Author Archives: Ai Ling

Hi, I'm Ai Ling. I enjoy coaching students who have challenges with understanding and scoring in 'O' Level A-Maths and E-Maths. I develop Math strategies, sometimes ridiculous ideas to help students in understanding abstract concepts the fast and memorable way. I write this blog to share with you the stuff I teach in my class, the common mistakes my students made, the 'way' to think, analyze... If you have found this blog post useful, please share it with your friends. I will really appreciate it! :)

Preparation for Secondary 3 Additional Mathematics

During this period, I received numerous calls on Secondary 3 Additional Maths Tuition class. Many parents are worried if their child can cope with the subject next year. The focus on Secondary 1 and 2 Maths is directed on Algebra which is definitely essential for Secondary 3 Additional Maths and Elementary Maths. 

In Secondary 3 Additional Maths, most students will be learning the following topics for the first half of the year and many topics involved Algebra manipulation.

  • Simultaneous Equations
  • Surds & Indices
  • Exponential Function
  • Logarithms
  • Quadratic Equations
  • Partial Fractions
  • Factor – Remainder Theorem
  • Modulus Function
  • Coordinate Geometry

To help students to revise on some of the essential concepts, I have prepared a short list of questions on Expansion, Solving Quadratic Equations & Understanding Quadratic GraphIt will only take students 10 – 15 minutes to complete and the step-by-step solutions (+common mistakes) will be emailed the following day.

To download your free copy, enter your name and email in the form below for the questions to be sent to you instantly. 


If you can’t view the form, please click here.

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My Experience of Taking the GCE O-Level Maths Exams 16 Years Later

(Photo Credit: comedy_nose)

I posted in June this year that I registered myself as a private candidate to sit for the GCE O-Level Additional & Elementary Mathematics Papers.

Winners Education Centre supports my decision and is the sponsor for my papers.

The main objective is to familiarize myself  with the examination conditions and to test the effectiveness of the strategies taught to our students.

I think I could be the first Math tutor to take the GCE O-Level Additional & Elementary Mathematics Papers together with all my students!

My main strategy for doing the papers is gaining momentum for every paper, completing the paper within half the given time, checking the paper (different ways of checking methods) for the remaining time.

Let me share with you the things I did before the GCE O-Level Maths examinations:

  • I woke up at about 9am for every paper to recap some of the fundamental concepts in my weaker topics and stopped all revision by 1230 pm.
  • I ate a light lunch 90 minutes before the paper since all the Maths papers started from 230pm.
  • I showed up at the examination centre (3 minutes walk from my house) at 215pm.
  • I did not bring my mobile or my wallet so that I don’t have to worry about them when I left my bag outside the room.
  • Unlike most of the private candidates, I don’t bring any notes or books for last minute revision instead I’m just at ease with myself and looking forward to completing the paper confidently and accurately.

Let me share with you the things I did during the GCE O-Level Maths examinations:

  • As I’m quite a neat freak in terms of organization of my work, I chose to start every question on a fresh piece of paper. (For E-Maths Paper 2, A-Maths Paper 1 & 2). This allowed me to move on to the next question if I was unsure of parts of the previous question.
  • I was very conscious of my posture, upper body is positioned at about 90 degrees to lower body. Posture is important as it keeps my working and thinking momentum going.
  • I had my watch against my pencil case to constantly remind me of the time.
  • I had almost 90% of the desk for writing. Items on my desk included only pencil case, entry proof and NRIC. Everything else like extra calculators, Mathematical set, French curve, flexi-ruler, long ruler and water bottle are placed under the desk. I need the space for me to analyse the questions and write the solutions.

In conclusion,

I would think that students must keep their mind alert and calm to handle ‘unusual’ questions confidently instead of hitting the panic button and keep focusing on ‘Oh no, I can’t do, I can’t do!’.

For this year GCE O-Level Elementary Maths examination, I feel that the standard of the questions has increased slightly as compared with the last 3 years. Some questions aren’t the straightforward type and requires students to have good understanding of their basics concepts and application ability.

For GCE O-Level Additional Maths examination, there was a question who has caught many students off-guard. It requires ‘reverse engineering’ skills to answer it correctly. What this means is we have been usually walking forward but in this question, we need to walk backwards. Maybe next year, students need to walk sideways like a crab?

This post will be beneficial for Secondary 3 Maths students who are sitting for their GCE O-Level Maths examination next year.


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Is Your Child Doing his O-Level Maths Revision Correctly?

This year, I registered myself as a private candidate to take O-Level Additional & Elementary Maths papers which happened two weeks ago. I will discuss more of my experience in another post.

One point after doing the papers I realize was: Cambridge is still testing candidates on basic concepts for most of the questions. There are 1-2 atypical questions but if you are clear with your basics, it takes only slightly longer thinking time to solve the problem.

All students should have received their end of year examinations results already and two of the most common reasons why students don’t do well in their Maths examinations:

  • Carelessness
  • Lack of practice

Does it sound familiar to you?

Many times, when I reviewed the examination papers, I found that it wasn’t just careless mistakes but lack of basic concepts in solving the questions. Reducing careless mistakes can be easily achieved through strategies; I applied these “no more careless mistakes” strategies in my O-Level papers as well.

However, lack of basic concepts requires more work. I always share with my students the correct way of studying for O-Level Maths would be

  1. Understand the basics concepts for each topic
  2. Practice questions of varying challenge level, starting from basics.
  3. Review the answers and understand what goes right and what goes wrong
  4. Repeat step 2 and 3, with intermediate level questions
  5. Repeat step 2 and 3, with advance level questions

There’s no shortcut in doing well in O-Level Maths. It’s simply “Understand, Practice, Review” (UPR).

It has proven to be effective for myself, my students and I’m sure it could work for your child too.

It’s possible to be achieved by a student with discipline and desire to improve himself but many students who aren’t doing well in O-Level Maths aren’t motivated to even flip open their notes or textbook, just like my students who first joined me.

If you need a programme to get your child started on his revision for O-Level Maths, this holidays I’ll be conducting Topical Revision Workshops for O-Level A-Maths & E-Maths for students sitting for O-Levels in 2014,

For more details, click here.


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