Good 2022 prelim to do and difficulty rating

Level 1 (Most questions are alevel standard)

  1. YIJC (Recommended)
  2. JPJC 
  3. TMJC 
  4. CJC
  5. MI

Level 2 (Harder than alevel)

  1. NYJC (Recommended)
  2. ACJC
  3. DHS
  4. TJC
  5. SAJC
  6. ASR
  7. RVHS

Level 3 (Much harder than alevel. For strong students who scored A to C in prelim)

  1. RI (Recommended)
  2. VJC (Recommended)
  3. EJC (Recommended)
  4. HCI (Recommended)
  5. NJC

Good 2021 prelim to do and difficulty rating

Level 1 (Most questions are alevel standard)

  1. TMJC (Recommended)
  2. YIJC (Recommended)
  3. JPJC (Recommended)
  4. CJC (Recommended to do P2 Q5)
  5. MI

Level 2 (Harder than alevel)

  1. EJC (Recommended)
  2. RVHS Stats (Recommended)
  3. ASR (Recommended)
  4. SAJC

Level 3 (Much harder than alevel. For strong students who scored A to C in prelim)

  1. NYJC (Recommended)
  2. NJC (Recommended)
  3. RI (Recommended)
  4. ACJC (Recommended)
  5. VJC (Recommended)
  6. TJC (Recommended to do P1 Q1, 10, 11 and P2 Q9)
  7. HCI (Recommended to do P1 Q7, 10 and P2 Q1, 2b, 4, 6, 7)
  8. DHS (Recommended to do P1 Q11 and P2 Q4b, 8)

Good 2020 prelim to do and difficulty rating

Level 1 (Similar to 2019 and 2020 alevel standard)

  1. YIJC (Recommended)
  2. JPJC stats (Recommended)
  3. MI
  4. TMJC
  5. CJC

Level 2 (Harder than 2019 and 2020 alevel, similar to 2018 alevel standard)

  1. EJC (Recommended)
  2. DHS
  3. RI
  4. RVHS

Level 2+ (Questions similar to alevel style but harder)

  1. NYJC (Recommended)
  2. NJC
  3. SAJC

Level 2++

  1. ACJC (Recommended, many good contextual questions)
  2. HCI stats (Recommended)
  3. TJC P1 (Recommended)
  4. VJC Pure maths (Recommended)
  5. ASR stats (Recommended)

Value added by tuition: A better way to gauge

As alevel is easier than school internal exams, students often improve by 2 to 3 grades from their prelim results even without tuition.

So how to better gauge the value-added by tuition? Using percentile improvement is one way.

Below are some illustrations based on my students’ 2019 alevel results:

1. Student scored 16 percentile in school internal exams before joining tuition. Her school distinction rate in 2018 is 68%. So to be on track for distinction, she has to improve to at least 32 percentile to get A in alevel Student got A in alevel. So there is value add of at least 16 percentile.
2. Student scored S grade in J2 MYE before joining tuition. S grade is around 20 percentile in her school. Her school distinction rate in 2019 is 65.5%. So to get A, she must have improved to at least 34.5 percentile. Student got A in alevel. So there is value add of at least 14 percentile.

Percentile improvement is not easy to achieve. Imagine running the alevel marathon, one has to overtake more than 16% of people along the journey to get A.

H1 or H2 maths?

If the student struggle with amaths despite working hard, it is better to take H1 maths. This is because if the student cannot cope with amaths, they will not be able to cope with the much harder h2 maths.

If the student has not taken amaths before, the student can attempt the important amaths topics” Differentiation, integration, trigo, logarithm, surds, indices” and see whether they can cope with it. If they think they can handle h2 maths, be prepared to work twice as hard if they want to take h2 maths.

Students who did not do well in amaths, is still possible to do well in H2 maths.

Good 2019 prelim to do

After their school prelim exams, students should do 2017 and 2018 alevel. Then attempt the following 2019 prelim to prepare for alevel.

Good papers to do post prelim

  1. JPJC
  2. YIJC
  3. TMJC
  4. MI
  5. CJC
  6. EJC
  7. RI
  8. TJC P1

Good questions to do post prelim

  1. HCI P1: 4,9,10,11,12
  2. HCI P2: 1, 2,3,5,7,8,10
  3. ACJC P1: 3,6,7,8,12
  4. ACJC P2: 3
  5. ASRJC P1: 6,7,9
  6. DHS P1: 5a, 10c,11,12
  7. DHS P2: 7, 10
  8. NJC P2: 3
  9. NYJC P1: 12
  10. NYJC P2: 2,3,4,5,6,7,9
  11. SAJC P1: 1,2,9ii,10
  12. SAJC P2: 1,3,4,8
  13. VJC P1: 9
  14. VJC P2: 8,10

Students can get the papers from their school.

How to prepare for H2 maths from 2019 onwards

Many students commented that 2018 alevel is very difficult. There are many non-routine questions that require students to think on their feet.

Trends from 2017 and 2018 alevel:

  1. Solving in terms of a and b. Students need to know how to generalize a solution when the question is not given numbers. Need to know how to sketch graph in terms of a and b.
  2. Solve inequality involving modulus in exact form.
  3. Secondary school syllabus like remainder theorem appear in N2017. R-formula appear in specimen paper.
  4. Using integration techniques to solve questions outside h2 maths syllabus: such as evaluate arc length given the formula. This is actually Further Maths.
  5. Applications of 1st order Differential equation: Motion with resistance proportional to velocity came out in N2017.
  6. Applications of 2nd order Differential equation: Electric circuits came out in N2018. This is again Further Maths. That’s why further maths students have advantage in 2018 alevel.
  7. A differentiation question is actually disguised as a Differential Equation. 2018 P1 Q10.
  8. A lot of algebra manipulation. So students need to strengthen their algebra manipulation skills.
  9. Application questions are packaged. More wordings. Students need to understand what concept the question is testing. Peel away the outer layer of packaging and is the same as the old syllabus 9740.

Recommended Learning to familiarize

  1. Applications of integration such as arc length, surface area of revolution and centroid.
  2. Applications of 1st order DE such as motion, population growth, orthogonal trajectories, mixture problems, Torricelli’s Law, Newton’s Law of cooling.
  3. Applications of 2nd order DE such as vibrating springs and electric circuits
  4. Odd/even functions, floor/ceiling functions

Drilling ten year series is no longer enough to get A in alevel. Students need to think on their feet to solve non-routine questions. To train their problem solving skills, students should train to solve non-routine questions. If they are stuck on a problem, do not look at the solution immediately. Sleep over it. Let the subconscious work on it. Give yourself two days to solve a problem. After that, if still stuck, can glance at the solution for hints. Once understand how to do, close the solution and solve the question. And then try a similar problem. Problem solving skills and speed will improve and eventually students can solve non-routine questions in exams.

Don’t have to worry about the paper getting more difficult. The grade boundaries for A will be lowered accordingly. Easy paper requires 75 to 80 to get A. In 2018, the grade required to get A is lowered to around 72. % of students getting A remains the same about 1 in 2. To get A, students need to make sure they are in the better half of the whole cohort taking the national exams.

A good way to predict grades is percentile. For example, since about 68% of VJC students get A in alevel, if a VJC student get above 32 percentile in major school exams, that student is on track for alevel distinction. So if student is below that “A percentile”, work hard and/or get a tutor to improve to be on track for alevel distinction.

Challenging Alevel questions

These are the more challenging alevel questions mentioned in the examiner’s report:

2021 P1: 4bii, 6c, 11

2021 P2: 2, 3b ii, 5c, 7b, 8c, 10e, 11

2020 P1: 4ii, 5, 9i, 10, 11

2020 P3: 3ii, 4iii b, 8ii, 9iv

2019 P1: 8b, 8c, 9, 10 iv,

2019 P2: 1 iii, 2i, 6i, 6ii, 7v, 8 iii, 9i, 10i

2018 P1: 6,9 iii, 10, 11

2018 P2: 6,7,9v

2017 P1: 5ii, 6, 7ii, 8, 9c, 11 iii

2017 P2: 1 ii, 2 ii, 3a, 4b, 7i, 9v, 9 vi

2016 P1: 3, 4, 6 iii, 7, 8 iii, 10 bii, 11 b

2016 P2: 2a ii, , 2b,  4bii, 7 iv, 9a

2015 P1: 3, 5 iii, 7iii, 11 ii explain why is maximum, 11 iii

2015 P2: 1 ii, 2ii, 3b, 4b iii (some students interpret wrongly), 9 ii, 9 iii, 10 iv, 11 iv

2014 P1: 2, 3, 4ii, 6 (a) (ii), 6 (b) (ii), 7 iii, 7 iv, 8 iii, 9 iii, 10 ii, 10 iv, 11 iii, 11 iv

2014 P2: 1 ii, 3 ii,  4 b ii, 6 ii, 6 iii, 10 ii

2013 P1: 2, 5, 6i, 6 iii, 8 i, 9 ii, 9 iii, 10 i, 10 iii, 11 ii, 11 iv

2013 P2: 1 ii,  2, 3 iii, 4iii, 6, 7 i, 8 iii, 9 i, 10 i, 11

2012 P1: 4, 5, 6 iii, 7 iii, 8 iii, 9 iii, 10, 11

2012 P2: 1 b, 3 ii, 3 v, 4, 6ii, 7 iii to v, 8 iii, 8  vii

2011 P1: 1, 3 iii, 4 i, 5 iii, 7 ii b, 8 c, 9 ii, 10 ii

2011 P2: 2 ii, 3 ii, 3 iii,  8 i, 9ii b, 10 iii, 11 ii

2010 P1: 1 ii, 6 iii, 6 iv, 7,  9, 10 i, 11 ii, 11 iii

2010 P2: 1 ii, 3 iii,  4v, 7iv, 7v,  8ii, 8iii, 10 iv

2009 P1: 1 ii, 2, 4, 10 iii, 11 iv

2009 P2: 1 i, 1 iii, 2 iii, 2 iv, 3, 4,  6 ii, 6 iii, 6 iv, 7, 8iii, 8iv, 9 iv, 11 i, 11 ii, 11 v

2008 P1: 1, 5 ii, 6a,  9 ii, 10 ii a, 10 ii b,

2008 P2: 1 iv, 2, 7, 8iii, 8 iv, 10 , 11 last part

2007 P1: 1, 2 i,  5 (hence part), 7i, 10 iii, 11

2007 P2: 2 iii, 2 iv, 3 iii, 4 ii b,  7 last part, 8, 9 (i) (b), 9 (ii) (c), 11

Doing tutorials is not enough!

For the average JC H2 maths student, doing tutorials alone is not enough to pass mid year or promo exams. This is because many JCs set the exams at a much higher standard than tutorials. In some JCs, about half of the cohort can fail JC 1 promo.

To do well, other than doing tutorials, students need to practise intermediate or advanced questions. If they are unable to do intermediate questions, they should seek help early from a good tutor.

If students fail or barely pass their mid year or promo, don’t wait until JC 2 to brush up. Otherwise, they have to struggle to catch up and learn new challenging topics in year 2.

Preparing for exams

1. For students who have enough time, start by revising and practising questions by topic. Do basic level questions for all topics. Then do intermediate questions (slightly harder than alevel standard). If you are running out of time, go straight to doing yearly paper. Doing yearly paper and revise weak topics is the fastest way to improve.

2. For students preparing for their school internal exams, practise past year exam paper from their school, starting from the most recent. It is important to practice past year paper from your school as each school has its style of questions. For the first paper, you can refer to your notes and formulas. For any question you get incorrect, practise at least 2 more similar questions in that topic.

For subsequent paper, attempt only with the formula list MF 26 under timing. Keep practising until you can score 10% above your desired grade.

3. For students taking A level , do past 5 years alevel paper and prelim papers from YIJC, JPJC, TMJC, VJC, EJC.

Do paper 1 and paper 2 in 3 hours each, with only MF 26. Then revise weak topics (questions that you got wrong in the paper). Repeat the cycle