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Mr Chen's anecdotes.


Simultaneous equation is commonly seen in Math. Apart from lower secondary math, questions are hardly centered around solving simultaneous equations. Most of the time, solving simultaneous equations is just a means to an end. In other words, to solve for your final solution.

However, in lower secondary math, simultaneous equation is often found as a stand-alone question with a significant portion of marks allocated. It is usually easy to score as there are usually little to no twists and turns in the question.

Hence, it is imperative that we are able to identify the different types of questions centered around simultaneous equations.

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Cartesian Equations

The cartesian equation is the most commonly seen type of question in simultaneous equations for Sec 2 Math. Cartesian equations are mathematical expressions in the form of variables such as x and y. Such questions are easy to recognize. The question would state 2 equations with x and y respectively. Furthermore, there will be a significant amount of blank space made available for students to use. Questions of this type are always included in every single exam paper for sec 2 math exams.

Word Problems

Word problems are more complicated than cartesian equations. (Yes, I can sense your PTSD from Singapore Math now).

Most Singaporean students are familiar with word problems. A context will be set and communicated through a written paragraph. In such questions, students are to recognize the question to be testing the concept of solving simultaneous equations through the presence of two unknowns in the problem.

For example, you are asked to calculate and solve for the cost of both apples and oranges despite not providing any information on either of them individually. First, students are to identify apples and oranges as 2 different variables. Next, form 2 equations in terms of both apples and oranges and express them in terms of x and y. Finally, solve the 2 cartesian equations you have formed.

Word problems may cause the student to struggle mainly due to their inability to form 2 simultaneous equations in the cartesian form. For most students, upon forming the correct simultaneous equations they would be able to solve and easily secure the marks in the entire question.

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Graphical Solutions

Simultaneous equations that involve graph drawing are usually more time-consuming, but rather easy to score full credit. Graphs that involves simultaneous equation would require you to draw 2 straight lines before determining the intersection point. The corresponding x and y-coordinates of the intersection point are the solution to the simultaneous equation.

Questions that require graph drawing would have a table provided and the answer would be presented on a graph paper. Even if a student is not certain about the procedure to solve such a question, he will be able to score at least 3 marks just by following through the motion of drawing the graph.

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Easiest 5 marks of your life!

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