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 General Mathematics Paper 2, Nov/Dec. 2009
 Questions: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Main
Weakness/Remedies
Strength
Question 1

Simplify, without using tables or calculator

1. 31/3 ÷ 11/4 – 4/9;
2. 2 + √96 - 4 (√6 -1)2 and express your answer in the form m + n√6 where

m and n are real numbers.

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Observation

The part (a) of the question required the use of BODMAS rule, finding the LCM and simplifying.  Most candidates were reported to have followed this procedure and were able to manipulate the fractions well.  However, some candidates misinterpreted ” ÷” to mean “ + ”.   Others subtracted first before dividing.       31/3  ÷  11/4  –  4/9   =  10/3  x  4/5  –  4/9   =   8/3  – 4/9   =   20/9   =  22/9

In part (b), many candidates reportedly found the expansion of (√6 -1)2
quite challenging.  Others could not reduce √96 to its lowest form.  The expansion of (√6 -1)2 = (√6 -1) (√6 -1) = 6 -√6 -√6 + 1 = 7 - 2√6.        √96 = √6 x 16 = 4√6
Therefore 2 + √96 – 4(√6 -1)2 = 2 + 4√6 – 4(7-2√6) = 2 + 4√6 – 28 + 8√6 which after a little computation resulted in -26 + 12√6.