Yesterday was my Advanced Higher Maths prelim, my first official prelim, and probably my favourite subject.
I like Maths exams. There are a lot of exams I don’t like – French, Geography, and English (especially English, I hated it so much) – but I think that Maths exams are great. Now, they’re only going to ask you about things which are based on the course, and thankfully there is a well defined course, but they can – and do – take things further than the basics.
All the questions are totally gettable, that is we have the knowledge of techniques/rules to find the answer, however they question may combine completely different elements of the course, or it could present information and ask questions in novel ways and situations. For me, that’s what maths is about. Firstly, you learn the basic rules, but then you see where that takes you, and what you can work out from what you already know.
A good one yesterday was something like:
Here, in class you learn how to do the first two questions, the rest follow on and you have to work it out. Sure, this is a simple example, but it does go a lot further.
This why I love things like the Scottish Maths Challenge and the UK Maths Challenge – they challenge you to think about things in different ways. They’re nothing like what you do in class at school. In fact, I’m working on one right now. And I did very well in this one back in 2007. See if you enjoy them.