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Top Tips for Smashing IGCSE Maths

Updated: Nov 5, 2021

Being good at maths is considered by many a matter of simply having a “gift” or “eye” for it. However, this is not necessarily the case – a lot of factors go into succeeding in maths and most of them are up to you to control. Here are 5 tips and tricks that are proven to help boost your IGCSE Maths experience.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

You can’t avoid mistakes while learning Mathematics. They are unavoidable – if you are not making any mistakes, you are solving problems which you already know how to solve. Our success in Maths comes from tackling problems which we are unsure about, the problems which initially seem too difficult for us to solve. So next time you see the “Additional” question in your coursebook, don’t look past it – take it on! Read it through, then try to make some calculations. If needed, scrap them, and try again. If you are still making no progress, return to it the next day.

There is nothing wrong in not being able to solve the question right away – struggling with difficult maths problems is what professional mathematicians do every day, often working on the same problem for many years. In fact, there are a number of famous math problems that have been unsolved for decades, with the world’s smartest mathematicians working on them – Millennium Prize Problems. Look them up – if you can solve just one, you are in for a 1,000,000-dollar prize!

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

There is no long-term value in just memorising methods for solving maths problems the night before the test. Yes, you might pass the test but maths is a cumulative discipline – what you learn in the future is built on what you have learned in the past. For example, you can’t learn simultaneous equations before understanding and being able to solve simple linear equations and, in turn, you can’t solve simple linear equations before being able to obey and understand simple rules of arithmetic. More difficult topics are always built on the bases of simpler ones – you can think of like building a house – in order to build the roof, you must first build the foundation.