Concept First Physics and Math Learning Centre In Singapore
Blog Title Template

Secondary 3 and 4 students know just how demanding mathematics becomes at the upper secondary levels.

Even those who did well in math during lower secondary may find themselves facing difficulties in comprehending the new concepts and complex problems introduced in Sec 3 and 4. In order to guarantee success in your O Level or graduating exams during your Year 4 IP exams, it is crucial to have a strong command over these notoriously challenging topics.

These topics will be covered during our June Holiday Intensive Revision Courses, so if you need more support for these topics, you can join our holiday courses or our regular classes for the same content.

Indices and Surds

One of the most challenging mathematical concepts encountered by students in Upper Secondary is surds, indices, and logarithms. The challenge? Knowing the rules and simplifying expressions.

The numerical concepts of indices, surds, and logarithms are closely connected and are commonly taught in advanced secondary education. It is essential for students to have a good understanding of how to manipulate these numbers, as they often involve abstract irrational numbers that can be challenging to comprehend. Additionally, relying on a calculator for help is limited for this topic, as many problems require students to show workings clearly and present answers in the correct form.

In order to excel, it is important to gain ample practice so that the techniques for manipulating these expressions become ingrained. If you encounter difficulties in this topic, be sure to tell your tutor your challenges so that they can assist you, whether through clarifying the concepts, offering practice problems suitable for your level, or identifying any recurring errors.


The giant in secondary school mathematics, trigonometry is a big topic that covers a vast amount of material. It starts with understanding the relationship between angles and sides of a triangle, but builds up to encompass trigonometric identities, proofs, and the differentiation of trigonometric functions.

Our tutors highly suggest using the method of visualising the problem for both word problems and basic trigonometry problems. By drawing a triangle and labelling its angles and sides, the problem becomes easier to understand and less daunting to solve.

When tackling complex problems that require proofs, identities, and functions, the key to success is practice, lots of it! While you have no way but to memorise some trigonometric identities, one technique our tutors teach is to understand how some of them relate to each other, which makes deriving them easier (less memory work!).

Calculus: Differentiation and Integration

Most students are introduced to the concepts of differentiation and integration for the first time in upper sec. Differentiation deals with the rate of change, while integration involves calculating the total amount and finding the area under a curve. A solid understanding of algebraic manipulation, functions, and graphs is crucial in doing well for these concepts. Advanced differentiation may also involve complex mathematical concepts such as surds, indices, logarithms, and trigonometry, which can be particularly challenging for those who do not have a strong foundation in these topics.

Because calculus involves so many aspects and interlinks with previous topics, excelling in this topic can be challenging. Furthermore, there are numerous types of questions, making it necessary to spend a significant amount of time to practice.

Our tutors know how overwhelming studying calculus can be, so we have broken it down into systematic subtopics and guided practices for you. Find out more about our Secondary Math Tuition classes by enquiring or scheduling a FREE consultation.

Conquering Difficult Concepts in Mathematics

These topics, which are commonly considered some of the most difficult for upper secondary students, do not have to be a source of struggle for you. Our knowledgeable and approachable Math tutors are available to provide you with useful guidance on how to conquer these topics and beyond. With the aid of carefully curated worksheets, concise topic summaries, and valuable study tips accumulated from their extensive teaching background, you will gain a deeper understanding of these subjects and improve your performance in math at school!

Contact us to sign up for class and gain a renewed sense of confidence in math!