http://www.cwguyana\blogCXC math has a very low pass rate. Many students pass five or more subjects but fail math. Why? What can they do to pass it with grade 1 the next time they sit it? Some of our matured CXC students at Computer World struggle to grasp very simple math concepts and feel as if math is really not for them. What can they do to surprise themselves and pass CXC math with grade one? The answer to these questions lie in three important words followed by three more.

The first three success keywords are “master the fundamentals”. What are the fundamentals? The first fundamental is tables; multiplication and division tables. Most weak students do not know 1 to 12 times tables. They have to use the calculator to solve very simple problems that are at grade 2 or 3 level. Multiplication and division are at the heart of more complex topics like fractions, factorization, trigonometry, matrices and vectors.

The second set of success key words explain the difference between grade 1 and grade 2 preparation. They are “work exam papers.” Any student who has worked and mastered all of the questions on four or five past exam papers is almost certain to pass Maths with a grade 1 regardless of how hard the exam might be.

So, here in a nutshell is a simple 3-point strategy for passing CXC Maths with a grade 1: Step 1 – revise and master grade 1 to 6 maths, beginning with mastering 1 to 12 times tables followed by mastering addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and decimals. Next revise and master ratios, proportions and powers or indices; Step 2 – Master addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and fractions in algebra; Step 3 – Revise and master basic shapes and measurements including area, perimeter, volume, circumference of squares, polygons and rectangles; Step 4 – Apply these concepts to more advanced topics like sets, matrices, vectors, functions and relations and trigonometry which are easily mastered if you have mastered the topics in Steps 1 to 3; Step 5 – Work past exam papers and memorize the solutions to every question.

The key point of all of the above is that what many students call difficult topics in mathematics are very simple to master if primary level arithmetic, algebra and geometry are mastered. So, the main problem that leads to the high failure rate in CXC maths is the high number of students who enter and leave secondary school without ever mastering primary school maths. The only solution to the problem is to postpone advancement to secondary level maths until students achieve almost perfect scores in primary level math. It takes no more than one academic year to take a mature student from mastery of primary level math to CXC grade 1 level. At least that has been my experience in teaching matured students at Computer World College.

Dr. Frederick Duncan

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