Guide

Everything you need to know about Grade 12 Mathematics

- 4 minute read

Mathematics is one of the most time-consuming and challenging subjects for students in Grade 12. It is rooted in practical numerical calculations and requires students to have an understanding of mathematical reasoning. Studyclix is here to help you navigate through this subject and make your exams easier.

In this guide:

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What is involved?

To pass mathematics, you need to achieve a final mark of 30% or higher. This mark consists of two parts: an exam mark contributing to 75% of your final mark and a Subject-Based Assessment (SBA) mark contributing to the remaining 25%.

The exam

Mathematics is assessed through two written examinations that are worth 150 marks each. You are given three hours to complete each paper.

Paper breakdown

Here is a quick breakdown of the two exam papers and what topics you might expect to appear:

Paper 1
  • Algebra, equations and inequalities: 25 marks
  • Number patterns: 25 marks
  • Functions and graphs: 35 marks
  • Finance, growth and decay: 15 marks
  • Differential calculus: 35 marks
  • Counting principle and probability: 15 marks
Paper 2
  • Statistics and regression: 20 marks
  • Analytical geometry: 40 marks
  • Trigonometry: 50 marks
  • Euclidean geometry: 40 marks
  • Algebra, equations and inequalities: 25 marks
  • Number patterns: 25 marks
  • Functions and graphs: 35 marks
  • Finance, growth and decay: 15 marks
  • Differential calculus: 35 marks
  • Counting principle and probability: 15 marks
Top Tip

Show all your calculations on your answer sheet as they contribute towards your marks.

Types of questions

Each paper contains questions that are classified according to the following cognitive levels:

Level 1: Knowledge

These questions account for 20% (30 marks) of the paper and can include:

  • recalling information;
  • identifying the correct formula on the formula sheet;
  • using mathematical facts and terminology;
  • rounding off numbers.
Level 2: Routine Procedures

These questions account for 35% (52-53 marks) of the paper. They are generally similar to those performed in class and can include:

  • performing well-known procedures and simple applications/calculations with a few steps;
  • proving and deriving specific theorems and formulae (e.g. the quadratic formula and the Pythagorean theorem).
Level 3: Complex Procedures

These questions require a conceptual understanding of the content and often lack an obvious solution pathway. They can include:

  • complex calculations and higher-order reasoning skills such as critical analysis, synthesis of information, and creative problem-solving;
  • problems you may be expected to solve by integrating different topics.
Level 4: Problem-solving

These questions are mainly unfamiliar and demand higher-order thinking and reasoning skills, e.g. analysis, evaluation, and creative problem-solving.

Applying your knowledge in new contexts is crucial and you might need to break the problem down into smaller steps before finding a solution.

These questions account for 20% (30 marks) of the paper and can include:

  • recalling information;
  • identifying the correct formula on the formula sheet;
  • using mathematical facts and terminology;
  • rounding off numbers.

How to prepare for your mathematics exam

Know the details of your topics

Knowing the different aspects that will be assessed in each topic will help you focus on the topics being tested and not waste study time on content that will not be tested in your examination. To find a detailed breakdown of the content being tested in each paper, take a look at the examination guidelines here.

Practice using past exam questions

To get a distinction in your final Grade 12 NSC Mathematics exams, you need to practice as much as possible. Work through past papers and pay special attention to the mark allocation when going through the memorandum. At Studyclix, there are various ways you can access official DBE past papers:

Time-management

Managing your time is fundamental when preparing for your final exam. Practice by strictly timing yourself as you work through a past paper.

During the exam, pay close attention to the mark allocation for each question. This will guide you on how much time to dedicate to each one, for example, a 5-mark question should not take you more than 5 minutes. Once your allocated time per question is up, move on to the next one. Remember to allocate some time for reviewing your entire exam before handing it in.

Top Tip

If you don't know how to answer a question, move on to those you can answer and return to the challenging ones later.

Know your reasoning

Make sure you know your key concepts such as examinable proofs, geometry reasons, and how to locate the appropriate formulae on the formula sheet.

The only way to get better at mathematics is to practice as much as possible, so get to it!

Good luck, you've got this!

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