Parents are still grateful to teachers no matter which school is it.

Today a parent sent me a SMS to thank me for helping her son.

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It is pretty rare that a parent will still thank the tutor in a tertiary institution, I thought this would normally happen in govt schools.

Basically this student of mine has been absent from lessons and refused to reply to my calls.  I had to do a house visit to find out what happened. His mentor has suggested to expel him from school but upon hearing his story from his parents that he has mild depression, especially after he broke up with his girlfriend, I wrote in to explain the situation to the higher authorities.

Luckily he is allowed to continue with the module and he proved the other lecturers wrong by showing that he could catch up with his work and passed the module.

Remember to all teachers / tutors out there, we are not just academic adviser but also our student’s emotional support.

Why you should invest in a professional tutor

I came across a student asking for help in EduSnap, a mobile app which let students have the chance to post their questions and kind souls answer.

This is the question on vectors (7iii)

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and one man named “h2mathtutor” provided a WRONG answer!

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There are 2 mistakes:

1) The labelling of vertices should be in order (anticlockwise or clockwise),

2) The working should use cross product instead of dot product. However using cross product is redundant because one already uses it in (ii). Hence a smart student should link (iii) with (ii). I.e. the perpendicular distance from C to AB is the perpendicular height of the parallelogram. Hence the answer is area of parallelogram in (ii) divide by the length AB (magnitude of vector AB).

Review: A – Level Mathematics Challenging learn by example (Thomas Bond, Chris Hughes)

This is the second book by Thomas and Chris, designed with a different purpose in mind compared to the other book I reviewed: Challenging Drill Questions.

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This book costs approximately S$21, which is not too expensive.

Strength

  • Each chapter is divided into two sections: “Fundamental Examples” and “Standard Problems”. The fundamental examples allow students to recap basic concepts by reading through the step by step solutions before trying the standard problems (full solutions provided).

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  • The solutions provided has a marking scheme, students can have a rough sense how their questions would be graded. However every school adopts different marking scheme so take the scheme provided with a pinch of salt.
  • Sufficient problems for students to practice: 10 – 20 per chapter.

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Weakness

  • Not all the “examples” are practice questions. Some of them are merely formulas to memorise but they wrote it as “example” to increase the count (kind of cheating in my opinion).
  • Same as their “Challenging Drill Questions” book, the topics could be further divided following local JCs or IP schools’ syllabus.
  • This book is not useful for H1 students because many topics in H2 are not in H1. H1 students would have difficulty extracting relevant questions on their own. There is no indication of whether a question is suitable for H1 or not.

Targeted audience:

  • Students who find difficulty in attempting tutorial questions on their own and need more solved problems to “read” before practicing.
  • Students who has attained a certain level of mastery of each topic may not find the book too useful. They are better off with the “challenging drill questions” book.

Review: A-level Mathematics Challenging Drill Books by Thomas Bond, Chris Hughes

This is my humble simple review of a popular revision book for A level mathematics, especially at H2 level.

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Strength

  1. Each chapter contains many questions, good for exposure purpose. E.g. the chapter of sequence and series has over 170 questions for students to practice on.
  2. Question book is relatively affordable at $15.95 with numerical answers provided.
  3. All major topics are covered.
  4. Solutions’ book is separated so that student can refer to both questions and solutions in an easier manner.

Weakness

  1. The topics are not finely divided and the questions are arranged in a mess.

For example, the questions on summation and mathematical induction are mixed together, it is actually quite difficult for

a student to practice questions on a single topic at a time.

2.  The problems in the book are not being carefully selected.

For example, there are plenty of questions on mathematical induction based on summation. However there are only 1

or 2 questions on induction involving sequences with recurrence relation.

3.    The solution book is very expensive, costing approximately $58. If they are not profit driven then probably they would

have provided e-solutions through registration using a code per user.

4.    The questions are of standard level of difficulty, so it is not as “challenging” as indicated by the book title.

These books are suitable for

Students who can achieve a safe pass on their own (C grade and above) and hopes to push their grades further

through exposure.

These books are NOT suitable for

Students who are struggling to achieve a pass as the questions are not arranged in a user friendly format and not sorted by fine topics nor level of difficulty.