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Getting stressed over maths working - any ideas? watch

1. I was doing some STEP prep (but this concerns my A-level competency!!!) and I was feeling good because I got the difficult bit, if you like, conceptually and I knew it was just a case of doing the routine algebra.

Then I find out why my answer is nothing like the solution - it's because I go from

x^2+cx + ... ---> (x-c/2)^2 - ....

I always have been particularly prone to making these kind of mistakes but I feel I'm getting worse again. I just need some tips or something to help stop doing this, or noticing it before it's too late.

plz help guys
2. (Original post by DrSebWilkes)
I was doing some STEP prep (but this concerns my A-level competency!!!) and I was feeling good because I got the difficult bit, if you like, conceptually and I knew it was just a case of doing the routine algebra.

Then I find out why my answer is nothing like the solution - it's because I go from

x^2+cx + ... ---> (x-c/2)^2 - ....

I always have been particularly prone to making these kind of mistakes but I feel I'm getting worse again. I just need some tips or something to help stop doing this, or noticing it before it's too late.

plz help guys
Do you mean you just made a sign error but if you were to think about it you know it should be +?

Also, if you're not posting in the STEP thread, please post maths questions in the Maths forum. I've moved this thread for you.
3. (Original post by Notnek)
Do you mean you just made a sign error but if you were to think about it you know it should be +?

Also, if you're not posting in the STEP thread, please post maths questions in the Maths forum. I've moved this thread for you.
Cheers for that then

Yeah that's all it was, but even in the past-paper homeworks we get in school it keeps cropping up ... little tiny things where I copy something down wrong from the line above or miss out a scaling factor

(The other day I had a 2 du/dx = k, and then the next line read du=k*dx so ofc I get that all wrong by a factor of 2)

I'm panicking because my A-levels aren't even that far away!!!!
4. it's a matter of focus. are you doing maths while listening to loud music/playing golf/playing guitar/swimming, or something else distracting?
If so, then stop it.
Practice doing some TIMED past paper questions with target initially of 1mark/min. If that's too easy, try 2marks/min.
Or do a whole past paper as fast as you can.

NB do these practices with NO OTHER DISTRACTIONS.
ie no phone, no FB, no TSR, no TV, no music, etc.

See if that makes a difference.
Once you've completed a paper/practice set, find some useful ways of checking your answers BEFORE you use mark scheme.

hth
5. (Original post by DrSebWilkes)
Cheers for that then

Yeah that's all it was, but even in the past-paper homeworks we get in school it keeps cropping up ... little tiny things where I copy something down wrong from the line above or miss out a scaling factor

(The other day I had a 2 du/dx = k, and then the next line read du=k*dx so ofc I get that all wrong by a factor of 2)

I'm panicking because my A-levels aren't even that far away!!!!
Thanks to the person who repped me to remind me to reply to this

So when you're making these mistakes it's easy to come to the conclusion that others are naturally less mistake prone or that certain people have a way of tackling questions that stops them making mistakes. This may be true for a few students but for the majority it just takes practice to stop making these mistakes. The more papers you do, the less likely you are to make mistakes not just because you've had more practice with the questions but also because the methods come to your mind faster so you have more time to slow down and make sure every line of working is correct.

Also, when you make these mistakes it is very annoying so it's easy to dwell on these negatives but actually you may not making as many mistakes as you think you are. Everyone makes mistakes in A Level but the most important thing is that you check your work well and can find these mistake plus you give yourself enough time in the exam to check your work.

I bet that in a few months time you'll have stopped making these mistakes and be ready for the exams. Just keep doing past papers

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