2 Weeks away from 'O' level: Should I Be Doing Ten Year Series or School Prelims Papers?

I have been asked this question so much recently that I think it will benefit more students by writing a post here.

"Should I Be Doing Ten Year Series or School Prelims Papers? "

My personal recommendation is that

  • If you are generally good in a certain topic, then work on the school prelim papers (most schools pump students with piles and piles). By doing so, you are gaining exposure to more variety of questions.
  • However, if you are still weak in certain topics, please go to your Ten Year Series to build up your foundation and master the basics first.

You know as well as I do that most school prelim papers are pitched at a standard which is higher than 'O' levels and this is the main reason for me suggesting prelim papers for exposure not fundamentals building.

Note: As 4016 (E-Math) & 4038 (A-Math) are relatively new (only available last year 2008), some topics in the Ten Years Series are lacking on questions. These are the newly introduced topics:


  1. Inverse Matrix
  2. Sum & Product of Roots
  3. Partial Fractions
  4. Curves & Circles
  5. Plane Geometry (also known as Geometrical Proof)
  6. Further Trigonometric Identities (Addition, Double Angle, Factor & R - Formula)
  7. Integration involving partial fractions, trigonometry involving double angle


  1. Matrix word problems and basic operations
  2. Set language and notation
  3. Statistics involving dot diagrams, stem and leaf, box and whisker, calculation of mean and standard deviation
  4. Applications of mathematics in practical situations (hire purchase, compound interest, money exchange, profit/loss, taxation)

I would suggest you use school prelim questions as a form of practice for the above topics.

I would love to hear from you on how you are preparing for the upcoming 'O' level Mathematics papers. Leave your comments below.

Recommended :How To Prepare for GCE ‘O’ Level 2009 Mathematics Papers (3 Simple Actions To Take)

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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! :)

3 Responses to 2 Weeks away from 'O' level: Should I Be Doing Ten Year Series or School Prelims Papers?

  1. tys ftw cause that's the standard that's gonna come out, not the tough prelim questions so no point doing them. better still, skip maths and do others cause you should be good in maths by now


    alwaysLovely Reply:

    Thanks for sharing.

    'O' levels are deviating from the 'standard' and in my opinion some prelim questions are rather valid.
    I don't recommend skipping practicing of Math. You should still be practicing on a daily basis but you manage the amount of time spent on the subject.


  2. I got still some prelim papers to do. But i still have like 5 years of O level E Maths to do... So far Prelim papers are not that bad for my case. Like Cedar Girls was not really tough except for those 3D Trigo and Mensuaration! But really no idea what to do...


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