck!

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