Entering Secondary 3 is as exciting as it is intimidating: students are shuffled into new classes and are surrounded by new classmates and new teachers, a jarring change made rougher by the fact that they are going through their adolescence.

Unfortunately, besides assimilating to a new environment, students must also cope with the changes in their mathematics curriculum, which covers more topics in greater depth. Therefore, many students end up signing up for secondary maths tuition.

Read on to learn more about the differences between lower secondary and upper secondary math and how students can cope with it.

How Is Lower Secondary Math Different From Upper Secondary Math?

During Secondary 1 and 2, students learn basic math concepts like numbers and operations, equations and inequalities, and algebraic expressions and formulas.

Upper secondary maths requires students to study mathematical core disciplines more deeply through E-Math, which is compulsory, and A-Math, which is optional for O-Level students and mandatory for Integrated Programme students.

Like lower secondary math, E-Math seeks to deepen students’ understanding of fundamental concepts and develop crucial skills such as critical thinking and practical application.

On the other hand, A-Math focuses on algebraic concepts and logical reasoning and is more useful for research purposes.

You can refer to our previous blog article for a more comprehensive guide on E-Math and A-Math.

Consider Your Options: Should You Take A-Math?

The most effective way to manage your transition is to decide whether or not you want to take A-Math. Because A-Math is treated as a separate subject, this decision affects your class schedule and workload.

One crucial element to consider is what you intend to study in tertiary institutions. A-Math is a prerequisite for H2 Math in junior college and a necessity for numerous university courses.

However, while useful, it is not always better to take A-Math. A-Math is more abstract than E-Math and may thus be more challenging for some students; some students find that they cannot cope with the sudden change in difficulty and end up doing poorly for both E-Math and A-Math.

Hence, evaluating your strengths and weaknesses before choosing your subject combination is crucial. Making a good choice will be immensely beneficial in helping you transition from Secondary 2 to Secondary 3.

Start Preparing

Once you have made your subject combination decision, you should start preparing for the new year.

We recommend you start studying early by reviewing your lower secondary math notes. This will help refresh your memory, strengthen your foundation, and boost your confidence in E-Math and A-Math. 

Get Help Early On

In maths, understanding a topic is similar to building a house: if the foundation is not strong, the entire structure will fall apart.

Likewise, students must have a firm grasp of earlier topics and concepts to understand subsequent ones. After all, maths is a cumulative subject. Therefore, it is beneficial to seek help early on to ensure you can keep up with the syllabus.

We recommend that you find a suitable tutor before the school year starts. Working with a tutor helps you get familiar with upcoming topics and understand the expectations of different question types, ensuring the jump in difficulty will be smoother.

Practise Regularly

Math is not a subject you can cram at the last minute—crash courses and camps are ultimately ineffective because they encourage memorisation over understanding.

Instead, practising regularly and learning how to apply various concepts to a question is essential. Math tuition is a valuable option because it ensures students practise weekly and provides many resources such as mock and past year papers.


Transitioning from Secondary 2 to Secondary 3 seems scary, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many ways to smoothen the process and ensure you do well in maths and achieve your academic goals.

Math tuition is one option that can help. If you’re looking for a Singapore Math tuition centre, check out Miracle Math Tuition. We provide Elementary and Additional Maths tuition in Bedok. We also offer primary math tuition for Primary 5 and Primary 6 students.