by Vijay Garg
Mathematics can be a nightmare to some students whereas fun for others. It is basically because of the reason that you either get it completely right or entirely wrong. It is not like a language subject wherein there can be a ‘maybe.’ And, that is also the reason that it is definitely possible to score 100/100 marks in maths.
People say that only students with a rational bent of mind understand mathematics, but it is not so. Mathematics is subject which helps in developing rational thinking and a logical approach in students. A student cannot be made to fall in love with mathematics overnight but the following are some tips to improve your score in maths and even help you achieve full marks in maths.
Make a separate register for theorems, formulae and methodologies: Maths is all about theorems, concepts and formulae, and it is always wise to keep them handy. You can read and brush them up even when you are on the move and this practice also comes to the rescue when you are having a last-minute revision.
Solve Problems yourself: Whereas it is good to go through and understand different types of problems, it is very important to solve them yourself. Knowing theories and concepts is necessary but learning their application is inescapable if you want to score full marks in maths. You have to solve each by yourself, a minimum of 3-4 times over the course of time.
Understand your syllabus: Understanding your portions and the weightage attached to different sections helps you in deciding how much time to dedicate to each section. For example, if you know that there will be just a five marks question from a particular section, you do not have to dedicate a week to practising those sums.
Practice Papers: Practice papers are a good way to mentally prepare yourself for what you are going to get in the exams. The more you solve these, the more confidence you will gain towards your achievement of scoring the highest score. Also, it is important to understand that you need not wait for your syllabus to finish before you start solving these. As you go on finishing different sections, you can find the respective questions from the sample papers and solve them side by side.
Address your problem areas outright: There may be times when you are solving a sample paper and you come across some questions which you cannot solve. While it is convenient to keep them aside to clear later, but over a period of time, these accumulate and become a burden for you.
Time Management: It is not easy to be a maths champion. You must take out some time every day to solve mathematical problems in order to score 100/100 marks in maths, even when you have dedicated a particular day to some other subject. This can range from a quick half an hour of going through your register of formulae and methodologies or dedicating a couple of hours to solving sample papers.
Clean Paper and margin: The cleaner, the better. You should keep in mind that the examiner needs to understand each and every step of how you have arrived at an answer and unfortunately he does not have much time to dedicate to a single problem. Keep your paper free from cutting and overwriting, and draw clean margins to do the rough work. A clean paper also reflects an uncluttered mind.
Marks are in the steps: Whenever you go through a solution and understand its rationale, pay special focus to how the different steps progress. You cannot cram answers and achieve full marks in maths, so just paying heed to the figures in the examples is a waste of your time. Instead, you must learn the various steps involved. Remember that even if you attempt and write some steps, you will definitely secure some marks for each step, irrespective of whether your answer is correct or incorrect.
Figures and Graphs: Figures and graphs can fetch you easy marks if made with a little concentration. For this, keep a ruler which has a sharp and smooth side and a pencil which is well sharpened. These, if you have practised well, constitute the simplest parts of the exam and you can aim to finish this as soon as you get your paper.
Finish familiar questions first: Read the question paper thoroughly before you start solving the questions. While it is natural to be stuck on questions which you find unfamiliar but you must remember that you have to finish your examination in a stipulated time. In order to achieve 100/100 marks in maths, you much strategize to first finish the questions you know and then move on to the unfamiliar questions.
Revise, revise, and revise: Once you are through with writing the paper, take a deep breath and revise it thoroughly. In the first revision, check whether you have attempted all questions or not. This is important because you might not have solved the questions in a given order. In the second revision, check the steps and answers. If time still remains, go through the sheet once again!
To achieve 100/100 marks in maths, understand the basic concept first and then try solving as many problems as possible. Remember that there are no shortcuts in maths.
(Vijay Garg, MSc, BEd has been a Punjab Education Service (PES) officer who retired as a Principal. He has authored a number of textbooks. He lives in Malout Punjab.)