Additional Mathematics, Additional Difficulty

additional mathematics, additional difficultyPhoto: Malay Mail

We all know how difficult Additional Mathematics can be - more often than not, good marks are close to unachievable for a majority of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia candidates.

According to The Star, one mathematics teacher said that the standards of the paper was so high - even more difficult than Singapore’s O-Levels paper - that some students were in tears after taking the examination.
There are two papers in the examination, and the teacher himself said he spent close to an hour just to finish two questions in Paper 1.

additional mathematics, additional difficultyPhoto: Malaysia Students

“Most Add Maths teachers (in the country) will struggle with those questions, which are harder than Singapore’s. It was definitely very challenging for students to finish 12 questions in two-and-a-half hours, ” said the teacher.

He also runs a well-known Additional Mathematics tutorial page called Y=mx+c, with over 23,000 followers on Facebook.

The teacher added that the implementation of higher order thinking skills (HOTS) was a smart move but it was necessary for students and teachers to first be equipped with the knowledge and capability to manage it.

“Though the aim to set these hard questions was to increase SPM standards, the Examinations Syndicate should be stringent in drafting questions. A lot of students told me there was no point in practising past years’ papers because they were not helpful at all, ” he added.

The teacher also said that a majority of students could only finish half the paper when they took it.
“It cuts off a lot of potential career paths. For example, Add Maths in A-Levels is needed to pursue medicine, pharmacy, psychology and more, ” he said.

According to a report from The Star, Steven, who was one of the SPM candidates, said most of the questions were completely different from the usual and was really confusing. He added that the inclusion of questions and topics that they did not learn.

“I understand that exams must meet a certain high standard but they hould not leave students feeling unmotivated and that their efforts (prepping for the exam) were wasted, ” said Riza, a mother of one of the SPM candidates.

The Star also reported that Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) chairman Mak Chee Kin expressed that it was unfair for students to have to answer questions which were not in the syllabus.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

By: Celestine Foo