Students need to be able to apply processes, routines and techniques

Specialist mathematics is a mathematical application extremely heavy in algebra. Students taking this program should have a full understanding of mathematical concepts and specialist maths. This course consists of six main areas. These are calculus, mechanics, algebra, functions, probability and statistics and graphs and vectors.

Students need to be able to apply processes, routines and techniques involving complex, real and rational arithmetic, differentiation, tables, lists and sets, algebraic manipulation, geometric and diagram construction, graphs, equations, integration and anti-differentiation and inference without using technology.

The equipment needed for specialist maths includes a Computer-Algebraic-System or CAS calculator. This essential and the preferred brands are the Casio ClassPad and the TiNspire CAS calculator. This calculator must be brought to all the classes and used as much as possible by the student. This will assist in skill building. Pencils and a ruler are necessary for drawing the graphs. A stencil template such as a Mathomat will not be allowed during the exam.

Three outcomes are used to determine if the student has passed the course. The first outcome is to explain and define the key concepts explained in the areas of study. This requires the application of a variety of related mathematical procedures and routines. The second outcome is regarding unusual problems, mathematical processes emphasizing the non-routine contexts of general cases and the discussion and analysis of these mathematical applications. The third outcome involves the above mentioned calculator. Statistical, symbolic, graphical and numerical technological functionalities are selected and used appropriately to produce results, develop mathematical ideas, and complete analysis during situations necessitating modelling, problem solving or investigative approaches and techniques.

The level of achievement of the student is determined by their SAC’s or School assessed Coursework. This coursework counts for 34 percent of the units study score. During the year three SAC’s will be completed. These are Modeling or Problem Solving 1 and 2 for 25 marks each and the Application Task worth 50 marks.

The students must take two exams when the year ends. The first lasts one hour and summary notes and calculators may not be used. This exam is worth 22 percent of the students mark. The exam covers both extended and short answer questions regarding the relevant areas of study. This exam assesses the knowledge of the students regarding mathematical concepts, their skill in using technology to carry out the mathematical algorithms and their ability to use skills and concepts.

The second exam requires two hours. The students can use a bound reference book they have made and collated and a CAS calculator. This exam is worth 44 percent of the students mark. This exam comprises both extended answer and multiple choice questions concerning the areas of study for all three outcomes. The emphasis is placed on the second outcome. The students must be able to communicate and understand mathematical issues and analyze, interpret and solve both non-routine and routine problems.

There are numerous tutoring companies in competition with one another to teach students these skills. The specialist mathematics for Queensland course is only eight months or three terms.