Aiming for O Level Maths A1? Here's Why Just Doing the TYS May Not Be Enough

Aiming for O Level Maths A1? Here's Why Just Doing the TYS May Not Be Enough


O Level is one of the most crucial milestone examinations for a Singapore student after PSLE. Doing well in O Level is an arduous task for every student (as well as parents of the O Level students). It is important to plan, anticipate and prepare for the expected challenges of O Level early in order to lay strong foundations during the secondary school years. With a robust learning system, any student can gain momentum they need to ace their subjects.

With the O Level Maths examination coming closer in October, this means that by now, students have less than three months to catch up on revision. In this case, every practice question counts and matters even more the closer to the exam one gets.

Maths is a subject that does not go well with last-minute revision. Students need constant practice to apply concepts to questions accurately. This would often require students to go through endless question types to familiarise themselves with as many types of questions as possible, which is a year-long process that should not be rushed. While doing the Ten-Year-Series (TYS) may seem like the perfect shortcut for last-minute revision, simply completing it may not be enough to achieve the A1 you are aiming for.

This article will go through four main reasons why we think that completing the TYS alone is not enough.

1. You May Not Even Understand the Basic Concept

We know what you are thinking: completing every question in the TYS is your best bet at scoring an A1 for O Level Maths. After all, mastering the questions in the TYS would mean mastering all questions types that may come out in the upcoming examination, right? What are the odds of new question types coming out anyways?

If you're thinking that, stop right there. "Practice makes perfect?" Not necessarily. As cliche as it sounds, Maths is not all about practice. It is about understanding the basic concept. To gain mastery of the subject, you should always aim to understand the basic concept before furiously practising question after question.

When you have fully understood the basic concept, you will find that you will spend less time dwelling on questions you did before you understood the concept the question is testing you on.

2. Your method may have been wrong the whole time

An important reason why getting the concepts right is more important than just hours of practice, is this: you may be practicing the wrong things over and over, and locking in fatal errors born of misconceptions that may cost you marks, or even an entire question or paper.

By focusing all your time and energy solely on powering through a TYS, you may have missed the forest for the trees. Although the final answer matters, how you derive an answer is usually where most of the marks are allocated to. Exam markers are usually more interested in seeing the steps taken to derive the final answer, and ensuring the steps demonstrate a correct understanding of the required maths concepts, rather than just getting the number right through guess-and-check, trial-and-error or sheer dumb luck.

A helpful tip is to relook at the methods you are using to solve the TYS questions and check with a teacher or a peer if your method is acceptable. Some methods still yield the final answer, but they may not be accepted, which may cause you to lose method marks.

3. You don't know how to adapt the concept to the question

Being able to solve a question and adapt the concept to the question are two different things. The latter being the better situation to be in. When you are too fixated on completing the TYS, you may not realise that you don't know how to adapt the concept to the question.

Without knowing how to adapt the concept to the question, you only rely on the types of questions you have come across while doing the TYS. This can be dangerous as there can be new question types that you have not come across in the TYS and appear in the actual examination. If you know how to adapt the concept to the question, you are more likely to tackle the new question type.

4. You may learn better with others

Learning and practising maths with peers may motivate you and speed up your learning process. As there can be various methods in solving a question, your peers may provide beneficial insights on other available methods. In comparison to doing the TYS alone, relying on the methods in the answer booklet provided may limit your learning process.

Preparing for your O Level Maths examination is a year-long process that should not be rushed at the last-minute. While you may be one of the lucky few who get away with last-minute revision, it is not feasible for the majority because maths is a subject that requires grasping of the concepts and consistent practice over time to have the best shot at achieving an A1.

If your school teachers are bombarded with consultations, you may even seek external help from math tuition centres, like Singapore's Terry Chew Academy. From advanced Maths Olympiad courses to challenging math bootcamps, our professionally-trained teachers will provide different levels of training for our students based on their interests and ambitions.

The O Level examination is around the corner so wait no further, get in touch with us at, or call/whatsapp us at 8809 5884 to enquire about our classes today!

Get In Touch

Looking for the best math tuition centre in Singapore or need extra-curricular math training? Tell us your needs and interests!


8809 5884
Click here to WhatsApp us!



167A Thomson Rd, Goldhill Shopping Centre, Singapore 307619
View Map | Visual Guide

Office Hours

Weekdays 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Weekends 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Thank you! Your Message has been sent. Something went wrong, Please try again!