Why Do I Need To Learn Math?

What can a math exam teach you about life? When will you ever need all those formulas, equations, rates and diagrams again? When will you ever use this again? With the passing of many topics, syllabuses and exams, it’s sometimes hard to see how the content you’re being taught now, is going to help you later.

The truth is, a strong basic math education may serve you better in life than almost any other school subject. And you don’t have to be interested in a STEM-oriented career (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to benefit from its many uses. Math is such a large part of our lives, that we use it many times a day without even realising it.

Math has many uses around your home

Algebra can help you adjust recipes for a larger number of guests. With ratios, you can work out the chlorine-to-water ratio for your pool. You need to understand different dosages when taking medicine, whether in grams or millilitres. Calculating the area of an object has many uses for home renovators, who need to select the amount of paint for the walls or parquetry for the floors, or even check if the quote for the bathroom tiling is correct. Google is good, but knowledge is better.

Being good with money is essential for life

Are you an hourly earner? Confirm your paycheck by multiplying your working hours by your rate of pay. Paying bills involves a bit of math too, making sure you’re not paying more than you need to be. Maybe you’re looking at getting a car loan or a home loan? You’ll need to work out how long it will take to pay off that mortgage. Working within a budget is how people generate wealth. The process of paying off loans, increasing savings and then reinvesting your money again, is a tried and true method to achieving financial security and prosperity. It’s a way to set your life up comfortably, and reap the rewards of more frequent holidays, recreational activities and downtime.

If you want to run a business, whatever it may be, you better be good at math

The expenses you’re paying, and the income you’re earning are not the same. How do you know if your business is doing well? How do you know how much you actually earned? You need to learn about balance sheets. If you’ve got business partners, you need to be able to distribute the funds you earn together, according to the percentage share each of you own in the business. I once had to explain to a couple of business partners how that works. Their arguments were getting quite heated, which was seriously affecting their relationship and business activities.

Math is a universal language

If you want to travel, math is going to allow you to communicate with locals on price, quantity or the time the next tour bus leaves. Travelling abroad also means you need some understanding of the exchange rate of currencies. Although currencies change all the time, the process of calculating the exchange rate remains the same, because of algebra. The combined cost of your groceries doesn’t change, regardless of whether the total is in dollars, Euros or Yen. Algebra gives you the ability to easily convert your Australian dollars into the local currency, and back again. As I jokingly say to my students, “algebra is everywhere…”

Learning math develops your critical thinking skills

Your brain needs practice to tell the difference between a real news source and a clever piece of advertising, or think differently from your group of friends. Math trains your brain to think logically, and deduce and reason effectively for yourself. Some of the world’s greatest philosophers were also mathematicians. If you’re interested, look up Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz or Blaise Pascal just to name a few. I’ll leave you with this thought – they were geniuses, and they studied math.

How to Develop Positive Habits that Last a Lifetime

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.

Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy (1926)

Our day to day lives are shaped by habits: either positive or negative. The results that we see today, are the outcome of the habits we had yesterday.

Study, work, extracurricular activities and personal relationships strongly influence our lives, behaviours and perceptions. For high school students, making the transition into young adults and taking responsibility for their own behaviours, is the first step to academic success.

Why, you ask? As a student, your job is to learn, and process new information. Being aware of the behaviours you have, gives you the opportunity to develop them into positive habits, and excel at whatever you want to achieve. 

To Study Or Not To Study? That Is The Question!

High School Studying

The HSC Trials can be counted as mere weeks away. For most of your subjects, the Trials are the last exam for which you can hopefully improve your assessment rankings. This will inadvertently affect the mark that contributes towards the calculation of your ATAR. With this is mind, now is the most critical time to be studying and preparing for the Trials. In our observation of students over the last 25 years, those who were better prepared for the Trials performed remarkably better in their ATARs than those who were not.

How to study for your HSC Trials this holiday

1. Prepare a study timetable. Cover all the subjects evenly. You should be aiming for about 9 hours of study a day. Break them up into three-hour blocks separated by one-hour rest breaks. By the end of the week, there should be at least 24 hours. Do this for both weeks.

2. Prepare a study timetable for the exam period. What and how will you study for those days between your Trials exam? Plan it! Don’t waste that time.

3. Commit to it and Study! Wake up and follow your timetable. Commit to it and if you have trouble following it, share it with someone who will hold you accountable to it. Put it up on the fridge and let everyone know what you’re doing and when.

How to study during the HSC Trials exam period

You really should only be revising your notes the night before the exam. There’s no point burning the midnight oil and making yourself too tired for the next day. If you have days in between, follow the three-hour blocks and keeping working towards all your subjects.

Practice! Revise! Survive!

After the Trials exams

Once you have sat your last Trials exam, it’s time to de-stress and relax. Give yourself at least a week, if possible two weeks, off before you look at revising for the HSC exams. Ideally, 6 – 7 weeks should be sufficient for HSC revision. These last weeks are also the time of year to enjoy the formalities of the remainder of your high school days. The bulk of your study should have been long done before.

In conclusion

It’s all about the Trials. Everything else needs to come in second place. Remember thirteen years of your academic life has accumulated to these final weeks.

In essence, if you’re not putting in the maximum effort into your Trial studies, you are not studying for your HSC.

After these exams, you’ll have plenty of time to ease off and enjoy your final school year festivities. If you need help creating your study timetable or need study help, feel free to contact your tutors. We’re here to answer your questions – even out of the classroom. We wish you all the best Year 12, and good luck!

Why you shouldn’t be worried about the NAPLAN

Assessment-Testing | Rockdale Coaching College

Ever since NAPLAN’s inception in 2008, a rise of panic from students, teachers and parents alike all start to compound at the beginning of Term 2. Many young students find themselves filled with anxiety while parents and teachers attempt to cram in the crucial ‘basic skills’ requirements. What is it about this examination period that causes so much stress?

What is the NAPLAN?

The NAPLAN is a series of assessment examinations that attempt to take a “snapshot” of a student’s academic performance. The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual assessment for all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. There are four tests done over a series of three days including Language conventions, Writing, Reading Comprehension and Numeracy.

Why all the pressure and where is it coming from?

Where there are reports and points of comparisons – not just across classrooms but nationwide – it can easily become a point of contention for schools and students alike. Students feel pressure to perform well even when they know it’s only meant to measure the current year’s overall performance. There have been concerns raised to us tutors about the nerves students have felt, especially amongst primary school students. The formality and announcement reminders add to reinforce the idea to students of the tests’ importance. The NAPLAN is used along with other criteria to rank schools on the MySchool website, adding an extra burden on teachers from schools looking to boost their performance rankings. Teachers have been in the past judged harshly on their teaching abilities, with little look at the students’ abilities, the school resources and even the area’s socioeconomics.

Why you shouldn’t panic about the NAPLAN

Keep Calm It's Only NAPLAN | Rockdale Coaching College

Here are some things to think about and also to remind your child of on these assessment days.

1. It is NOT the ‘be all and end all’ of a child’s knowledge. The NAPLAN is not a comprehensive study and examiner of your child’s knowledge and capabilities. It doesn’t test their musical, listening, sporting or oral skills. It cannot tell you if your child is artistically bright or a great scientific learner. It covers only the basics in a small window of knowledge.

2. Less focus on you – more focus on the school. Remind kids it’s a helpful tool to see how schools are doing and what areas they can work on. It eases personal pressure off students if they understand how the tests are useful and helpful tools – as opposed to being something that judges them.

3. The results don’t determine anything. As it takes several months to compile the results, the learning that is gained from the early days of the school year isn’t taken into account. The results for most parents and teachers just provide a good snapshot of a moment. The results do not stop you from changing maths groups and reading groups. It doesn’t determine your high school offerings. It is simply a tool of comparative measure – across schools, states and year groups. It shouldn’t change anything in a student’s schooling life. Practice will help calm a student as it helps them become familiar with the format and examination process but if they do not know those basic skills by the time they sit the test, they are not going to learn it in the last days beforehand. Just let it be. Practice only for familiarity’s sake.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to speak to your tutors. You can contact our Primary School Coordinator Jennyfer directly on 0422 342 261.