Mathematics has always been the core subject in learning, even from centuries ago. The importance of Math is enormous. Math revolves around us, from our daily routine to living in everyday life -  food, money, time, etc. 

Mathematics for SPM syllabus hasn't changed much since decades ago. However, the intensity and level of the questions has been drastically increased.  

How so? 

Years ago, the questions were direct. 1+1=2. Today it wasn't like that anymore. 

Instead of being direct, the question will be like this.

Mom went to the market to buy an apple and a fish. How many items did mom buy at the market?

Well, the equation will still be 1+1 but to those who cannot understand the lengthy question,  it's going to be harder in the context of the need to understand the real question. Which, in my opinion as an educator, the deeper understanding in the question is where the student is lacking. 

As we go on, you will understand more on how the latest examination format is better than the previous format. 

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What is The History of SPM Mathematics Format?

Since 1989, the national secondary schools in Malaysia applied the Malaysian Integrated Curriculum for Secondary Schools (Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Menengah or KBSM) before shifting to Standard Curriculum for Secondary Schools (Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Menengah or KSSM) in 2017.

Meanwhile, schools have an option to choose whether to teach in Malay or English for mathematics and sciences subjects in the Dual Language Programme (DLP). This programme has been introduced in 2018 by the Ministry of Education (MOE).

The aim of the programme is to be consistent in maintaining a high level of proficiency in English language by exposing them to science and mathematics subjects. Besides, this is to enable higher market value for students in the real world. 

Recently, MOE has been introducing the new SPM format for form 4 students in 2020. Whereby, they will first experience the new format in SPM 2021. This format has been aligned with the introduction to STEM Package (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as the other three electives categories: languages, Islamic studies and humanities and art. 

What are the Latest Changes to SPM Mathematics Paper Format 2021?

a group of students studying
SPM Math question will integrate HOTs questions to challenge the student’s assessment and problem solving skills. (Source: NST)

The shifting from KBSM and KSSM is more on the introduction of school-based assessment (Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah, PBS). This is the integration between examinations and all-year-round assessments on students. The effort has been made to let the students continuously learn instead of having an exam-oriented mindset. 

There are 2 papers in the Mathematics SPM examination. There aren't many changes made in Paper 1. However, there are 3 sections in the latest format instead of 2 sections in Paper 2.  Look at the differences and similarities below.

 Paper 1Paper 1Paper 2Paper 2
Old FormatNew FormatOld FormatNew Format
Duration75 minutes90 minutes150 minutes150 minutes
Number of Questions40 Questions
(Answer all questions)
40 Questions
(Answer all questions)
Section A
• 11 Questions
• Answer all questions
• 52 marks
Section B
• 5 questions
• Answer 4 over 5 questions
• 48 marks
Section A
• 10 Questions
• Answer all questions
• 40 marks
Section B
• 5 questions
• Answer all questions
• 45 marks
Section C
• 2 questions
• Answer 1 Question
• 15 marks

Here is the latest SPM Instrument’s Format 2021.

SPM Instrument’s Format 2021

Matematik (Mathematics, 1449)

 Paper 1 (1449/1)Paper 2 (1449/2)
Instrument TypeWritten TestWritten Test
Item TypeObjective• Subjective with limited response
• Subjective (Structural)
Number of Questions40 Questions (Answer all questions) Section A
• 10 Questions
• Answer all questions
• 40 marks
Section B
• 5 questions
• Answer all questions
• 45 marks
Section C
• 2 questions
• Answer 1 Question
• 15 marks
Total Marks 40 marks100 marks
Construct• Memorization and Understanding
• Application
• Analysis
• Memorization and Understanding
• Application
• Analysis
• Evaluating
• Creating
Duration90 minutes150 minutes
Intensity Level 5 : 3: 2
(Low: Medium: High)
5 : 3: 2
(Low: Medium: High)
Scoring MethodDichotomousAnalytical
Extra toolsNon-Programme Scientific Calculator• Non-Programme Scientific Calculator
• Geometrical Set

You are now able to download the latest Past Year Mathematic SPM Questions too.

How to Answer HOTS Question in the latest SPM Mathematic Format?

spm-student-high-school-secondary
HOTs questions requires you to think outside of the box. (Source: Bernama)

These days, the world seems to get easier and accessible than before. However, behind every scene, there are much more complicated things going on. 

You should know computers are pretty much easing the way of human life, right?But do you know, behind every new invention of technologies such as computers, there is much more complex coding and engineering that exists to function as helpers for human beings. 

Thus, students need to be prepared for the evolving world that has become much more complex day by day. The changes happened rapidly. Thinking skills need to be improved as it can give a good impact to enhance their potential in learning. HOTS will allow students to have the opportunity to present their thoughts in solving problems or any cases discussed. 

I know HOTS questions are the students' worst enemy.

HOTS has built a reputation of being the most feared type of questions among students sitting for SPM. There will be 50% of HOTS questions in your SPM Examination. 

In 1994, HOTS questions were known as Kemahiran Berfikir Secara Kritis & Kreatif, KBKK (Critical and Creative Thinking Skills). With the changes made to the curriculum, they have introduced the HOTS (Kemahiran Berfikir Aras Tinggi, KBAT) questions which is a level up from KBKK questions.

H= Higher 

O= Order

T= Thinking 

S= Skills

The HOTS questions are written specifically to help students improve their thinking skills by exposing them to the higher level of questions tested in the SPM Examination. 

HOTS questions aligned with the aims of the new KSSM curriculum to achieve the following skills: Analysing, Evaluating, Applying and Creating

Here are the differences between KBKK and HOTS questions.

KBKKHOTS
• Focusing on lower to higher level of thinking
• Students are able to make reflexion
• Focused on the curriculum and its pedagogy
• A level up from KBKK
• Focus on high level of thinking skills in application, analysis, evaluating and creating
• The students are involved in the application of thinking skills in solving problems, innovate and able to make invention
• Variation of thinking skill levels from lowest to the highest
• Emphasize on curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, support and resources.

Get to know the latest Marking Scheme of SPM Mathematics.

What are Tips on Scoring in SPM Mathematics Latest 2021 Format? 

a girl being tutored in math
Don’t mull over a question you can’t solve forever. Get help from your tutor or peers who are experienced in the subject.(Source: Pexels)

Do you know that when it comes to Mathematics, ‘Practice’ is a must?

There is no better way to study math. What happens if you can’t even do math? 

Get to Basic Math

This is one of the best things about math. You should have realized by now, all the math topics are similar to what you’ve learnt from primary school. Each year the questions are just a level up from the previous year. 

So, when you have troubles in solving mathematical questions, you can always go back to the basics. Go back to the previous year’s syllabus or the year before too. There is no harm in spending a couple months to understand the basic math concept rather than trying hard to do complicated math questions when you can’t even understand the recent syllabus well. 

Check out more tips on answering Mathematics Paper 2 SPM Questions.

Focus and Get help!

Focus during your classes. Ask your teachers or friends to help you on solving mathematical equations. Mathematics is very easy. Once you have grasped the concept, you can solve every question accurately and fast. 

But what happens if you still can’t do math?

Enrol in extra classes or get a personal tutor. A personal tutor especially will start by evaluating your skills and will be able to design the best approach to help you with your math.  

Sometimes teachers at school are unable to evaluate each students’ behavior. Especially if you need special attention such as a student with ADHD who is unable to focus. For those with ADHD, the symptoms are not very visible compared to Dyslexia. Teachers might think the students are naughty and not interested in class. 

Let’s see the proven tips for your SPM Examination Paper that has been compiled by Superprof.

  1. Manage your time well! For paper 1, the first 20 questions are easy questions. DO NOT EXCEED 90 seconds per question. For the next 20 questions, spend at most 2 minutes for each question. 
  2. DO NOT BE OVERCONFIDENT! This is the worst mistake a student can do. I know math is easy to answer but remember, math is also easy to misunderstand that leads to simple or careless mistakes. 
  3. Thus, spend the last 20 minutes to always check your answer. 
  4. Always be aware of time. If you think you can’t answer the question within the time you’ve allocated, skip it first and come back to the questions once you've finished answering the other questions. 
  5. Memorize only the formula that is not given in the formula list in the exam. 
  6. By now you should have mastered your multiplication table!

Remember Mathematics will get perfect with PRACTICE, PRACTICE and PRACTICE. 

Moreover, Superprof has a line of qualified tutor that is available to tailor to your needs. You can choose from thousands of tutors near you! To get all the info about the format, marking scheme and past year papers, check out the Complete Guide to SPM Mathematics 2021.

It is not impossible to succeed when you make a move late. 

“It is never too late to start. It is always too late to wait”

Jeff Olson

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Alia

Alia Jamaludin is known as a passionate environmentalist and animal lover. By being both educator and writer, I can reach out my positive thought to almost every being on this planet - I hope so ^^