Secondary School maths can be challenging but it is very exciting at the same time. Now you would really have the chance to begin learning maths formulas used by real engineers and solve maths associated with real-life scenarios, even though it might be just a little.

And also, part of the maths problems you will be solving will involve questions that will comprise of multiple maths topics together, you will have to interconnect the topics to solve the maths problem, maths concepts you must have learned as distinct topics when you were in primary school.

Your secondary school maths teachers will be there to show you how. Secondary school maths is sure to introduce you to many new topics that you will find very interesting. The best way to explain how maths in secondary school is a bit superior is by giving you an example. Take for instance, in your primary school you learned how to calculate the perimeter or length of a rectangle, and perhaps the formula for the volume too.

Secondary school maths in Nigeria will teach you how to calculate the volume of your rectangular desk, and how to find the volume of food your lunch boxes can carry. Another example of topics that interconnect and that rely on each other to be solved is the use of Word Problem to solve other math problems.

For instance, Word Problem can be used to solve the perimeter and length of a shape, when you were in primary school you learned it as a stand-alone topic.

Secondary school begins at Junior Secondary School (JSS), things will gradually begin to build up as you are approaching the senior secondary level, or SSS. There, you will learn to solve complex maths problems, and that is where you will have to prepare for your SSCE Maths.

The maths you learn at the senior secondary class will help introduce you to advanced level maths courses ie mathematics that is learned at the university. Before anyone gets to start A-level maths in Nigeria, they have to understand the maths concepts taught in secondary school.

To get a taste of advanced level maths, you can join Further Maths classes. The subject is optional in most schools, it is, however, often made compulsory for science students, but if you are not a science student you may still have a shot at it, because of its optional nature.

Maths for secondary school gradually increases in difficulty.
Maths really begins at secondary school. Source: Tim Geers via / CC BY-SA

Maths as a subject, on the other hand, is mandatory for all Nigerian students. It is a requirement to pass maths and English language in SSCE exams before being promoted to the next class/level.

To be good at maths for secondary school, it is a requirement for you to practice daily, revise during exam times, especially during the SSCE Maths, and by getting a maths tutor if you are experiencing difficulty with understanding some of your classwork and maths concepts.

There are many other ways to improve your maths proficiency at school, you have millions of websites providing free knowledge and you can make flashcards yourself. But we are just going to concentrate on the major ways you can improve your maths and become good at secondary school maths and the SSCE maths exams.

When Do You Write The SSCE Maths Exams?

At the end of your SS3, your knowledge of mathematics will be tested with the SSCE Maths exams. The annual exam is written by those about to graduate secondary school, namely, SS3 students. There are about four to five different types of SSCE exams, depending on your need and the time of year you are prepared to write the exams.

You can write maths WAEC at the early onset in April/May, and NECO around October/November, or write any of the private exams such as WASSCE usually written at the end of the year around December. You can even find some written at the beginning of the year so that you don’t have to wait till April.

The most common ones written in SS3 are WAEC and NECO, these two exams are endorsed by the Nigerian government for secondary schools, WAEC and NECO have more recognition than the other exams such as GCE. And it is a requirement that you have to be enrolled in a secondary school as a student at the time you will be writing the exams.

Those that are re-siting the exam or for one reason or the other have not registered for the exam while they were still in secondary school will be able to sit for Private WASSCE/NECO Exams, similar to maths WAEC but this time you can register as an outsider (or non-student) in private centers.

SSCE maths need lots of practice.
You need to practice a lot after you have registered for the SSCE maths. Source:

So it is no surprise that many students either chose WAEC or NECO or both, the reason for this is that they can combine the result of both exams to increase their chances of getting all the subjects that mattered to them. So that if you have a deficiency in one, the other can make up for it.

You are even allowed to combine results from two different exams that are not written in the same year, for example, you can write two different SSCE exams one in 2013 and the other in 2012, and then combine the result when asked to present it. However, you can’t present a WAEC and WAEC result, you can only present two different types of the SSCE exam, such as WAEC and NECO or GCE.

The limit is two years apart, so you can’t go combining results from 2010 and 2019. That is way too far apart.

More than 50% of your focus should be in SSCE Maths because maths determines whether you will be granted admission or not in most courses in most universities in this country. So above all else, make sure you have the revision tools for maths WAEC ready, and that you use them effectively to pass the exams.

Let’s look at some of the main tools for maths exam revision, starting with the Maths syllabus for secondary school.

The SSCE Maths Syllabus

The maths syllabus is like a scheme of work but one that contains a series of topics that your exam questions will be drafted from. It will also contain notes and guidelines for students to read. In general, it serves as a guide for students who are about to sit for their SSCE maths exams.

The topics all come from your normal school maths curriculum, so your maths teacher will cover most of the topics with you during maths lessons. But even so, you have to practice what is in the maths syllabus for that year, because it is what's most likely to appear in your exams and it narrows down your area of concentration significantly.

You will come across topics that are easy and those that are hard. Some of the topics usually reappear every single year because of their significance in maths, you will always tend to find them in the maths syllabus for each year.

Topics such as algebra and geometry. This is an excerpt from a page of the WAEC syllabus for SSCE maths, read carefully and mind the notes.

Maths WAEC syllabus sample.
Sample screenshot of a maths WAEC syllabus. Source:

Downloading And Using The WAEC Timetable

When preparing for any exam, using the exam timetable is one of your greatest tools for revision. The WAEC and all the other SSCE exams have timetables that are released a few weeks before the exams. Sometimes, even months before the exams.

Having a copy of this timetable gives you time to prepare and get in the mood for reading and practicing for your maths WAEC. The WAEC timetable can be found from various educational websites in Nigeria.

Revising what you learned at school is a sure-fire way to ensure success in your exams, and the timetable is key to achieving that success. So, grab a copy of your timetable to know when your maths WAEC is due, then sit and revise against the impending exam.

Finding Help With Maths For Secondary School

Most often, students find it hard to cope with all that is going on in their maths class in secondary school, it is just so overwhelming. But luckily, if you are having such a hard time it is easy to fix it.

Finding and hiring the services of a maths tutor can be of great benefit to you or your child. Your child facing challenges in maths is not uncommon in secondary school, or any level of school in fact. Their lagging behind is not always because they are unserious as most teachers will surmise, but because perhaps they just need that extra help.

Those that are about to write their maths WAEC need the private maths teachers the most because obviously, they have special reasons to be concerned about the outcome of their next result. So, endeavor to find out if your child needs the assistance of a tutor.

Or if you are the one in need of the tutor so that they can teach you maths, then be pleased to know that it is fairly easy to find a maths tutor ready to help you dominate those exam scores, SSCE, Maths WAEC, NECO, and whatever SS3 throws at you, we believe you will be ready.

Are you ready and do you have what it takes to start advanced level maths in Nigeria? And let us help you find Maths past questions.

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Hafiz is a freelance writer who has an appetite for creativity and smart tech. He also dabbles in poetry.