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.


Hi, I'm Ai Ling Ong. 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! :)

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

  1. Omg...90 degrees...are your back okay? XD


    Ai Ling Reply:

    Hi Bryan, Thanks for your concern. My back is always supported by the chair. All's good.
    Enjoy your freedom! Movies!!!


  2. That is an experience every teacher(including me) should have from time to time for "Test Measurement" and to be able to know how to improve on the students performance


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