Common mistakes made in IGCSE Additional Mathematics Examination

by Mr Austin Lau #austinpower
0 comment 5 mins read

Tips for IGCSE Additional Mathematics Examinations

  1. Integration: Do not leave out the arbitrary constant ā€œ+cā€ after integrating an expression.
  2. Differentiation & Integration: Do not get confused while differentiating and integrating š‘ š‘–š‘›š‘„ and š‘š‘œš‘ š‘„.
  3. Logarithms: There is no negative values in log and In expressions.
  4. Quadratic: Be aware of inequalities sign errors while deriving critical values of the quadratic equation.
  5. Trigonometry: Read the question carefully if they require you to answer in radians or degree form.
  6. Trigonometry: Make sure all values of all relevant quadrants are calculated.
  7. Circular Measure: More digits in the previous value should be used to calculate the answer for the following sub-question.
  8. Circular Measure: All angles must be in radian form.
  9. Relative Velocity: All angles must be in degree form.
  10. Indices: Indices with brackets should be multiplied, while indices without brackets should be added. For instance: (23)2 = 26 , 23 x 22 = 25
  11. Always type in the correct values in the calculator.
  12. Look at the marks before answering the question to check how much working should be done.
  13. Be aware of sign errors (negative sign, positive signs)
  14. Remember to show sufficient amount of working.
  15. Do not get confused whether to apply permutation (order matters) or combination (order does not matter) in different questions, do more practices.
  16. Make sure that you are working to the required level of accuracy and give your final answers to the form required (Angles: 1 decimal place, Other values: 3 significant figures).
  17. Remember to use the given answer in the previous part of the question.
  18. Do not leave the answer in terms of š‘¦ rather than completing the solution for š‘„.
  19. Use the given substitution.
  20. If you run out of room for working on a question, request for an extra piece of paper which can be then attached to your exam booklet.


Hence find…Using a substitution of answer from part (i) to solve the question
CalculateUse a calculator to work out information
DetermineEstablish with certainty
Show thatProvide structured evidence that leads to a given result
PlotMark point(s) on a graph
SketchMake a simple free-hand drawing showing the key features
StateExpress in clear terms
WriteGive an answer in a specific form

Before the Exam

  • Prepare suitable equipment to be brought into the exam hall (e.g. scientific calculator and geometry set)
  • Check your exam timetable to plan your revision.
  • Find out the structure and the format of the question paper.
  • Look at past examination papers and be sure what they expect in an examination.
  • Make revision notes.
  • Practice drawing clear, simple, neat, fully-labelled mathematical diagrams and graphs.
  • Work for short period of time then have a break.
  • Revise small sections of the syllabus at a time.
  • Make sure that you show all the necessary working when practicing questions
  • Make sure that your answers are in the correct form when practicing questions. 
  • Look at mark schemes to help you to understand how the marks are awarded for each question

During the Exam

  1. Read the instructions carefully and attempt to answer all questions.
  2. Plan your time according to the marks for each question. For example, a question one mark requires less time and a shorter answer than one worth 5 marks.
  3. Do not leave out questions or parts of questions. Remember, no answer means no mark.
  4. Read each question very carefully.
  5. Identify the command words ā€“ you could underline or highlight them.
  6. Identify the other key words and perhaps underline them too.
  7. Try to put the question into your own words to understand what it is really asking.
  8. Read all parts of a question before starting your answer. Think carefully about what is needed for each part. You will not need to repeat material.
  9. Look very carefully at the resource material you are given.
  10. Read the title, key, axes of graphs, etc. to find out exactly what it is showing you.
  11. Look for dates, scale, and location.
  12. Try using coloured pencils or pens to pick out anything that the question asks you about.
  13. Answer the question that is being asked. This is very important!
  14. Use your knowledge and understanding.
  15. Do not just write all you know, only write what is needed to answer the question.
  16. Plan your answers. Clear, concise, well-ordered, well-argued, well-supported answers are necessary.
  17. Annotated diagrams can help you, and be used to support your answer. Use them whenever possible to help you visualise the information given if a diagram is not provided in the question.
  18. Make sure your writing is clear and easy to read. It is no good writing a brilliant answer if the examiner cannot read it!

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Written by Mr Austin of VBest
Edited by Ms Teoh Jing Qi

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