So you’re taking HSC 4 Unit Maths in year 12 – well done! 4 unit is one of the most rewarding subjects offered in the HSC curriculum.

In many countries, the content covered in 4 unit is equivalent to a first year university course. At the University of Sydney, students that have completed 4 unit maths will find half of the first year mathematics program to be little more than revision!

But sometimes, it can be difficult to work out exactly how to spend your time studying for 4 unit maths. The concepts are more difficult and sometimes more abstract, and often textbooks do not include solutions to their questions.

Luckily for you, we’ve got 4 simple tips to help you through the course and get that E4 for HSC 4 unit maths!

Tip #1: Practice, practice, practice

Tip #2: Find a wide variety of practice material

Tip #3: Learn independently

Tip #4: Use the internet!

## Tip #1: Practice, practice, practice

The best way to excel in any kind of mathematics is to treat it like a skill.

That is to say that you should try and minimise the time spent memorising formula or making notes and maximise the time spent *actually doing questions*. Obviously you need to make sure that you understand enough of the content to make this a worthwhile exercise, but the best way to solidify your understanding is by doing questions.

You might not necessarily feel as though you have a 100% mastery of a particular concept yet, but you will certainly better pinpoint any problems you are having by diving straight into practice questions.

**Past exam questions are always the best option.** Many students leave attempting past exam questions until later in the year when they can do close to all of the questions on the paper, but as soon as you finish a particular section of the course (complex numbers, say), you can trawl through the past papers and do all the questions on complex numbers in order to get a sense for the kind of things you will be expected to know (and what you need to brush up on).

You will be able to find our huge library of past exam questions here. However outside of merely looking at HSC-centred material, you should …

## Tip #2: Find a wide variety of practice material

The neat thing about 4 unit maths is that it aligns for the most part with many first year college courses in America and Australia,** so there is a wide variety of practice material available online**.

Admittedly, some parts of the HSC 4 unit maths course (for instance the sections on Mechanics and Conics) are rather specific in what you are expected to be able to do, other sections (such as the sections on Complex Numbers and Integration) are very self-contained and will line up nicely with a whole lot of practice material you can find online.

What is the advantage of using a diverse range of practice material? Well at higher levels, much of mathematics rests on subtle issues of notation and phrasing, and so being presented with the same question with slightly different phrasing or emphasis will help you to really feel as though you have mastered a particular skill (or pinpoint exactly what it is that you don’t quite understand as well as you could).

If you’re struggling to find good practise material and a variety past papers, get in touch with our

HSC Maths Tutors Sydney!

## Tip #3: Learn independently

Many students we see have a much better grasp of the first half of the HSC 4 unit maths course than they do of the second half. This is simply because the content can be quite challenging, and often teachers move quite slowly through the initial sections of the course.

The HSC exams, however, will not make any allowance for this – the spread of questions tends to be relatively even across the sections of the syllabus. This means that many students perform well on the earlier topics but have a poorer grasp of the later ones. They nail Polynomials, Complex Numbers and Integration but struggle with Mechanics and the harder 3-unit questions.

The solution to this is to take responsibility for your learning and move ahead. The best students do not rely on their teacher to cover every topic, but rather work through some of the latter topics ahead of time.

This means that when it comes time to cover these topics in class, they are consolidating their understanding rather than meeting the topic for the very first time.

It also means that these students have more time to practice tackling the kinds of HSC questions that they will eventually have to deal with in their exam.

Our expert Sutherland Shire Maths Tutors can support you with your independent study in your own home or online with amazing results!

## Tip #4: Use the internet!

Learning from textbooks and practice solutions is one thing, but in many cases it can feel a bit static or not quite as engaging as it could be. Often textbooks or past papers do not have full solutions to many of their questions.

Places like YouTube are quickly becoming great resources for very accessible and easy-to-follow lessons or examples for many kinds of mathematics. Perhaps you have read the solution to a question but don’t quite follow one step – watchings someone run through the solution while explaining it on YouTube can be incredibly helpful.

As well as YouTube, Khan Academy is a free resource that offers videos arranged in a very simple order for each topic area. Their section on integration techniques certainly saved me when I returned to uni to study Advanced Maths and I wish it had been around when I was doing my HSC.

Mathematics Stack Exchange is a website where people post and answer questions at all levels. If you are stuck on a question, chances are someone else has been too. If not, you can ask the question and often get very detailed and receptive responses.

As a mathematician, you are (arguably more than any other HSC subject) part of a broad, worldwide community of people studying very similar things, using very similar techniques.

The best way to excel at high levels of mathematics (whether it’s HSC 4-unit or beyond) is by engaging with this community and broadening your mathematical horizons. You will be able to make use of a much wider collection of resources and improve your mastery over the concepts in the syllabus.

**Looking for some extra help with HSC Maths?**

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**We can help you master the HSC Maths syllabus and ace your upcoming HSC assessments with personalised lessons conducted one-on-one in your home or at our state of the art campus in Hornsby!**

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**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.