Maths is a totally diff subject, however. We always start our maths training at my school with foundations. If the fundamentals are solid, we can then build on that. So we don’t even start with exam prep at first. We start with basics like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. We break that up into elements – so in addition we will do simple adding with 2 digits and then 3 digits.
Then we go to subtraction, and we have subtraction with 3 numbers and then with the central nought, which kids find tricky. We take a lot of care over knocking the top number off, and explaining that 10 becomes 9. There is a sheet specially put up on the wall in our school, where all these specifics are broken down. So the sheet has addition with 1 number, 2 numbers, subtraction with 2, 3 and 4 numbers, with central nought and so on, are all listed. Each child gets his or her own progress sheet, and the children get ticks against the concepts they have learnt. So we keep a very close eye on what each of these children are achieving. We have 3 columns for 3 times of doing each topic, for each child. So we are sure their fundamentals are sound, and that is all dealt with first before we go onto other more advanced maths.
We deal with the other maths in various ways, we deal with early fractions, late fractions, angles, understanding squares, triangles, their degrees and then we go to volume, for example. The list is very long. So we treat each topic in maths as separate topics and then we try and bring them together as a whole concept.
Maths has become very, very, very important now and very closely linked to reasoning and English. Maths papers now are called numerical reasoning, the reason being that a lot of English is applied to these questions. A lot of steps are involved, so in a way it is also logical reasoning.
Children also have to be trained to use sheets of paper for working out the steps of a problem. They also have to understanding the words and so understand the question. I find a lot of children get the answer wrong because they don’t apply the steps or they don’t understand the question.
Building these good habits is in itself is a big challenge. There are no short cuts and to get to the exam prep stage for maths you have to do so many steps before that – and they do take time. You can’t do exam prep in maths unless and until someone’s foundations in maths are totally solid.
So I really deal with foundations first. In my school we have groups for most classes, but I do try to ask parents to fit in at least some one-on-ones if they can. This is because we do like to deal with children’s weaknesses and some are not as good at numeracy as they are at English. The two get very closely linked now.
So you can see that it is very important that your child is coached properly in different subjects but in different ways. Coming in for exam prep does not mean we only teach for the exam, we actually improve their entire performance. This is an invaluable help for your child in the future and most students stay with us for a long time after they get into the school of their choice.
Coming up is more on the trickiest bit of the exam – Reasoning, including Verbal and Non-Verbal aspects. This is a very important part of the tests and you will learn more about it soon.