The Chinese Mathematical system is famous for its rigourous approach, as opposed to the practical and investigative Western tradition. At SCIE we recognise this and aim to build on the strengths of both systems to develop the mathematical skills of our students.
In G1 there are six lessons of Mathematics each week. Some of these are used to prepare students for the IGCSE Mathematics (code 0580) examinations. The purpose of these is to fill in the topics which are required for the external examination which have not been covered by the students in their previous Chinese mathematics curriculum and to make students aware of differences in notation, or style of question, which exist between the two systems.
IGCSE Mathematics questions involve considerable basic numerical work and calculation. Hence the use of an electronic calculator is essential and every student must have a scientific calculator which satisfies the CIE regulations. We currently recommend the Casio fx350 or similar model with a Natural Display.
There is also accurate drawing of graphs, statistical diagrams and loci — students need geometric instruments particularly a compass and protractor.
In June 2009 more than 85% of our students achieved A or A* in the IGCSE examination.
As well as preparing our students for the IGCSE mathematics exam, we also teach Higher Mathematics. This is a challenging course designed to build on the mathematical knowledge our students acquired in the Chinese system and to begin their study of A Level mathematics with appropriate topics chosen from the AS maths course.
Students will develop a deeper understanding of mathematical principles and will learn to apply the skills that they have in mathematical situations.
Topics covered include quadratics, coordinate geometry, sequences and series, functions, trigonometry, exponentials and logarithms.
Students should also remember that at IGCSE and at A Level, marks are awarded for method as well as the answer. Students need to show clearly the processes used, not just focus on producing numerical answers.