Mojza Blog

A Guide to Additional Mathematics 4037 / 0606

by Saif-ur-Rahman | 10 MAR 2024

Additional Mathematics is one of the most challenging subjects for O Levels and IGCSE students, mainly because of its topics being really deep and conceptual. However, nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it! Hence, below are some insights on how to tackle this subject and reach your goals!

Paper Pattern

The syllabus comprises 14 topics, with varying degrees of difficulty. Some are readily understood, while others may take you a month or two to fully grasp.

The exam consists of 2 papers, both having a time limit of two hours, with 80 being the maximum allotted marks. All topics can be assessed in either, or both of the papers; the main purpose of having 2 papers for this subject is to ensure it’s thoroughly assessed. Each paper has 10 to 12 questions, which get progressively lengthy. The marks per question can range from 3-4 marks up to as many as 13 marks for a single question! All working must be shown clearly, as most of the marks awarded are based on the working – the answer is usually worth only a single mark. You’re allowed to bring an electronic scientific calculator to aid your calculations, provided it’s among the calculators permitted in Cambridge’s list here.

It’s recommended to keep multiple pens, in case one runs out, to ensure you can solve your paper peacefully without having to stress about running out of ink. Similarly, it is advised to keep an additional calculator, as the calculations tend to be really complex in this paper, and it’s near impossible to solve some of them mentally within a respectable amount of time. That being said, it’s always better to remain on the safe side; though, it’ll still be perfectly fine if you trust your calculator and opt against a backup one.

Understanding the Syllabus

Though the syllabus isn’t as expansive as the Mathematics one, it tends to go deeper into the weeds of concepts. Initial topics such as simultaneous equations are relatively easier, but special focus needs to be given to Differentiation and Integration, as not only is it a whole new world, but it also makes up a considerable chunk of the CAIE exam.

Going through the syllabus provided by Cambridge will also give you an idea of what to expect, as they list down all the key points in each chapter. 

(Links to the latest IGCSE and O Levels syllabuses for Add. Maths)

Tackling the Syllabus

Every student who has taken Add. Maths previously would agree that it’s not an easy subject. The real accomplishment would be how you overcome the challenges posed by it. For starters, it’s best to begin with the easier topics, as they help you build the foundation you need. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll split the syllabus into 4-5 parts.

Part 1: Foundation

Additionally, they’ll be useful in multiple topics ahead. Examples of such topics would be simultaneous equations, indices, surds, and logarithms, etc. While you may get the impression that this is too easy for you, remember to not get overconfident, and practice as much as you can! Doing past papers alongside is really helpful.

Part 2: The Major Chunk of the Course

Once you’ve fully mastered these concepts, move on to slightly more challenging topics. These would include Quadratics, Factors of Polynomials, Binomial Theorem, AP/GP etc.
These topics need a lot of time and dedication, and getting a firm grip on these would tremendously boost your chances of achieving the result of your dreams! It’s recommended that you dig up as many questions for these as you can. Pay special attention to Quadratics, as it is a super important topic which would be really useful in other areas as well.

Part 3: The Mark-Gainers

While these topics might appear scary at first sight, with enough practice, they’ll become your favourite topics in no time, and will help you easily gain marks. These include Co-ordinate Geometry, Trigonometry, and Functions. However, beware – neglect them, and they’ll make you regret it. If you don’t master these topics, they’ll make you want to quit the subject. It’s better to take them slowly, with plenty of practice to ensure nothing is missed.

Part 4: The Heart and Soul of Add Maths

Without these two topics, the syllabus of Add Math wouldn’t be complete; they make up the biggest chunk of the course, and often are the cause of students’ nightmares, simply because it’s completely new for them. I’m, of course, talking about Differentiation and Integration, more commonly known as “Calculus”. These topics span multiple chapters, and are loaded with concepts. You might be intimidated by these at first, but rest assured that by the time CAIE’s are around, they’ll be your favourite topics! After Differentiation and Integration, you can proceed to Kinematics, and then Vectors, which are closely interlinked, and will seem like a piece of cake at this stage.

Part 5: The Minor Topics

These topics are pretty much independent of other topics, and you can do them anytime in between. Such topics include Permutations and Combinations (a super tricky topic), Circular measure (do this before doing Trigonometry), and Linear Law (also known as straight line graphs). These are relatively short topics, but they tend to be more tricky than difficult, so tread carefully.


If you’re struggling with the subject, don’t give up and drop it; almost every person who has taken this subject has found it difficult at one point or another. While this may just seem like an “extra subject” in your O Levels, you’ll be patting yourself a year later when you enter A Levels, as you see your non Add Maths friends having trouble with A Levels maths. Add. Maths even has certain concepts that are taught in A2! Additionally, if you ever feel like you simply can’t understand a question, hop over to our very own Discord server and state the question that’s troubling you; we’d be glad to help!

Exam Day

We’ve all been there; staying awake late on the night of the exam, just to get that last minute revision. But is it actually beneficial? Turns out, the cons are more than the pros. Staying awake late results in your brain not being fully rested in the morning, which resultantly causes you to feel stressed and fatigued during the exam. It’s best to pack all the necessary stuff at least a day in advance, and conclude all revisions by the evening before the assessment. In the morning, try solving a couple of mental maths questions in advance, just to prepare your brain for what will be coming!

Good luck on your journey with this incredible subject, if you ever feel the need to have additional notes/video resources for further elaboration on any topic, try scrolling through the educational links provided here!


Author: Saif-ur-Rahman
Proofreaders: Kanza Ahsan


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Published: 10 March 2024
Last Updated: 10 March 2024
Written by Saif-ur-Rahman