Who says Mathematics is the most difficult subject?

NOT ME, positive!

Math is used in everyday life. Even when you are playing games, you’ll do math. Don't believe me? Check this out. 

When you play Mobile Legend at night with your friends, you told them to start at 10pm. Then you told them to rank up fast because you have a personal tuition class at 9am. Perhaps you can only play for 3 hours max to at least have 8 hours optimum sleep.

Let me help you break this into a mathematical question that might come out in your examination.

To win a Mobile Legend game, it will take a minimum of X minutes to win. But it can be dragged up to Y minutes per game depending on the teammates too. You only have 3 hours to rank up as much as you can because you need to have 8 hours of optimum sleep before your class starts at 9am. 

You easily won 4 times in the game with only X minutes per game and suffered 5 losses with Y minutes per game. At what time do you start playing mobile legend and what is X and Y? [ Give two most logical answers]

Are you surprised as to how this type of question can be derived from the simple normal things you do every day?

Don't be shocked. This is how 60% of your SPM Mathematics questions are going to look like. 60% indirect questions which we call HOTs Questions. 

Try to think of how you are going to answer that question which I will help you decode in the next chapter of the article. I can say the question is easy to answer with a simple mathematics equation. 

I will guide you more as you read on. You can also read more on SPM Mathematics 2021 Format

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What are Rule of Thumbs to Score SPM Mathematics Paper 2?

Mathematics allows you to easily spot in which area you are weak. First, you can look up the content of your mathematics textbook from form 3, 4 and 5. 

Why the need to start from form 3 when you have been assessed in PT3 Assessment?

Well, you should know that Mathematics is one huge and broad subject. What you have learnt in your primary school is the basics of ‘counting’. You learn the same topics all over again every year but with increasing complexity. Meanwhile, in your lower secondary, you have started to learn a basic mathematical equation that allows you to do higher levels of math. 

When I saw the changes made to the mathematics curriculum, I was surprised at how they shuffled and mixed up the topics across levels with an addition of a bit of finance in Mathematics – which I found is a good addition to teach the millennial kids. 

Tick beside the topics based on how you rate your understanding. Give a rating from 0-5. 0 rate is the lowest understanding and 5 is outstanding. 

From here, you can do more practice on the weaker topics. 

Next, you must understand the paper you are sitting for. Remember, most mathematical questions are almost the same each year. However, you should bear in mind, year 2021 is the first year for the format to be implemented and some topics are different from previous years’ topics. However, you should take a look at SPM Mathematics Past Year paper as I believe the majority of the questions will remain the same or you can also do some model question paper. 

How to Answer SPM Mathematics Section 2?

SPM students cramming their notes at early hours
SPM candidates could be seen revising on their notes at the break of dawn before school starts. (Source: NST)

The first thing on answering paper 2 is to know the format. Paper 2 is divided into 3 parts with a duration of 150 minutes. 

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

Secondly, mastery in the mathematical formula is a MUST! It is not necessary for you to memorize all the formulas. What’s important is the understanding. You should know which formula is given during the examination. 

Thirdly, remember to bring a geometrical set and non-programmed scientific calculator. 

Once you’ve sorted this out, you are good to go. You should also get to know the latest Marking Scheme of SPM Mathematics.

How to Answer HOTS Questions in SPM Mathematics Paper 2?

A girl writing a mathematical formula on an orange
Understanding the basic formula of mathematics is the key to answering HOTs questions. (Source: Pexels)

There are two types of questions in SPM – Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTs) and the normal question format. In any of the examinations, the marks given are the hint on how you should create your answer. 

Don't worry as Superprof has also helped you on the SPM Mathematics 2021 Marking Scheme. 

Answering the normal question is easy as the question is direct. 

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Choose the best way to answer

Meanwhile, for the HOTs questions, I wouldn't say it is hard, but it is tricky instead. A full understanding in Math is required to be able to answer HOTs type of questions. 

  1. Identify the problem/s
  2. Find the variable/s
  3. Make your own equation/s
  4. Choose the best way to answer
  5. Give explanation/s (If any)

Do you remember the first question I gave you earlier in the article? 

Let me show you how to get the answer right. First you need to identify the problem/s. 

  • The starting time  
  • What is X and Y?

Next, you should find all the variables available. In this case, the variables are the following. 

X = minimum time

Y = maximum time

Available time = 3 hours

Sleeping time = 8 hours

Class time = 9 am

Won easily (minimum) = 5 times

Suffered (maximum) = 4 times

Once you have all the variables, you should do a mathematical equation. 

  • The starting time  

Class starts at 9am, you need 8 hours of sleep and you play for 3 hours. The possible equations should be: 

0900 hours – 8 hours – 3 hours = 2200 hours

So, the starting time is at 10 pm.

  • What is X and Y?

From here you must have known you are going to do a linear equation. My most favourite topic. There are several ways to find X and Y. Choose the one that you are confident to do. 

4x +5y = 180 (3 hoursx60 minute)

In this case, you know x is minimum, y is maximum. Logically, x should be a lower number compared to y. 

You can do the substitution method. However, bear in mind it should be a logical answer. 

So, I’ll start to put 10 minutes as the most logical time for winning an easy game. 

X = 10 minute

4 (10) + 5y = 180

40 + 4y = 180

4y = 180 – 60

y = (180 – 60) / 4

y = 30 

I’ll repeat the same equation with all possible numbers of X shown in the table below. 

X10152025
Y30242016

Now you need to explain your answer. 

The logical times for X’s are 10 minutes and 15 minutes to win an easy game. Meanwhile for Y’s are 30 minutes and 24 minutes for the harder games respectively. 

If I choose more than 15 minutes for the easy game, the difference for hard games are not much apparent and if it’s more than 20 minutes, the harder game will have a shorter timing to play which is not logical. 

Sounds hard? Naaah. Mathematics is easy. When you know your way, you can easily be guided through any obstacle. Believe me. 

What are SPM 2021 Mathematic Paper 2 Answering Tips?

A student doing mathematics exercise
Success is built from a lot of practice and fixing one’s mistakes. (Source: Pexels)

There are several tips to remember when answering your SPM mathematics paper. 

Understand the question and answer accordingly

Do not be overconfident. Some students are too confident and just write any equation they know without the full understanding of the question. Remember to follow the steps to answer math questions.

Do not forget to emphasize the answer

There are 2 ways to emphasize your answer which is by double line the final answer or give a hashtag to it. 

Give explanation whenever is needed

Some questions require you to write an explanation. So, please read the questions properly and underline all the questions you need to answer. Diligently check the MOE website for any update on the format and examination. You can also get all the info about the format, marking scheme and past year papers by checking out the Complete Guide to SPM Mathematics 2021.

If you still have problems with your mathematics answering skills, no worries. You can ask your peers to help you out. Create a study group. This is the best way as learning from peers would be the most comfortable learning experience. However, you shouldn't do more chit chatting and gossiping instead of studying. 

Besides, if you think you are way behind your peers, do not hesitate to get help from experts. By all means, get help from your teacher. They are surely more than happy to assist you. They are the best experts you can find near you. Remember, SPM paper will be marked internally – you should start to be on your teachers’ side, be nice to them. 

Nonetheless, you can also contact Superprof mathematics experts. Superprof tutors have an excellent track of experiences and reviews at providing guidance to students for over a decade! 

Remember, math is easy, you just need to know how to tackle each question right. You can also write a comment below for any questions you’d like me to solve. I love challenges. 

“Challenge yourself everyday to do better and be better. Remember, growth starts with a decision to move beyond your present circumstances.” 

-Robert Tew

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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 ^^