In the previous article, we have discussed some tips on the ways to face maths. In this article, we will take a look at how to interpret the questions. I would liken maths to be similar to a language, such as English. The essential thing is to convert the words into mathematical notations and representations so as to proceed to solve a particular question. We will look at a few tips for PSLE problem sums. Remember that in maths, knowing is never enough; practice makes perfect!
#1 – Convert Percentages/Decimals into Fractions
Questions dealing with decimals and percentages (especially percentages) can be tricky. Percentages is ALWAYS based on a particular set of values. If the percentage changes, DO NOT calculate based on the old values! To be safe, convert the percentage into fraction and then draw the necessary models
#2 – Important Information is always AFTER the word ‘OF’
Students tend to focus on just the values/numbers given in the questions. In fact, the more important parts are hidden in words. For example, ‘John spends 1/3 of his salary on food, 1/4 of the remainder on transport and saves the rest.’ In this sentence, students need to focus on the parts after the word ‘of’, as they mean different things – first part will tell you to draw a model for the entire salary and the second one will draw your attention to what is remaining after the expenditure on food.
#3 – Take Note of Any Units after Fractions
Many students actually get confused over this. When there is a unit after a fraction, the fraction is treated like a number. However, when there is no unit after the fraction, this means that you have to draw a model into the number of parts mentioned in the fraction. For example, ‘John spends 1/3 of his salary on food’ means that you have to draw a model with 3 units and indicate 1 unit is spent on food by shading.
So, with these tips in mind, you can interpret the questions with better knowledge and efficiency.