How difficult is the Singapore Math in High school?

Mathematics is generally a subject considered difficult by many around the world. Its concepts may be abstract and hard to grasp. It is also a subject that requires a lot of visualization, understanding, creativity and a lot of proving. Singapore is a country known to drive competition in its education system. The education system of Singapore is recognized as very effective and high quality.

To prepare students to perform well in their O level and A level Mathematics examinations, our education system teaches students all the fundamentals required. The topics vary greatly from calculus to number theory to statistics and sometimes this may be overwhelming for students. Similar to others, Singapore Math high school syllabus has its own pros and cons. 

THE ADVANTAGE…

One thing that makes Singapore’s Math education easier than other countries is that it has a lot of good quality textbooks for students to pick from and study. They are concise and easy to read. Moreover, there are also many practice workbooks from students to choose from. These books, for example, ten-year series, are well-known to train students well for their final examinations. The default textbooks and workbooks that students need to buy are also sufficient for students to do well in their school examinations.

Singaporean textbooks are also generally sequential meaning that future chapters tend to build on previously learned topics and skills. Although there will cumulatively be a lot of topics across the 4 years of high school education. Every year will have only a handful of topics, but in-depth. This can give students sufficient to build their foundation strongly. This strong foundation will make it much easier for students to understand future topics. 

However, Singapore Math education does not put as much emphasis on applied Math as much as other countries. Countries like the United States have the Everyday Mathematics program that emphasizes data analysis using real-life Math problems which allows students to have fun doing Math to solve and understand real-life problems. Singapore, however, places almost all its priority on teaching students theoretical Math.

They teach all the concepts and expect students to attempt by themselves to relate them to real life. Even in statistics, which is considered completely applied Math, only the theoretical concepts are taught and theoretical problems are solved. Students are rarely provoked to actually collect data and try to analyze them using the concepts that they have learned.

Even if they do this in certain projects, these are generally only small-scaled and a short process that does not leave an impact on students. This focus on theoretical may cause certain students that have more interest in applied math to start despising learning the subject. This will also make it harder for a lot of students to become good at the subject. As theoretical Math is very abstract and requires a lot of practice to fully understand it. 

IN A NUTSHELL…

Singapore’s Math education has its pros which include providing top quality study materials for students. The education system of Singapore Math flows very well over the years. Also, it has cons which include being too focused on theoretical Math, overwhelming students and possibly making some students despise Math.

Here are some relevant articles that touched on the above points:

Pros & Cons Of Doing Singapore Math

Teaching Fundamental And Learning Aspect Of Singapore Math