Why students struggle with Maths Methods

Some students struggle with year 11 Maths Methods because the jump from year 10 Maths to Maths Methods is huge.

The Maths is Harder and There’s More Of It

The Maths is harder, there is more of it and there’s way more homework to do. Those things make adjusting to Maths Methods challenging early on. Even though the first couple of topics are relatively easy compared to later ones…the amount of work to get through is still a lot.

If you have a good teacher they’ll set homework right from the first lesson…to get you used to the amount you’re going to have to do to get through the course. Some students get caught out by not doing enough homework and end up falling behind very quickly.

New Topics and New Concepts

Also there are new topics to learn and within each topic there are many new concepts to learn, understand and apply…this is challenging too. It takes a while to get used to the new types of questions and the ways of solving them. It takes even longer to get used to the difficulty of the harder questions.

If you have a good teacher they will go over the harder homework questions that students got stuck on. If your teacher doesn’t do that then you have to get help in extra classes at lunchtimes or after school…many students end up getting a tutor.

The Jump to Year 12 Maths Methods

The struggle for most students is in keeping up with the set work and not falling behind. It’s hard to keep up with the class when you don’t understand the Maths…and it’s so easy to fall behind when this happens.

It’s also not easy juggling 5 subjects and the homework requirements of each…and falling behind can happen very quickly when the topics and questions within them become harder.

A More Advanced Version of Year 11 Methods

Students already know that Methods is going to be harder than year 11 and will require time to do the homework they’re going to get.

But it’s more intense, in-depth and requires a higher level of thinking because the textbook questions are harder in year 12 and take more time to do.

They learn more difficult concepts and sub topics within main topics. A lot of the questions are just harder versions of questions that were done in year 11.

The Challenge of Studying for SAC’s

Add SAC’s into the mix and the time that students sacrifice to study for them and you can see how easy it is for them to fall behind. SAC’s are challenging and quite stressful for students.

Maths Methods is a lot harder than when I did year 12 Maths because of the SAC’s…all we had to worry about was one final exam for each subject…that wasn’t easy but it could be done with very early preparation.

There were no SAC’s so it was relatively easy to keep on track with the work and not have to worry about giving up time to study for assessments like students today.

Other Factors

Not Enough Foundation Skills In Year 10

Year 11 Methods students need to have certain Maths skills to succeed. If you get really good in these areas you’ll remember how to do them in year 11.

• Basic Fraction & Decimal skills

• Algebra
– working with algebraic terms
– index laws
– expanding and factorising
– algebraic fractions

• Real Numbers
– irrational and rational numbers
– operations with surds
– fractional indices

• Linear Relations
– solving linear equations
– solving linear inequations
– sketching linear graphs
– finding rule of linear graphs
– parallel and perpendicular lines
– solving simultaneous equations graphically and algebraically

• Non Linear relationships
– quadratics
– solving quadratic equations
– sketching quadratics

• Trigonometry & Pythagoras
– finding lengths
– finding angles
– applications

Not Enough Homework In Year 11

Some students struggle with Year 12 Methods because they didn’t do enough of the harder questions in year 11…maybe they just didn’t put in enough time to do them.

Maybe their teacher didn’t set them enough harder questions to do…this I have found with some of my students…their teachers don’t set enough questions for them to do…when I find this happening I set my students those extra question so they can be better prepared for tests and exams.

It’s really important for year 11 students to be challenged with the harder questions…so they can develop their thinking skills. Maths Methods requires thinking skills to solve questions and without them it’s very difficult to get through the course.


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