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    Edexcel A Level Maths Discussion Thread - 2018 Edition

    Hey guys, I thought I'd make this niiiiiice and early so we can all share how we're preparing for our Maths exams this year?

    Mechanics 2
    Date: Friday 15th June 2018
    Time: Afternoon
    Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
    Days to go?: 100

    Probably the most important way to prepare for maths is to do plenty of past papers! You can find all Edexcel Maths past papers here.

    Also, Physics & Maths Tutor has some good resources for revision - everything from revision notes to questions on specific topics. Materials for M2 can be found here.

    Good luck with the preparations everyone, let the countdown commence!

    Other Edexcel Exam Threads:
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    Edexcel A2 Core Maths C3
    Edexcel A2 Core Maths C4
    Edexcel AS Mechanics M1
    Edexcel AS Statistics S1
    Edexcel A2 Statistics S2
    Edexcel AS Decision Maths D1
    Edexcel A2 Decision Maths D2
    Edexcel AS Further Pure FP1
    Edexcel A2 Further Pure FP2
    Edexcel A2 Further Pure FP3
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    I'll post the same tips as I did last year. I'll have another look and add to them at some point:

    Edexcel M2 Tips

    Get used to trying some projectile questions by considering energy since you won't be used to this after doing so many Chapter 1 questions. Often the easier method for Edexcel projectile questions is to use energy and the question may or may not tell you this. And other question types e.g. particle on slope may not tell you to use energy but try not to use old M1 methods - the question writers often design the question so that considering energy is the quickest and easiest method.

    Work/Energy questions can sometimes ask for the work done e.g. in dragging a particle up a slope. The common mistake is to only calculate the work done against resistance (usually friction) but you have to add this to the work done against gravity, which is the same as the change in GPE.

    Remember that impulse is a vector and some questions won't explicitly give you the vectors but will give you magnitudes/directions instead. If you are asked to find or use impulse in a question like this then I recommend putting the initial velocity, final velocity and impulse in vectors form before you do any calculations. For example, if you are told a particle before the impulse is moving horizontally to the right with speed 30 then write this write . Once you've done this then these questions are often just a simple application of the formula . I'm mainly talking here about impulse seen outside of collisions questions. For collision questions you can use impulse in the same way as you did in M1.

    For centre of mass questions, draw big diagrams and spend a few seconds thinking about where the COM will lie before you do any work. Then check if your answer seems correct once you've found the COM. For uniform laminas, the COM will always lie on lines of symmetry so there's no point wasting time finding e.g. the x-coordinate of the COM if it's obvious. Follow up questions can often involve new forces acting and for these questions it can be useful to treat the question as a Chapter 5 moments question. A lamina may be hanging from a point and you can treat this point as the hinge. Also for COM questions make sure you know whether you're dealing with a lamina or a framework before you start - it isn't always obvious by looking at the diagram.

    For collisions questions, if the question doesn't tell you and it's not obvious which way one of the particles will move after a collision, you need to choose a direction for the velocity and it's often simpler to choose the same direction as the other particle which has velocity say, remembering that could be positive or negative. Then for the relative speed you can use and this will work if is positive or negative. If you are told which way the particle will move then choose this direction for your . In a case like this you know that so you can use that information in inequalities questions which are common in M2 papers. Also for inequalities questions, the fact that and whether a particle catches up with another (e.g. ) can be useful.

    For calculating moments it can be a good idea to get used to the two methods : 1) Directly multiply the force by the perp. distance of the line of action to the point, 2) First resolve the force into components. This will give you a choice in the exam so you can revert to a different method if you're struggling.

    Remember your M1 knowledge : for friction and only when there is limiting equilibrium or the particle is moving. Don't always assume that .

    Look out for "constant speed" in M2 questions, which of course means that there is no acceleration/resultant force. I find it surprising how many students miss this.

    For people aiming for the top grade, once you have tried a lot of the standard Edexcel papers I recommend looking at the IAL papers which are harder. Also, have a go at AQA and OCR to get a feel for different style questions. You'll sometimes be doing questions that would never be in Edexcel but it's good practice to use your knowledge to try something a bit different.
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