St John's College

"Good Mathematics is not about how many answers you know ... it's about how you behave when you don't know."

Mathematics exists at the confluence of creativity and reason, developing, through perseverance, both inductive and deductive thought processes that open new ways to view and explore the world. 

While the natural beauty and appeal of Mathematics motivates some of the students, the universal requirement for a good pass in Mathematics for tertiary acceptance is largely the chief motivator for students to do well.  Despite this, many students are attracted to the sheer beauty of the subject and relish the challenge of solving mathematical problems whether they be related to the real world.  For some, of course, mathematics comes with a great deal of stress and anxiety and we do our best to support all students through individual tutoring and consolidation classes.

All scientifically based disciplines require mathematics, including Health Sciences, Engineering, Commerce and any BSc or BCom degrees.  Furthermore, most courses will require at least a B, if not an A, in Mathematics.  Hence, the tension and pressure that surround this subject, often reduces its importance to a mark on a report rather than the competencies it is developing.

The assessments we provide in Mathematics are varied.  In addition to the more traditional tests and examinations, we use a number of alternate assessment strategies, which demand conceptual understanding rather than routine processes.  In matric, the students are required to self-study certain topics and the assessment is by means of a project, followed by a validation test.  Due to the increased profile of the National Benchmark Tests (NBT’s) we regularly give the students experience in multiple choice strategies.

Mathematics is compulsory from Remove through to Upper V.  In Upper IV the top students are selected to pursue the optional extra subject AP Mathematics in order to widen and deepen their mathematical knowledge and competencies.  Although AP Mathematics is not currently a pre-requisite for any tertiary course, it can be taken into consideration by some university faculties where places are limited.  In Lower V, students may elect or be asked to take Mathematical Literacy instead of Mathematics.