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How to Get 5** in DSE Maths

Maths can be a very divisive subject – students either love it or they hate it! But I’ve found that everyone can do well in maths if they just learn a few key strategies.

I developed these when studying for the DSE myself, and have honed them through my teaching experience. Here are the three main things I focused on to get 5** at DSE:

Speed

Exams can sometimes feel like a race against the clock. That’s why it’s critical to work in a way that makes best use of the limited time you have.

  • Calculators can be programmed. This will save you time on common calculations such as: using sine/cosine, and simultaneous equations.
  • Substitute numbers into algebraic multiple choice questions to quickly �find solutions.

Efficiency

On top of working quickly, it’s importantly to work intelligently. Tackling questions strategically can earn you a few extra vital marks.

  • Writing something is better than nothing. If you don’t know what to do, recall any relevant formulas and make some calculations. They may get you marks or inspire you to see a solution.
  • Know which steps you can skip. Writing the in-between steps to solving a simultaneous equation does not earn you more marks.

Cross-topic Questions

For the DSE, you need to keep in mind each section’s main topic areas. Prepare for these common cross-topic questions in Section B to ensure your revision gets you the most marks:

  • Statistics, probability & permutations
  • Logarithms & straight line equations
  • Coordinate geometry & quadratic equations
  • 3D trigonometry

To read more of Mr Michael’s tips about maths, check out the STEM edition of our Newsletter (January 2019).

It’s never too early to start improving your maths abilities. Mr Michael teaches the popular Competitive Mathematics and Numeracy and Problem Solving classes to students in primary and secondary school.