BlogStudyFrequently Asked Questions about HSC Extension 1 Maths

Frequently Asked Questions about HSC Extension 1 Maths

So you’re considering taking the plunge and doing Extension 1 Maths next year (in year 11), but you have some questions?

Never fear!

We’re here with answers to some of the common questions that students have before they begin.

Q1: What is Extension 1 Maths?
Q2: What’s the difference between 3U and 2U?
Q3: How much harder is Extension 1 Maths?
Q4: How well Extension 1 Maths scale?
Q5: Is Extension 1 Maths a prerequisite at university?
Q6: How much time should I spend on my 3U study?
Q7: What if I want to take 4U next year?

Q1: What is Extension 1 Maths?

Starting from the beginning – Extension 1 Maths (or HSC 3U Maths) is an extra subject that is taken on top of 2U Maths.

It’s only worth 1 unit (as opposed to HSC Mathematics, which is worth 2 units).

This is why Mathematics is often called ‘2 unit’ and the combination of Mathematics and Extension 1 is called ‘3 unit’.

Q2: What’s the difference between 3U and 2U?

As we mentioned above, the 3U and 2U courses are closely related.

In fact, there are only four topics that are unique to 3U: inverse functions, polynomials, binomial theorem and permutations/further probability. These topics are rather light on for content as well.

The rest of the additional 3U content is scattered throughout the 2U course.

That is, while studying a particular topic in the normal 2U course, you might cover some additional technique or perspective.

Q3: How much harder is Extension 1 Maths?

How difficult you find 3U to be will obviously depend on your prior experience with maths.

That being said, if you feel concerned about the difficulty of Extension 1, there are two things to think about.

Firstly, the more intertwined 3 unit content will feel a very natural extension of the 2 Unit stuff you’ll cover.

For instance, in the section on Integration you will cover a couple of different techniques to perform certain calculations – if you are taking 3 unit you will simply cover one or two extra ones.

Secondly, the topics that are unique to 3 Unit are quite self-contained.

By that we mean that they don’t rely particularly explicitly on prior knowledge beyond the fundamentals of trigonometry and algebra that you would have picked up in previous years.

Accordingly, you don’t need to be a mathematical genius to succeed at 3 unit. All you need is a strong grasp of the basics and a good work ethic.

If you’re keen to try Extension 1 Maths, you might benefit from some targeted tutoring help. Check out our HSC Maths Tutors Sydney!

Q4: How well Extension 1 Maths scale?

3U maths scales very well. In 2015, you could score a band E4 (the highest band for an extension subject) with a raw mark of 68/100.

That is to say that your marks will be significantly inflated from your raw marks if you do reasonably well. 3U will therefore make a strong contribution to your ATAR calculations.

You don’t want to make all your decisions based on scaling. If you don’t enjoy a subject or feel like you can perform well, then no amount of scaling will help.

That being said, the benefits are there if you think you’ll enjoy it!

Q5: Is Extension 1 Maths a prerequisite at university?

The advice that the University of Sydney offers on this front is that:

Generally, students who wish to continue to study maths or computer science in second year should have studied 3-unit maths at school.

If you wish to study any kind of science, chances are that you will need some kind of mathematics.

Fields such as Biology, Chemistry and Physics are often very heavy on statistical analysis and if you don’t take HSC 3U maths you will certainly have to catch up on it at some stage.

Q6: How much time should I spend on my 3U study?

If you are taking 3U (but not 4U), then you should be looking to spend roughly 30% of your allotted study time on maths.

The good thing is that studying for 3U will improve your 2U skills as well, given the way that the courses are intertwined.

If you can do the harder parts of a chapter that are part of the 3U course, then the 2U part should seem simpler by comparison.

The key to 3U is just to be on top of things consistently and to avoid sustained periods of inactivity. Maths is a skill and it is easy to get rusty.

Q7: What if I want to take 4U next year?

If you take 4U maths in Year 12, then 3U and 4U will count for 2 units each (a total of 4 units) and you won’t sit the 2U exam at all.

4U maths is slightly more self-contained than the 3U syllabus, and so you might find that you will need to separate your study time more when you get to this stage.

If you find that you enjoy 3U and you are doing reasonably well, you should certainly try 4U maths! It’s an incredibly rewarding experience.

Discover how one student improved their marks by 20% in Extension 1 Maths here!

Looking for some extra help with Extension 1 Maths?

We pride ourselves on our inspirational HSC Extension 1 Maths coaches and mentors!

We offer tutoring and mentoring for Years K-12 in a variety of subjects, with personalised lessons conducted one-on-one in your home or at our state of the art campus in Hornsby or Hills. We offer personalised maths tutoring in Kellyville!

To find out more and get started with an inspirational tutor and mentor get in touch today!

Give us a ring on 1300 267 888, email us at [email protected] or check us out on Facebook!

Travis McKenna has just finished a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy at the University of Sydney, and will be heading over to America for Grad School in the near future. He enjoys learning languages, playing cricket and writing short stories.

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