A tutor’s tips to mastering Year 12 Extension 1 Maths

15 Mar 2022

By Evan Jones 4 min read

With the help of Accel iQ tutor Winnie Fong, we’re providing some inside tips on how maths tuition students can set themselves up for success in Year 12 Extension 1 Maths.

A strong grounding in Year 12 Maths can set students up for future success. Many university STEM courses list Maths subject prerequisites, meaning that students looking to further study in courses like Engineering and Science need to have completed subjects like Maths Extension 1 or Maths Advanced in high school. Even those courses that don’t demand prerequisites can still assume a certain level of Maths competency, meaning that putting in the effort during HSC tuition can reap rewards at the tertiary level.

With that in mind, we’re turning our focus to Year 12 Extension 1 Maths. With the experienced Maths tuition insight of Accel iQ tutor Winnie Fong, we’re taking a look at some of the best ways to get ahead in Extension 1 Maths and prepare for HSC success.

With maths, you honestly have to study every single topic going in because they will test you on everything.”
Winnie Fong, Accel iQ Tutor

Students always have trouble with this topic

Winnie says there’s one Extension 1 Maths topic that always seems to trip students up: Permutations and Combinations.

“The variety of questions is unpredictable, that’s the reason why it’s hard,” says Winnie. The topic involves counting the different selections from a set of objects, taking into account certain conditions. Though it’s a common area of difficulty for HSC tuition students, success in exams is really a matter of understanding how the questions are phrased and structured.

The best way you can study is by doing as many past papers and questions as you can to understand how they’re structuring those questions,” Winnie says. “What part of the question are they trying to test you in terms of the content?”

As always, putting the effort into learning the basics can help in a jam. “What part of the question is new this time, and what can I apply from what I’ve learnt?” asks Winnie. “If you think back to the fundamentals that you’ve learnt before going into it, it’s a harder version of the same context, right?”

Which areas students should focus on 

Although Permutations and Combinations is a tricky topic, Winnie says that to succeed in Extension 1 Maths, HSC tuition students need to be a jack-of-all-trades.

“With maths, you honestly have to study every single topic going in because they will test you on everything,” says Winnie. “It’s not like English where if you study this one particular topic there’s a higher chance they’ll test you on it, because it’s more testable compared to other topics. If they teach you 12 topics, all of them are most likely to be tested.”

How to approach revising a whole subject

So now we know there’s no shortcut to Extension 1 Maths success – everything is going to come up on the exam one way or another. So how should maths tuition students approach such broad revision?

“Always break it down to smaller bits to study for it before trying to complete an exam under three hours,” Winnie says. Try to practise questions on those topics on a day-to-day basis, and then on the weekend you can actually do a paper on the entire topic so you don’t get overwhelmed.”

Studying for exams under exam conditions – silence, time limits and without reference materials – is a great way to practice. Particularly when exams are in sight, it’s a great way to feel comfortable applying knowledge under pressure. 

“Practising under exam conditions helps you improve your speed in terms of going through every question,” says Winnie.

HSC tuition resources for getting ahead 

A great first step in Extension 1 Maths, says Winnie, success is leaning on the experience and resources of past students. “Ask past students for their resources. Usually they get five extra practice books and you can just buy it off them, or find practice questions from other textbooks.”

Otherwise, seeking out a reputable Maths tuition program can be a genuinely helpful way to drill down into those difficult topics. “I think tutors help you identify your area of weaknesses rather than just going through the generic content that your school does,” says Winnie. It will help you strengthen where you’re weak with your fundamental skill set. That’s quite important moving forward into harder topics.”

Interested in our Physics, Chemistry and Maths tuition programs? Get in touch with our team today to learn more about how HSC tuition can help set students up for success.