The secondary school in Nigeria has six years, which consists of Junior Secondary School abbreviated to 'JSS' and Senior Secondary School abbreviated to 'SSS' or just 'SS'. Students spend three years in each, and they will experience many changes in the topics and subjects they are going to be taught.
The subjects are going to be a little harder to understand this time than primary school, secondary school maths will have new topics you have never heard of, and so will the other subjects. It will take some time before they learn to adapt to their new environment.
Joining a secondary school in Nigeria for the first time is not only cool, but it is also like carrying a badge of honour for the family. At the end of your secondary school journey, you are expected to write the SSCE Exams, a national exam written every year by graduating students.
There are about 6 to 8 different types of the SSCE exams, but the main ones include the WAEC, NECO and GCE Exams. They consist of 8-9 subjects, English and maths WAEC are compulsory subjects to take.
And this is what we shall be discussing today, secondary school maths. You will learn all about the Maths WAEC exams, get some tips and tricks on revising for your maths WAEC and how you can prepare yourself for mathematics at the university.
These are burning questions a lot of students want answered, so we decided here at Superprof to give you an explanation and a complete guide to maths WAEC.
What To Expect From Senior Secondary School Maths
Senior secondary school is a critical stage in one’s school life. People often have fond memories of their secondary school life. It is where you will learn the most maths formulas, and also when you will write the SSCE Maths Exams, which you will sit for in SS3.
In between, there is the Junior WAEC, written when a student is in JSS3, but unlike senior WAEC you cannot be hired for a job with a Junior WAEC certificate. It is mainly just an exam to qualify for senior secondary school.
SS3 is the culmination of everything you have studied plus a final exam that will determine your fate in the future, the SSCE Maths exams. When someone is up against the SSCE Maths it is advisable to keep a cool head and revise as much as possible.
Some of the ways you can better prepare for the maths WAEC is by getting a maths tutor and buying maths past papers, but more on that later. We are now going to show you what mathematics is going to be like in secondary school.
The Maths Syllabus
The maths syllabus for secondary school consists of some very important topics that are going to stay relevant for the rest of your life. Algebra, for instance, has a huge influence on many math concepts and solutions.
It is used in almost every place where numbers can be substituted, and it is a central part of the secondary school maths syllabus. It is where you first learn about algebra.
Some other topics in the secondary school maths syllabus that you will come across that also form a great bond with the rest of mathematics include;
Powers and roots, etc.
Each one of these topics has several subtopics within them, and are going to be treated as individual topics in class.
The maths’ syllabus is an essential tool for learning, you will be better prepared for the next lesson and you can even go through your next lesson by reading it up from a maths textbook before the teacher starts teaching it in the class.
This means you can be a step ahead of every maths lesson before it even occurred, unlike in primary school where you are limited by the speed of the teaching process. Most schools make it a point that their students must have a copy of the scheme of work as it is called, that is the maths syllabus because they know secondary school maths need an intervention from the students themselves sometimes.
When it’s time for exams, the maths syllabus serves as a great revision tool. It helps you keep track of what to read, and how far in the curriculum you have covered.
And it also helps you come up with a revision timetable since you cannot just select any topic from a textbook just because it is there, you need to use what the teacher has taught you because what he taught you are sure to come out in your exams.
SS3 Class And The SSCE Maths Exams
Besides an introduction to a few new topics, most of your SS3 maths lessons will be a revision of previous lessons from previous classes, right from SS1.
At SS3, they are preparing you for the SSCE Exams. Everything you have learned will be put to the test in this exam. Topics are randomly selected from all parts of the curriculum, you can’t really tell where the question is coming from.
Maths WAEC is especially tricky for newbies, it usually has two sections, a theory, and objectives section, the theory part has about five questions which are a mixture of mandatory and optional questions and are longer in form, while the objectives part have about 100 questions.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when faced with maths WAEC, whether you are writing it for the first time or you are re-siting the exams, the tips here are useful on both accounts.
Tips For A Successful Maths WAEC
Maths WAEC can be a little intimidating, you may feel stressed especially if this is your first time, but don’t worry, it is normal to feel that way, most students do think that maths is a stressful subject.
But when you are prepared for the exams, it will boost your confidence levels and effectively remove the stress part. Below are some tips you should use to conquer maths WAEC.
Revise On A Daily Basis
Sitting around and watching TV cannot be one of your daily routines anymore, it has to go, or at least it has to be drastically reduced. Replace it with a revision timetable. You have to revise daily to achieve top scores in the maths WAEC exams.
SSCE Maths is compulsory to get a pass, either a C6 or above in your result to qualify for applying to a university. All the more reason why your full attention is needed before and during the exams.
Focus on reading and practicing what you have learned in class daily until you master it. Not only in maths however, practice and read all the other SSCE subjects you are writing.
Hire A Maths Tutor
Hiring a maths teacher will greatly improve your chances of success in the SSCE maths exams. A maths tutor is there to help you revise. They can answer your questions and help you solve difficult math problems.
The greatest advantage of having a maths tutor is that you get to learn on a one-on-one basis with them, they will teach you at your own pace and the lessons are personalized to suit your learning preferences.
You can find a tutor online and even take the lessons online if you wish, you don’t have to go to a tutor's place and he doesn’t have to come to yours. Both of you can just plug in your laptops and enjoy the lesson via webcam. You can find tutors on websites such as ours, Superprof, we have maths tutors in Nigeria and from all over the globe. Take your pick.
Get Maths WAEC Past Papers
One of the most effective revision methods is to find maths WAEC past papers to practice with. They let you have a feel of the exam even before it commences.
That is an advantage you won’t get from any textbook or copied note. When you are in SS3, some lesson periods will be dedicated wholly to revising with past papers. You can download maths WAEC past papers from the official WAEC/WASSCE website here.
Learn Maths Online
The internet is a student’s best friend. It is a great repository of knowledge so use it wisely during the maths WAEC exams. Websites such as BBC’s bitesize and khanacademy.org, are great examples of places you can go to learn more maths. Some of the websites have tests you can take after every chapter or reading session.
Advanced Level Maths; What To Expect
After your secondary school maths, it is time to move on to mathematics at the university level, known as advanced level maths or simply A level maths. It is more difficult, the equations become more complex and the topics become even more challenging.
Some of the topics in this A level maths are going to be extensions of topics you have already covered in secondary school, but for the most part, you will be dealing with new topics. You may be lucky enough to have known some of them while learning further maths in secondary school.
The maths A level curriculum includes topics such as matrix, vectors, differentiation, geometry and mechanics. With A level maths, you are required to take the initiative in learning, so you won’t be reminded to take a book, or be given special attention, etc. Just know that when it comes to university maths, your fate rests in your hands.