Help! A Poor Result in the First Year 7 Mathematics Examination

Your child did their first Mathematics examination in high school and they do not do so well. Don’t be too worried. This video gives 3 concepts to think about when this happens:
1. Inexperience
2. Reassurance
3. Use it as a Learning Activity


Good morning! This is Jason Ursino from Learning Space and I’m driving to school.

Today, I’m going to be talking about something specific and that is when your son or daughter has their Year 7 exam and in their first Year 7 exam, they don’t do so well. This is quite common. I can talk particularly for Mathematics, that it’s very common that students who are capable and students who are very good at maths don’t really show that in their first maths exam. So, today I’m going to be talking about the 3 things to think about when this happens.

The first thing is inexperience. When you do a maths exam, it’s just not about knowing the content. There’s a lot of other exam techniques that students need to know and learn how to do along the way. Things like timing, reading questions properly, showing working correctly, these sorts of things are not very evident when a student does a maths test for the first time. So, especially that Term 1 test in Year 7, we see a lot of students that don’t perform very well, not because they don’t know their maths, but because of simply inexperience for the exam.

Second thing is the reassurance, this is all good news. From my experience there is not a strong correlation between kids with their first exam mark for Year 7 and what they end up getting in the HSC. I have seen students who got something like 30 something percent in their first test in Year 7 and end up doing very well in Maths throughout high school. I have even seen one student in particular who got something like 35% in their Task 1 for Year 7 and in their Yearly Exams in Year 7 got 85% so a huge difference not because their maths has dramatically improved but because they just become a little bit better with doing exams.

The third thing is to take the task more as a learning task or a learning activity rather than an assessment activity. What I mean about that is once a student has a go at the maths test and gets a feeling what it’s like with the clock ticking in front of them, in absolute silence doing this exam, once they understand that, they can go home and reenact the whole situation. So what they can do is, they can pick up some past papers and at home they can do the same thing. Emulate the entire situation. Get a clock in front of them, don’t be disturb for however long the test is, and sit down and do the test properly. Do that a few times. Get the practice. So not only do you have to practise the maths for the content you should also practise the exam technique.

And what you’ll find, with those 3 things in mind, you will then find that your son or daughter will become better at exams and you’ll see those results improve dramatically. 

So those 3 things were; the first one was just the inexperience, keep the inexperience in mind. The second one is that reassurance because we’ve seen in the past that there is not a strong correlation between their mark in Year 7 and their HSC mark. And finally, take it as a learning activity. So they’re the 3 things. Now if you like my videos you can always find them at and have a good day. See you later.

Why Year 8 Mathematics is VERY Important

Your children just started Year 8 this year. No big deal, plenty time until the HSC. Wrong! It is a BIG DEAL. Year 8 Mathematics in New South Wales is very important, even more important than Year 12! This video explains why.


Good morning. This is Jason Ursino from Learning Space and I’m driving to school.

Today I’m going to talk about Year 8 Mathematics. To me, Year 8 Mathematics is the most important, even more important than Year 12. The main reason is because, how you perform or how your child performs in Year 8 Maths, determines what course are you getting to in Year 9, in fact that’s not even called a course. In some places they call it a pathway, so it determines what pathway of Mathematics that your child would undertake.

Now Year 9 and Year 10 is known as Stage 5. And in Stage 5, it’s broken up into 3 pathways, if you like, 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3. 5.3 in the old language is Advanced and 5.2 in the old language is Intermediate. 5.1 would be the low-ability maths and it’s usually a small course of students with learning support.

Now what you would like your child to do, if possible, is to get into the 5.3 course and the reason for that is because when you’re in 5.3, you have more options in Year 11 and 12. A 5.2 student Year 9 and 10 can only do Standard Mathematics in Year 11 and 12 or no maths at all, because remember, Mathematics is not compulsory in 11 and 12. However, a 5.3 student has the capabilities of doing Advanced Maths, Extension Maths or Mathematics Extension and Mathematics Advanced, and Mathematics Standard. So, it gives a child more option and there’s many courses at university that only allows you to do the course if you did a minimum of Mathematics Advanced. So you see, from Year 8 Maths, all the way up to university, you’re pretty much determined on what you can do later on. So, what you would like your child to do is to do the best, as much as they can in Year 8.

If you asked a Year 8 student what do they want to do when they leave school, most of them won’t know. So the ideal thing to do is to keep their options open. The Year 8 student performs well, then they get on to the pathway of 5.3. So the ultimate goal for a Year 8 student is to get into 5.3 in Year 9. From 5.3, you can only go downwards, it’s very, very difficult to go up, so if you’re a 5.3 Year 9, you can fall into 5.2 Year 10 so you do have to keep the consistency but you can’t go up. So if you’re a 5.2 student in Year 9, you can’t do 5.3 in Year 10 because you did not learn the 5.3 content in Year 9. So that is something that I tell a lot of parents and it’s something that not many schools articulate very well, and it is a real shock to a lot of parents when they find out about it.

So Year 8 is super important, so if you’re ever going to get extra support or if you want to have a sit down with your child and explain to them that they have to do very well, Year 8 is the time to do it, not Year 11, not Year 12. If you liked my videos and you want to see more. Head to, thank you and have a good day!

3 Things to Think About when your Child Starts the New School Year

Your children are set for the new school year but are they ready? This video gives 3 important principles that can be applied to get your children ready for the new school year:
1. Organisation
2. Goal Setting
3. Remind them that it’s a Fresh Start


Good morning. This is Jason Ursino from Learning Space and I’m driving to school.

Today I’m going to be talking about the three things to think about when your child is about to start school.

So number 1 would be organisation. If your child is organised at the start of the year, they’ve got all their equipment and all their books then there’s a good chance it’s going to be organised throughout the year and conversely, if they are not organised from day one, then there’s a good chance that throughout the year they’re going to have pages missing, they’re going to have missing notes, they’re not going to have their equipment with them and that hinders on the learning. So organisation is important.

The second thing is goal setting. At the start of the year, the child’s motivation is at its peak. They’re quite excited to start school after a long break, see their friends again, meet their new teachers, and all that sort of thing and it’s probably a good idea to harness that motivation into goal setting. Now when you are goal setting for the year with your child, probably be a good idea if you wrote things down. It is more powerful if things are in writing. Also, I have to say that there is a lot of things on the internet in goal setting, being able to make sure that it is measurable and think about how you’re going to do it, more practical etc. All that sort of thing you can find on the internet but goal setting is important for the child’s year at school.

The third thing is just a conversation with the child to remind them that it’s a fresh start and what I mean about that, is that usually when students start a new year, they have new teachers and a lot of the new teachers don’t really know your child so the fresh start is important. It gives the child an opportunity to prove themselves and to just show them that this year is a different year and this year is going to be the year that they’re going to improve on their Maths or their History or whatever it is.

So it is important to think about those 3 things: Organisation Goal setting and to remember that it’s a fresh start. And these 3 principles apply pretty much for anyone starting school from kindergarten all the way to the HSC. So they’re the 3 things to think about. If you like my videos, there are more of them at and have a good day!