How should I take notes for Preliminary and HSC Mathematics?

Maths can be a confusing subject when thinking about how to take notes. It can be especially daunting at first since it is a course that is heavily reliant on problem solving skills and continual practice rather than memorisation. It can be tricky to decide on how to write up notes to study from for maths but here are a few tips that really helped me get through maths!


  • Have a 1 page summary for each topic and keep all the essential formulas/concepts on this page. Although it may seem like there is a heap of content since you are doing questions in class all the time, if you look at the actual theoretical knowledge (e.g. formulas, symbols, etc.) you are required to know, it really isn’t that much compared to your other subjects.


  • Following the 1 page summary write a few detailed worked solutions of different question styles, especially the difficult questions! Try not to overload these examples with easy questions, look for hard questions in past papers and the textbook. 


  • Whilst doing textbook exercises and past papers throughout the year, keep note of which questions were difficult. Then when exams edge closer, redo these hard questions. This saves you from wasting time looking for questions to practice on before your exams! It also focuses your attention on questions that you are struggling with, preventing you from wasting time on questions you are confident with 


  • Make sure to keep your Year 11 notes as you progress into Year 12 as you will need these! All the content that you have covered in Year 11 is assumed knowledge for your HSC course and you can expect to come across Year 11 content questions in both your internal school assessments as well as the final HSC Exam. It may be a good idea to have a small notebook dedicated to all your maths theory across both Year 11 and 12 – this would be a great resource for you to study from. 


These are just some of the strategies that I used whilst I was in high school and these techniques may not suit everyone. Whilst you are still in year 11 make sure to experiment with different methods of study to find out what suits you best – not only for maths but for all your subjects. If you are struggling to take notes for maths, have a go using some of the strategies listed above to see if you find them as helpful as I found them!


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