Marking the beginning of the high school journey, Year 7 is an important year for many reasons. When it comes to Maths learning, the Year 7 curriculum lays down foundations for some of the more difficult concepts required in Years 11 and 12. Having a good grasp of these concepts early on will make subsequent content easier to understand and build upon. It will also make the transition into high school less daunting.
An overview of Year 7 Maths
There are three main content strands in Year 7 Maths: number and algebra; measurement and geometry; and statistics and probability. By the end of Year 7, it is hoped that students will have developed fluency and understanding of the vocabulary and wider concepts involved in these strands, and are able to use problem solving and reasoning to display their proficiency.
What can students expect in Year 7 Maths?
In Year 7 students will be introduced to some new mathematical concepts and knowledge strands, which will then be built upon as they journey through high school. Students can expect to also build upon some of the work they were used to at primary school, such as formulating and comparing decimals and percentages and investigating area and volume, but much of this will step up a significant level as they work through their first year.
Away from the playgrounds of primary school, Year 7 Maths will likely be delivered with a more serious style of teaching, perhaps even by a subject specialist teacher. The conceptual knowledge of the curriculum content will grow in importance, as does the ability to show how an answer was worked out. Even so, mathematics is generally a black and white subject, with little to no ambiguity, so being able to clearly deliver the correct answer to problems will always be imperative to this discipline.
Important skills to nail in Year 7
While it may be seen as simply a ‘starter year’ for high school, with a lack of looming external assessments, many of the skills taught in Year 7 require a solid level of understanding so that students don’t later come into difficulty. Nailing these concepts early on will ensure students don’t fall behind.
Skills that will be introduced and built upon through the Year 7 Maths curriculum include:
- Describing patterns and using indices with whole numbers
- Being able to recognise equivalence between fractions, decimals, percentages and ratios
- Plotting points on the Cartesian plane
- Identifying and calculating angles
- Learning algebraic vocabulary and relating these to the laws and properties of numbers
- Calculating integers
- Learning how to find ‘best buys’
- Learning how to find the mean, mode and median in statistics
- Calculating areas and volumes of prisms
- Formulating and solving ‘real life’ number and measurement problems
- Transformations and symmetry
- Interpreting experimental data
- Applying number laws to calculations
- Applying geometry knowledge to shapes
- Applying ratio knowledge to data
How to study for Year 7 (or any Year) Maths
Understanding the theory behind each mathematical concept in the curriculum will ensure a good groundwork of understanding for learning in Year 7. Students could do this by creating their own dictionary of terms and vocabulary, with their own definitions that are easy for them to understand. This can help to demystify the language involved in these concepts.
Next, this understanding should be applied through practice. Solve example problems using these concepts to ensure the knowledge is solidified, referencing back to definitions or notes as often as needed. Examples from previous exams or tests might be helpful for this.
Keeping up with homework will also help. Many students become very busy in Year 7 with social engagements and with extra curricular activities – and for some, homework is a new concept which was not required at a primary school level. While it may seem like an afterthought or even just extra work delivered by a torture-loving teacher, homework is an important way to make sure students retain the knowledge they gained in class that day. For parents, this might mean being extra strict about ensuring this work is done before other, more fun activities.
Presentation should be practised too. Often, if the working of a problem is not demonstrated, students will not achieve full marks. This is a skill that should also be practised, as many adept students will skip steps, losing marks despite achieving the correct answer.
Keeping this practice up, even when concepts seem to have been understood and achieved, is important to sharpen skills and develop speed and accuracy as the year goes on. Students can give themselves mock exams under time constraints to boost confidence and discover any gaps in learning.
What assessments to expect in Year 7
The Best Start Year 7 assessment is generally taken at the end of Year 6 or beginning of Year 7 to see how students are placed to learn at this level. For some schools, this will ascertain what class they study in, while for others it is simply a measure of where the student is at and an indicator of the level of extra support needed, if any.
There are no formal assessments at the Year 7 level, but teachers will carry out their own assessments throughout the school terms to check in with students and see how they are learning. This will help them to find any gaps and also to get more support for specific students if necessary. At the end of the year, schools will often carry out in-school exams to further assess student’s abilities and absorption of the curriculum, and to help students practise with examination conditions for their senior high school years.
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