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On tests and examinations, start writing after you have read all problems. Then while you are doing one, your mind may have ideas for doing the others. Learning takes time and effort. No one but you can provide this for your education.

Proper notation is must. Or, improper notation means you do not how to express your ideas and solutions correctly, and so (ouch) deserve to lose marks. Avoid that if you can.

For questions in mathematics, science and technology that require written answers and you to show work, you must give (state, write) any and all formulas used in your solution and specify the values of the numbers or quantities that appear in them, you should give name of each formula (if it has one) and you should give names of any rules or physical principles used to obtain equations. Diagrams may be used by themselves or besides words to explain your shorthand notation for geometric or physical quantities. Try to to give enough information so that your answer makes sense by itself to someone who has not seen the question.

- Student A in answering the question what is the area of a rectangle that is 8 cm wide by 5 cm high writes

50

(instead of 40) alone and by itself without further explanation of how this number was obtained. He gets 0.

- Student B in answering the same question writes

50 square cm = 50 cm2

He might gets 0.5 marks out of four as the proper units are included.

- Student C in answering the same question writes

40

He gets 1 mark out of four as units do not appear. If I say I am give you 10 units of something, you do not what what you will get until the unit is specified.. Answers to mathematics should be full and precise - exact.

- Student D draws the rectangle, marks the lengths of width and height on it, write the formula, replaces letters by lengths, and then gets the wrong answer 50 cm2. His mark is 3 out of four even though he gave the same answer as student B. But the work done records the reasoning fully step by step, so the marker can observe and see evidence of what the student understands. So credit is given.

height

H = 5 cmArea A = ?

width W = 8 cm

Area A = W H

= (8 cm)(5 cm)

= 50 cm2 // Answer.

If Students D had put 40 instead of 50, his answer would have been worth 4 out of 4 (or more).

**The show work safety net:** By drawing diagrams, stating the formulas that you use , giving the values used in them, showing the substitution, and then doing the arithmetic you are demonstrating know-how and giving yourself a better chance of earning marks You may get part to full marks if the formula is correct and the arithmetic is not, or if the formula is wrong, while the arithmetic is correct. And in all this, do not abuse the equal sign.

**Abuse of Equal Signs:** Expressions of the form a = b = c means and demands a = b and a = c. For instance in computing the average of numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4, it is wrong to write

1+ 2 + 3 + 4 = 10 /4 = 2.5 as 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10

while 1+ 2 + 3 + 4 = 10 is not equal to 2.5

You could and should write (1 + 2 + 3 + 4)/4 = 10/4 = 2.5

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