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Monday, September 03, 2012

How to Do Well in STPM Further Mathematics T

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Johnivan took Further Mathematics T as his 5th subject in STPM 2009. With limited resources, and without a teacher, he worked really hard in order to score well in STPM Further Mathematics T. In the end, he passed the paper in 2009, in which he obtained an A-. Johnivan is currently studying Physics (minor in Mathematics) in the Natiional University of Singapore.

How to do well in STPM Further Mathematics T?

Written by Johnivan

FM is a tough subject. Scoring Maths is already a struggle, not to further mention this subject which is a continuation of that. To do well in this subject, you basically need a few things.
  1. You need to have the passion. Do you have the drive to know, and solve the unsolvable? When I was studying FM, I can't sleep without solving all the questions that I was doing in the textbook. I somehow had the passion to find out the answer, google for it, read until I understand what it says. Finally when you get it, yes, you feel really great, its those top of the world feelings.
  2. You need independence. No one will be telling you when to study it. You need to set your own timetable, and tell yourself when to finish covering what chapters.
  3. Do exercises diligently. I did more than that: I copied most of the questions from textbooks into a 'buku panjang' and solve every single one of them, all written down nicely and properly. If I don't know how to do, I'll ask, or search for the answer.
  4. Study smart. Create short notes, that you can refer and understand, your way. I have my own summary sheets, formula sheets to help me refresh what I learned, and helps me solve questions too. You need to be really hardworking, and creative on this.

What are the common mistakes of STPM Further Mathematics candidates that hinder them from getting good results?

  1. Carelessness. Sometimes when we read through questions, we 'think' that we know how to solve. But when the question comes, then you realize that when you do it yourself, it is not as easy as you think. You know, writing down tedious workings sometimes make you panic, when you're panic you tend to make mistakes, and that was what happened to me in my FMT exam. 12 marks gone for my differential equation, it was an easy question!
  2. Lack of self confidence. You must believe in yourself. Many people give up half way, they don't persevere. There was one point in time where I wrote in my diary, saying "I think I don't want to take FMT anymore." But somehow I met teachers who encouraged me, my parents supported me by buying me those expensive books. I told myself, I really must work hard for it. I struggled like anyone else, but much more. Everyone only has 4 subjects to struggle, and I had to do 5. I thought if I only did 4 subjects, I could have more time to study my Chemistry and Physics.
  3. Lack of information. FM questions are done by uni lecturers. They have little idea of what the STPM Further Mathematics T syllabus covers, and what is in and what is not. For example, there was once a past year paper came out with a 4 by 4 matrix, but our syllabus only covers 3 by 3. So what I'm saying, is that we should know more than what the syllabus requires, to prevent yourself from not knowing how to do in exams. Or rather, keep in mind that FM paper might go a bit off syllabus, so study and read up more to give yourself a better chance to score in exams.

Lastly, here's my blog, furthermathematicst.blogspot.com. I've completed this blog August last year. This blog basically contains everything that I learned in Further Mathematics T last time: I go through every single chapter in detail, give really good tips on how they should score and check out on those chapters. Recently with the change of syllabus for STPM, I've decided not to modify my blog, but just leave it there as an archive. Well, I don't have much time and energy to modify it anymore, since I took my 3 month summer holiday after my 1st year of uni doing it, it was really tiring. I included a few pages, Frequently ask questions about FMT, then recently I added a comparison of the new and the old syllabus. Do check out the blog!
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