"Hey, what did you get for your STPM Maths for your second semester?" 
"Oh, I got an A-."
"Wow, congratulations! Your grade has improved so much as compared to your first semester. Care to share some tips?" 
" Sure, it's all about presenting your answers well and knowing what the examiners are looking for." 

In this article, we will discuss how to tackle your STPM Maths paper effectively by exploring the grading scheme of this subject.

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How Do Examiners Mark Your Answers in Section A and Section B of STPM Maths T/M?

Here's a little background on the latest STPM Maths (M) and (T) exam format. Both of them have 2 sections, and they come at 60 marks (26.67% weightage).

Section A consists of 6 questions and the total mark is 45 marks. For Section B, you have to answer one long question out of two question options, and it is 15 marks.

You will find some of these common keywords in both Section A and Section B.

  1. Find/Deduce
  2. Show
  3. Determine the value
  4. Express
  5. Sketch a graph
  6. Calculate

Now, let's look at what the examiners are looking for in your answers and workings. Here are the three most commonly used codes of marking schemes for Mathematics that you can take into account when you're planning your answers.

Code Name of codeDescription
A1Accuracy markThe mark is awarded when your final answer is accurate after you've completed your working.
M1Method markThe mark is given when you show your working using a method (formula/equation). You can still get M1 even if your final answer is incorrect.
B1Working markThe mark is awarded when you show step by step and systematic workings to arrive at the final answer.

For instance, if you come across questions that are at least 3 marks, you can be sure that B1, M1 and A1 are all in there. That's what examiners will be actively looking for: your method, your working, your final correct answer.

Don't say we didn't tell you about this important tip to score well for your STPM Maths paper!

How Are You Evaluated For Your Coursework Assessments?

While studying and preparing for your central assessments every semester, you will also have to take on coursework assessments.

Besides submitting 3 written reports, you will also need to undergo 3 viva sessions (roughly 15 minutes per session) to demonstrate how well you have understood the questions that were asked for your coursework projects each semester.

Students will be graded by their subject teacher according to the following assessment criteria that have been set by MPM.

First, Second and Third Assignment Report [40%]

a)Introduction [Maximum 4 marks]

  • Provides sufficient description of the given problem. [ 3 − 4 marks]
  • Provides limited description of the given problem. [1 − 2 marks]

b)Methodology [Maximum 8 marks]

  • Uses correct mathematical methods to address the given problem. [7 − 8 marks]
  • Uses some correct mathematical methods to address the given problem. [5 − 6 marks]
  • Uses limited correct mathematical methods to address the given problem. [3 − 4 marks]
  • Uses inappropriate mathematical methods to address the given problem. [1 − 2 marks]

c)Results [Maximum 10 marks]

  • Performs correct mathematical calculations to obtain correct results. [9 − 10 marks]
  • Performs correct mathematical calculations to obtain some results. [7 − 8 marks]
  • Performs some correct mathematical calculations to obtain some results. [5 − 6 marks]
  • Performs some correct mathematical calculations but fails to obtain results. [3 − 4 marks]
  • Performs incorrect mathematical calculations and fails to obtain results. [1 − 2 marks]

d)Conclusion [Maximum 6 marks]

  • Provides sufficient discussion of outcomes related to the given problem. [5 − 6 marks]
  • Provides some discussion of outcomes related to the given problem. [3 − 4 marks]
  • Provides incorrect discussion of outcomes related to the given problem. [1 − 2 marks]

e)Communication [Maximum 12 marks]

  • Presents mathematical information clearly using appropriate representation, terminology and notation.
    [11 − 12 marks]
  • Presents mathematical information satisfactory using appropriate representation, terminology and notation.
    [9 − 10 marks]
  • Presents mathematical information satisfactory using some appropriate representation, terminology and notation.
    [7 − 8 marks]
  • Presents mathematical information fairly using some appropriate representation, terminology and notation.
    [5 − 6 marks]
  • Presents mathematical information fairly using inappropriate representation, terminology and notation.
    [3 − 4 marks]
  • Presents mathematical information poorly using inappropriate representation, terminology and notation.
    [1 − 2 marks]
viva stpm maths
Brush up your report writing and presentation skills for your STPM Maths coursework. Photo by Felicity Tai from Pexels

Viva based on First, Second and Third Assignment Report [20%]

a) Understanding of Assignment [Maximum 14 marks]

  • Provides complete, correct explanations and critical discussions using appropriate terminology [13 −14 marks]
  • Provides complete and correct explanations using appropriate terminology [11 − 12 marks]
  • Provides some correct explanations using appropriate terminology [9 − 10 marks]
  • Provides some correct explanations using some appropriate terminology [7 − 8 marks]
  • Provides few correct explanations using some appropriate terminology [5 − 6 marks]
  • Provides few correct explanations using inappropriate terminology [ 3 − 4 marks]
  • Provides incorrect explanations using inappropriate terminology [ 1 − 2 marks]

b) Communication [Maximum 6 marks]

  • Presents explanations clearly and effectively [ 5 − 6 marks]
  • Presents explanations 6 satisfactorily [ 3 − 4 marks]
  • Presents explanations ambiguously or inconsistently [1 − 2 marks]

What Are Some Things That Will Cause You To Lose Marks When You're Listing Your Answers?

Every year, the Majlis Peperiksaan Malaysia (MPM) will release a report on the overall performance of the candidates and analyse how did they fare in each individual question. These reports are available to be downloaded at the MPM website where students and teachers can discover which questions have a higher correct/ mistake rate. Most importantly, they can also read in detail about the reasons which cause examiners to penalise students when they are marking the papers.

Here are 3 of the most common reasons why students tend to fare poorly when they're answering the questions.

a) Carelessness in simple computations, symbols, signs, conversion/reading the values 

Nothing beats the frustration of missing a full mark by a "small error" or a "close" answer. According to the report, there are candidates that came out with the wrong answer because some of them gave their answers in less than three decimal places, or missed out on the “≈” symbol when they are presenting their working or were even confused between positive and negative signs during calculation.

b) Lack of sufficient and systematic steps in your working 

Another way how students usually lose marks is their tendency to skip important workings (especially when you need to prove/show the method) to arrive at the final answer of the question. Remember to include the STPM Maths formulas that you have learnt. It's important to plan your answers systematically so that you don't miss out on the right steps to determine your final answer, especially when it comes to questions with higher mark allocation.

Remember what we've discussed earlier about M1, A1 and B1? Every single mark counts!

maths questions stpm exam
Don't miss out on every step of your working till you get your final answer.
Photo by Monstera from Pexels

c) Usage of wrong concepts and formulas from the start

We couldn't emphasise more on how crucial it is to read and understand the questions clearly before answering. Having the wrong idea about the question will cause you to use the wrong method/equations and miss out on the right answer.

Some of the comments given in the report mentioned that a strong foundation in the Mathematics concepts is significant to help students to understand the requirement of the questions and solve the questions correctly.

You can improve your core knowledge of the STPM Maths syllabus by practising with various past year papers and questions.

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” - Dr. Seuss.

Why You Should Take Advantage of The Semester System For Your Form Six Studies?

It's been 10 years since the Ministry of Education introduced the semester system for STPM. Now, let's look at how you can benefit as a Form 6 student while studying for your STPM Maths paper.

a) You can focus on specific topics for different semesters 

The previous STPM system is similar to what you have gone through in SPM, where you will be tested on all the chapters you have learnt in two years in one go, which can be quite stressful. By breaking down the whole syllabus into three semesters, you get to dedicate more time to study various topics in detail.

For instance, you will be tested on 6 chapters at the end of each semetesr, instead of the entire 18 chapters at the end of your Form 6 studies.

b) The rare opportunity of second chances 

Next, one of the greatest advantages of this new system is certainly the opportunity to improve your CGPA when you choose to resit your paper after your first round of tests.

Let's say you've received a B+ for your STPM Maths semester 1, you can choose to resit during the second semester and if your grade has improved to A, for instance, the higher grade will be taken into account for your final CGPA.

Having said that, when you have decided to resit for your previous semester's paper while studying for your current semester, you might need some guidance to have a solid revision plan.

We have a perfect solution! A reliable and experienced STPM Maths tutor from Superprof!

A Maths tutor can help you to personalise your learning experience by effectively teaching you the right techniques to understand and answer various questions about the topics in the past semester.

You will get a good mixture of sample question exercises, refresher classes on topics that you need to revise again and also direct feedback on your current progress.

study stpm maths exam
Having a Maths tutor will help you to plan your revision more effectively throughout the semesters.
Photo by MART PRODUCTION from Pexels

Why Superprof?

Our selection of Maths tutors offers amazing and professional Maths lessons from various locations in Malaysia. You can easily choose to have a home tutoring session or 100% online Maths tutoring.

It is super flexible and convenient. Do you know that around 80% of the private teachers on Superprof give Maths classes online and most of them make their first lessons free!  Not only that, our Maths tutors provide an affordable hourly rate for their services (you can even take lessons from RM10/hour)! This is a dream come true for every student!

All you need to do now is head to the Superprof website and start browsing the tutors' profiles and connect with a tutor based on your personal preferences. Learning has never been this easy!

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An avid reader and writer, Joycelyn loves the art of communication and is passionate about all kinds of media.