This is a review as well as the revision of the Mathematics N1 August 2021 Exam Paper. Some of you just wrote this paper a few days ago and if it is you, congratulations in advance I hope you ace this paper with more than 80%. It is not a difficult thing it is possible you just need to remain focused dedicated and diligent.


Mathematics N1 August 2021 Exam Paper

Summary of the paper

In summary, the paper was a fair paper and according to my honest view, it had nothing of that creativity to excite the students. It was just lukewarm, mild, inbetween, indifferent from the other papers previously written. The examiner/s did not take time to bring in new ideas or creativity of bringing the questions. A student who properly revised will have aced this paper with 90+. This then gives the student false impression that they are very good and then in N2 the student once challenged by the level starts facing difficulties.


The Mathematics N1 August 2021 exam paper was a good motivation booster in a way for a student who prepared well. On the downfall, if you struggled in this paper, you need to ensure your content and concepts are properly in order. If you find yourself struggling in this paper it means that you still need more time to learn the subject again. The good news is that you just need a few months if not days to close the gaps you are having and soon you will be able to see the trend.


The best way to start learning is to use the suggested videos below from our YouTube Channel and also to subscribe to our channel so that you also notified of new content.


Also you will notice that in every section, suggested videos are indicated and you can use these to learn the concepts.


The most recommendation however I will make if you want to have a good foundation on your content is for you to consider purchasing our textbook Maths N1 for the Underdogs which comes with videos. This textbook covers all the necessary concepts and will see you acing this exam. The book is dedicated for the person who is struggling to get the basics and works with you till you gain a full understanding of the concepts. The book is sold at Takealot.

mathematics n1 textbook

Now let us look as I said at this review. This paper was written on the 18th of August but it was supposed to be written on the 23rd of July as seen on the front page of the paper. Th reason for the change and postponement in dates is because of the coronavirus that is constantly disrupting education.

Exam Instructions are very important to read before beginning the paper.

The question paper says you can use a non-programmable calculator and in this case I use my normal casio scientific calculator. The Mathematics August 2021 question paper consisted of six pages and a formula sheet of two pages and it’s out of 100 marks.

Casio scientific calculator

Question 1

Question 1 was divided in three subsections and these are the subsections 1.1 to 1.3. Question 1.1 was further divided into sub-sub sections of 1.1.1 and 1.1.2. The first question (1.1) required one to simplify without a calculator but using the laws of exponents. The laws of exponents are very important in your Mathematics N1 as you prepare for your final exam.

One question though that proved to be trickier than first observed is question 1.1.2 in which a wrong application of BODMAS let to a completey wrong answer. Take note of this question and the solution to it in the video below.

Laws of exponents are one area you need to know before your final exams and I cover these laws on my mathematics books  which I call Maths N1 for the underdog. The book comes with videos and it is very clear when it comes to laws of exponents.

Question 1.2 and 1.3 was focused on logarithms, with question 1.2 focused on simplifying using laws of logarithms (without use of a calculator) and question 1.3 was on logarithm equations. I will state that these were normal routine problems and if you did your logs and understood them, this was a section to start collecting good points. The two questions totalled a good 8 marks which was very generous of the examiner.


Question 2

Question 2 centre of different aspects of algebraic expressions, with question 2.1 focusing on long division. This question is one of the question with the highest mark allocation (7 marks). It is therefore encouraged that students must know long division as part of their studies.


Question 2.2 and 2.3 were basic algebraic questions that are expected throughout every final exam.

The total if this section was 13 marks.


For more resources covering these sections consider the videos below:

Question 3

Question 3.1 was also focused on factorisation with 3.3.1 testing the students their knowledge on factorisation by grouping. 3.3.2 Was on taking out the common factor. It had more marks suprisingly but it was standard and basic question.


Question 3.2 was on algebraic fractions and required students to use the knowledge on fractions to simplify.


Question 3.3 was further on algebraic expressions with the emphasis on prime factors,  Lowest Common Mulptiple (LCM) and Highest Common Factor (HCF). It was a normal routine problem that could be easily solved if properly prepared.


For more resources on similar questions, check the videos below:

Question 4

Question 4.1 started with an equation where you have to expand and solve for ‘y’. The technique that students were tested on includes: expansion, grouping, collecting like terms, solving algebraic equations.


Question 4.2 & 4.3 was on subject of formula and substituting into the formula, a continuation from 4.2.


Question 4.4 and 4.5 was based on word problems which usually students try as best to avoid which they carry good marks and some of these may be easier to solve.


Check the videos below for more practice

Question 5

Question 5 was based on algebraic graphs. The examiner focused mainly on the understanding and interpreation of two types of grahs which are the straight line graph and the hyperbola.

Question 5.1 dealt with the straight line graph and question 5.2 dealt with the hyperbola. Question 5.3 dealt with the sketching of a straight line graph.


The whole of question 5 was standard and the questions asked we basic questions.

Question 6

Question 6 focused on the Pythagoras Theorem in its basic form and students were given a triangle with two sides of which they needed to find the hypotenuse.

6.1 and 6.3 were questions seeking understanding of conguency conditions and propeerties of isosceless triangle.

Question 7

Question 7 was a trigonometry question and students had to be careful with question 7.1 which required the knowledge of trig ratios. The use of acronym SOHCAHTOA was important in the answering of the question. Also question 7.2 needed students to understand special angles triangle. A video on similar concept is shown below. 

Question 8

The last question was question 8 which was mainly centred on mensuration of shapes. This section relies mainly on understanding of the formulas for area, perimeter and volume of shapes.

Students were mainly tested on being able to interpret and substitute the formulas. These are given in the formula sheet.


Question 8.3 was a word problem based on percentage calculation.

Use the videos below for more practice.


Mathematics N1 August 2021 exam question paper was a fair exam that could be fairly passed by a majority of studetns. It will not be surprising mark for one to score above 70% even above. It mainly shows the level of preparation one will have done as they oreoared for the final exams.

Extra Resources

Free previous papers with answers for mathematics N1 from 2014 to 2021

If you want to download free previous papers with answers you can download them here

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