# Pass your VCE Mathematical Methods Units 3 & 4 with flying colours

You aspire to get high marks in your VCE Mathematical Methods Units 3 & 4, which is getting a score of forty or above. It isn’t going to be easy but with dedication, hard work and adequate practice you’ll get a boost for your ATAR and who knows, may find your name on the VCAA website. Here are some tips that will help you get there.

## The exam structure

The VCE Mathematical Methods Units 3 & 4 test aims to assess the students’ ability in the following areas: Algebra, calculus, trigonometry, functions and probability. The examination has two papers; the first paper tests the learner’s reasoning capacity and arithmetic abilities. Paper two focuses on analytical skills, it’s more complex and students are allowed to use their calculators. This information is necessary for learners as it helps them to know what they are preparing for.

## Get familiar with the examination language

One may assume that students are well acquainted with the language used in tests, but surprisingly only a handful really understands. This leads to students failing questions that are easy. It’s important to equip yourself with the mathematical vocabulary so that you can understand what is being asked. For example, probability questions can be worded in a way that requires thinking outside the box. Without understanding this and having the necessary skills; you may find yourself answering a question and confidently walk out of the exam room thinking you have scored the full mark. Then, when the results come out, you’re surprised that you failed. This can be avoided by familiarizing yourself with the language.

## Be proficient in algebra

In some places, algebra is taken as a subject on its own; indicating the seriousness this area should be accorded. A considerable portion of the math curriculum in different levels is devoted to this topic. Despite such emphasis, poor algebraic skills still continue to be one of the main reasons why most students struggle to answer questions in their VCE Mathematical Methods Units 3 & 4. Having a strong foundation in this area will not only help you tackle most of the problems in VCE Mathematical Methods Units 3 & 4, it will also contribute to a better understanding of other topics such as calculus. To develop proficiency you need to understand the skill and know how it works. You also need to practice until you achieve fluency and finally apply algebraic techniques by attempting as many questions as possible. The process may not be easy, but there are no two ways about it. Once you achieve the proficiency, your journey to better grades in the subject will be unstoppable.

## Know how to use the calculator

In paper two, you’ll be allowed to use a calculator. With the advancement of technology, a calculator is now not just a basic tool, it has advanced functions too. It’s no longer just a small gadget with numbers, a few functions and an LCD display. There is more to them and the functions that you’ll use for the analytical part of your exams may be complex. Take time to learn these functions, go ahead and practice. While you’re doing this don’t forget that these gadgets can never be a substitute for content knowledge. You may get the answer yes but that’s not all. You’ll also need to use it to analyze the question or solve the problem.

Getting top grades in your VCE Mathematical Methods Units 3 & 4 may not be an easy feat, but when you have your eyes fixed on the prize, it’ll be easier than you can imagine.