The O-Levels are as critical as they are daunting and are a significant stressor for students and parents alike. After all, they are one of the three key milestones in a student’s academic life and have the capacity to impact one’s future educational trajectory.

Unfortunately, there are several challenges students are likely to face while preparing for their papers, from information overload to inadequate exam skills. The good news is that students can overcome these obstacles—and the first step is to identify these common difficulties. By doing so, students can address these issues head-on.

Read on to learn what these common challenges are.

Information Overload

O-Level math can be overwhelming.

For one, a significant portion of the O-Level syllabus is covered in Secondary 3. Hence, not only do students have to swiftly adapt to upper secondary math—a momentous task, especially if students are taking A-Math on top of E-Math—but they also have to maintain a good grasp of all they have learnt over the two years.

As understanding of a topic or concept inevitably fades when students move onto new content, students must continue reviewing old material consistently.

Students should also spread the content over the year; bite-sized chunks of information are far more digestible than cramming. One way to ensure consistent revision outside of school is to enrol in math tuition classes, where students can try their hand at various practice questions regularly.

Stumbling Over Common Mistakes

Common mistakes are common for a reason–-they are often easy to overlook but difficult to eliminate. Some common errors in O-Level math include misinterpretation of inverse trigonometric functions or neglecting quadrant considerations.

Under the stress of exam season, students are likely to stumble and make mistakes that cost them precious marks. Therefore, students should work on identifying their blind spots by going through past practices or consulting a tutor.

Insufficient Exam Skills

When it comes to O-Level exams, it is not enough to understand content—students must also possess effective exam skills. For example, many students do not practise their time management skills and cannot finish their papers.

Hence, practice exams are vital, as they help students understand how best to tackle the paper.


Many students struggle because they put off their revision and end up cramming at the last minute.

Acknowledging that procrastination is not necessarily about laziness or a lack of self-discipline is essential. Sometimes, it happens because students are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work they need to do or fear underperforming.

Therefore, providing students with a robust support system is critical. This ensures that students feel motivated to work consistently from an early stage.


While it can be helpful to set goals, parents should be careful not to pile excessive pressure on their children. Students preparing for their exams are likely already dealing with the weight of their expectations; they may be unable to cope if their parents have very high expectations.

We recommend that parents focus on giving their children support and love instead of solely emphasising grades.


Students face many challenges when it comes to their O-Level math exams. It is critical for them to identify these obstacles and work on creating solutions with the help of their parents, teachers, and tutors.

If you or your child would like some assistance preparing for their exams, consider Miracle Math. We are a math tuition centre in Singapore providing secondary school tuition, including Sec 3 and Sec 4 A-Math tuition. We also offer Primary 5 and 6 math tuition.