Arithmetic Sequences and Geometric Sequences are taught in Secondary Level Mathematics for O-Level/IP/IB streams. Although the terminology “Arithmetic Sequence” and “Geometric Sequence” are not used in primary school, these concepts were tested in the famous “,unsolvable 2019 PSLE Mathematics question“.

Indeed, Gifted Education Programme (GEP) students are expected to master these concepts for they are assessed in the Investigative Task 1 for both P4 and P5. Specifically, GEP students will need to know how to derive the general formula to find the “nth” term of a particular sequence and use it to find the value of a term in any position in the sequence.

Algebra for Primary School Students

For Primary 4 GEP students, they will encounter Number Sequences such as

312, 306, 300, 294, 288…

In their Investigative Task, students will need to be able to derive and apply basic Arithmetic Progression formulae to find the nth term, which are simple linear algebraic expressions such as


“3n + 4” or

“5 – 4n”.

For Primary 5 GEP students, they will encounter Number Sequences such as:

1000, 999, 996, 991, 984…

In their Investigative Task, students will need to be able to derive quadratic algebraic expressions to find the nth term in the form of an^2 + bn + c.

Learning how to use algebra to solve questions involving number or pattern sequences is useful for mainstream PSLE students, but not mandatory as they can still use other (admittedly more tedious) methods. However, it is not optional for GEP students as they are required to derive and apply algebraic expressions in their Investigative Tasks (which comprise a significant percentage of their Weighted Assessment).

In our next blog post, we’ll share how you can help your child master the skills required to tackle Mathematics problems involving number or pattern sequences.

Click here if you missed part 1 of this series of blog posts.

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