How To Make The Most Of Your Time Before Math O Level

There’s not a huge amount of time left before your Math O Levels, especially if you’re Secondary 4. After all, it’s in late October (23 October 2018), to be exact. You might be unsure of what you can do for these six or so months before the exams start, if anything at all. It’s probably an even more worried feeling if your grades are already pretty bad.

In a few past posts, I’ve talked about how to do well in the papers themselves, or the academic portion of getting ready for the O Levels. Here’s how to do well for Math O Level Paper 1, if you’ve missed it. However, I never really did touch much on getting really physically and mentally before the Math O Level. Here are some more general tips from another site on how to get ready for an exam, if you want more after this article.

I’m talking specifically about the Math O Level here, not just because this is a math tuition site,¬† but because Math is actually one of the subjects where you can score full marks in, if you concentrate, not unlike English or History, which is somewhat subject to the marker’s whim.

Take care of yourself. That means both physically and mentally. I’ll talk about the physical portion first.

Physically –

Drink lots of water.

As cliche as it sounds, drink up. Not sugary soda drinks or fruit juice (yes, those contain a lot of sugar!), but just pure, plain water. A good guideline for how much water to drink is : Are you feeling thirsty? If yes, you’re already a bit dehydrated. As for drinking too much water, that really is highly unlikely, and probably not something to worry about.

Get a good rest.

It’s really easy to start stressing out the year of the O levels, and start staying back for consultation, or trying to cram knowledge at home or with your friends. With this extra stress in your life, you might not be getting enough sleep, or coping with the stress by staying up to play video games.

People say the gold standard for how many hours of sleep you need is 8 hours a night, excluding naps or anything else. While it is a decent starting standard with some wriggle room, it’s good to try and figure out exactly how many hours you need. You can figure it out by setting alarms for 6/7/8/9 hours and waking up to those alarms without any other changes, like diet. The best number of hours that works for you is the one that leaves you refreshed enough to get up, not require (or at least require a minimum of) coffee, but yet be tired enough to fall asleep as quickly as possible when it’s time to go to bed.

Eat well.

This one might be a tad tough, but I definitely promise it makes a difference, especially if you haven’t been eating healthily. It might also be tough if you’re the kind who pops off to McDonalds after studying with friends, but do try to restrict yourself from doing it too often.

In that vein, try not to have fast food more than twice a month. It’s definitely easy to stress eat and overdo it, so best to keep your fast food intake to a minimum.

Try to cook healthier meals, like steamed vegetables, or find some way of “sneaking” them into your food if you really hate vegetables. Hate lettuce? You don’t see it anymore in a smoothie, or hardly taste it. Tomatoes too boring for you? Try using spices with them. Stay away from deep frying food, or slathering grease all over your meat.


Yes, I know. You don’t want to exercise, no one does, really. But we’re not talking a full on marathon, or becoming Usain Bolt. You can easily exercise by doing some stretches in between study breaks, or a couple of pushups while your video games load. For maximum efficiency, you can even put a small stationary bike under your desk and peddle it while studying. If you have particularly intense material to study, peddle as intensely. Efficient,no?


Mentally –

Besides keeping yourself physically healthy, mental health is also really important.

Destress each day.

At the end of each day, make sure to get some “you” time by doing a hobby you enjoy, even for just 30 minutes and even if you’re really busy. You having some time for yourself greatly reduces the emotions of stress and worry, and allow you to focus your mind on something you like or that at least won’t stress you out.


Sit in a comfortable cushion or location, and just observe the thoughts and emotions floating through your mind. You don’t have to judge them or act on them, if you don’t want to, but it helps you to destress by acknowledging your negative emotions and affirming your positive emotions. Also, it better allows you to understand where your thoughts are coming from, be it from some stressful event, or just day-to-day frustration.

This really allows you to make better decisions in your life, because your self awareness is heightened, and you have more experience knowing yourself.

To end off..

It’s really important to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. Far too many people focus on neither, but even more people fail to take care of their mental health too, especially when mental health is just not as visible or outwardly important as physical health. However, I believe that the key to succeeding in both your Math O level exam, and in life is a good mental state of mind.

And yet another point for thought – if you’ve worked really hard and stressed yourself out, AND got the grade you wanted for the Math O Level, you might still mentally associate your good grade with stress, frustration, and many tears. Hence, it’s really important to notice and take good care of your own mental health.

Click here for O & A Level math tuition. If you’d like to take a look at the MOE Maths syllabus, click here.