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Mr Chen's anecdotes.


Coordinate geometry is a topic introduced in secondary 2 math. Students were introduced to the gradient of a line, the equation of a straight line, and how to solve simultaneous equations graphically.

However, upon becoming a secondary 3 student, students start to struggle with coordinate geometry. Coordinate geometry no longer seems to be as mechanical as before. Even for those who could understand the topic, few are able to consistently solve questions due to a variety of reasons.

Here are the 3 main reasons why students struggle with coordinate geometry.

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New Formulas

In sec 2 math, coordinate geometry was mainly restricted to just 3 things. The gradient, equation of a straight line, and solving of the intersection point of 2 lines via simultaneous equation or graphically.

However, in sec 3 A math and E Math, you are required to memorize a library of formulas. You will be taught the relationship between 2 lines that are perpendicular to each other. You will be required to memorize the formula for calculating the distance between 2 points, the midpoint of 2 points, the area of a polygon, and the equation of a circle. For some, the sheer number of formulas is enough to surrender.

Difficult to Understand

Coordinate geometry can be very challenging to most even if one has memorized the formulas. One of the most difficult parts of the chapter is the coordinate geometry of a circle. The equation of a circle is a major source of confusion for most students. For all other coordinate geometry questions, the y-variable has always been made the subject. Students are used to seeing equations in that form. The equation of a circle is daunting for some simply because it looks unfamiliar in a familiar topic.

Furthermore, students are also introduced to perpendicular bisectors. In the context outside of the equation of a circle, it can be understood rather easily. However, when perpendicular bisectors are implemented in the equation of circles, most students struggle to understand. Very often, students are to identify that the concept of perpendicular bisectors is to be applied by themselves. How is one supposed to identify the requirement of a question to apply perpendicular bisector when one struggles to fully grasp the concept, to begin with?

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Twist and Turns

Coordinate geometry is one of the few topics in the O level A Math and E Math syllabus to throw unexpected curve balls. It is the one topic that allows examiners to express creativity. Diagrams presented can be incredibly abstract with minimal indication of information. Students are expected to seek out the information by reading the preamble or by inferring.

Even when diagrams are presented, they may not be as helpful as one would expect. Personally, my O level A math exam paper 2 had a question on circles, fully drawn and well labeled. It was 12 marks in total. I could barely get started due to the sheer difficulty of the question.

Coordinate geometry is a topic that you simply cannot predict.

Coordinate Geometry Can Be A Headache

We, at VANTAGE TUTOR, have struggled and walked through a similar path to students when they were students themselves. We understand where you fall short and in hindsight, we also realized how we could have done better for our A Math and E Math coordinate geometry.

Currently, as Math and Physics tutors, we don’t want you to walk the same path we did with no one to direct us. We would direct you toward the right path and also set you up for success by going at your pace during class. We will achieve basic mastery before applying to problem-based questions. Furthermore, our Math and Physics tutors have a track record in helping students improve in Math for N level, O level, A level, and even IP! So hesitate no more, contact us today!

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