As the year progress don’t let further become your bludge subject because putting in a small amount of effort throughout the year can be really rewarding. For me personally, I made sure I was always ahead on content because a lot of ideas presented in Further you will have come across before. Being ahead gave me more time to prepare for SACs thus giving me an advantage over some of my fellow classmates. I also did lots of practice questions that weren’t in the textbook. The textbook questions are quite different from the style of questions in the exam so it’s a good idea to get hold of a checkpoints book or topic-based question book so that you can develop and put into practice your Further knowledge.
In Further, it is really important to do well in SACs because, of course, they impact your study score. As a general rule, it is easier to score higher in Further SACs than in SACs for other subjects, thus it is really important to push yourself to do the best you possibly can. For me, I became a bit of a perfectionist with my SACs getting 98% and two 100% marks. Looking back, this wasn’t just because I was good at maths but because I had learnt and practised the content thoroughly. A few days before the sac I would write a list of all the ways I had lost marks in practice SACs or questions in the lead up to the SAC, for example; 'include all units,' 'know which type of graph to apply to particular data' and so on. Then, in the SAC, I would look at each question and ask myself, 'have I included all the units’ or ‘is this the correct representation of the data’ to make sure I minimised silly mistakes.
If you’re someone who is good at Maths don’t just focus on the fact that Further is the easiest maths and, as a result, slack off, instead work hard – getting good marks takes effort. Do lots of practice exams, analyse your mistakes, and make sure you understand the pattern of questions in the exams.
If maths is not your strong point you can still do really well in the exam. The Further exam is not so much about how good you are at maths but more about how good you are at reading the questions so that you know what is being asked and then understanding what to put into your calculator (for example, the exam always has a financial maths question that requires two calculations using finance solver). For anyone, these skills only come with practice, so you need to do lots of practice exams because it is through these practice exams that you will come to understand and recognise the patterns of questions VCAA asks.
Fundamentally, all Further exams are the same – although each exam might emphasise different areas of the content - the style of question and even the number of calculations you will need to carry out will be the same. When doing practice exams, I took photos of all the questions I got wrong or struggled with and put them in a document. I then re-answered all the questions in the document a few days before the exam then pasted them into my bound reference. To my shock, during the exam, I realised that one of the questions that I had stuck in my bound reference from a 2013 VCAA exam had been reused by VCAA in my 2020 exam. After the exam, I was talking to some people who really struggled with the question which, for me, only took 20 seconds because I had the answer in my book.
Another strategy I used in both my maths subjects was to draw a box around key parts of the question. I personally found this more effective than just highlighting parts of the question as, when I would check my answers, I would look at the boxes I made and then put a tick in the box to check off whether I covered what was being asked. Drawing these boxes stopped me from making silly mistakes on so many occasions it's defiantly worthwhile trying.
And remember, "hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."