Revising for GCSE maths can sometimes feel overwhelming. Where do you start? How much time should you dedicate to each topic? How exactly should you revise anyway? In this post, we aim to help you structure your GCSE maths revision by following a few simple steps.
Everyone has their preferred learning style but what really makes the difference when it comes to revision is consistency. Here are our top tips for creating a successful maths revision plan:
After working through the GCSE maths syllabus for the last two years, it helps to remind yourself of all the areas that you’ve studied. We suggest you begin by organising your notes. Make sure that all your coursework is organised in folders in the correct order alongside any corresponding handouts. The very process of tidying and sorting your notes can be a good way of easing yourself into your maths revision.
The next step is to be aware of what you’ve studied. We recommend that you write a list of all the topics you’ve covered throughout the course and use it as a way of charting your revision progress. This way, you’ll ensure that you cover all the material you’ll need to know for the exam.
The GCSE maths syllabus is broken down into six main topic areas:
On the day of the exam, you’ll sit two test papers that last 1 hour 45 minutes each. The first paper will ask questions on topics 1-3 and the second paper will cover topics 4-6.
For more information on the sub-topics of these themes, please see the AQA website.
Following a structured plan is a far more effective way to study than simply choosing what to revise on the day. Plus, there’s also great satisfaction to be had in scoring off a day’s revision on your calendar.
We recommend that you use a wall chart to map out what topics you’ll study and when in the lead up to your exam. Having a visual on your wall lets you see the bigger picture and provides a good overview of how your revision is progressing.
Little and often is the key to revising for GCSE maths. We recommend planning your day around short bursts of studying, followed by regular breaks that take you away from your desk. Working in short bursts can also provide you with the motivation to keep going, knowing that your next break is just around the corner.
Unlike other written-based subjects, the only way to revise for GCSE maths is to practice doing maths-based activities. Whether working through sample questions, or testing yourself with quizzes, your revision needs to involve actual practice. Reading through textbooks and revision notes only provides you with the theory, whereas you need to be able to apply what you know to an exam situation.
There are lots of ways to keep your maths revision interesting. You can create flashcards with questions that you need to answer quickly. You can revise in a group and test one another on specific topics.
One of our favourite GCSE maths revision techniques is the ‘student as teacher’ method, where you need to explain your approach to answering a question to someone. This can be particularly useful for getting your head around multi-step questions.
The more you enjoy the process of revising for your GCSE maths papers, the more confident you’ll feel leading up to exam day.
For more creative revision ideas, take a look at this video from Edinburgh University student Kaitlin Emma:
In the GCSE maths exam, the first test paper is taken without a calculator. Students often struggle to achieve full marks for non-calculator questions even if they end up with the correct answer. The key is to show your working and present your answer in a logical way. Examiners expect to see the steps that you’ve taken to arrive at your final answer.
When tackling non-calculator questions, it can help to first of all identify the type of question you’re being asked. For example, if you know that you’re answering a multi-step question, you should already have an idea of how it should be presented.
Once you have a final answer, double check that you have all possible points covered. If you’re only able to identify two points in a three-point question, you’ll know that there’s a step missing somewhere.
The second test paper requires you to use a calculator to arrive at an answer. While this may sound obvious, it’s a good idea to use the same calculator that you revise with in the exam. Every scientific calculator is slightly different and you don’t want to have to re-learn the functions of an unfamiliar calculator during the exam.
Make sure you know what functions you need to answer Pythagoras, indices and negative number questions, as these are heavily dependent on a calculator.
One of the most effective ways to revise for the GCSE maths exam is to use practice tests. At Exam Papers Plus, we publish maths packs that cover all topics in the GCSE maths syllabus. When introduced early into your revision schedule, our practice packs can help you put theory into practice and improve your confidence in the lead up to test day.
In creating these packs, we thoroughly analysed examiners’ reports from previous years to make sure that our questions cover all the essential elements of the GCSE maths exam. We’ve also included questions that students find challenging, so you’ll have experience of tackling the most difficult questions. Furthermore, all of our practice papers are written and developed by former GCSE Maths examiners and markers.
As well as helping students to become familiar with the types of questions they could be asked on the day, our packs are a great way to improve time management skills. When taken under timed conditions, our practice tests help students get used to answering questions quickly and under pressure.
All of our GCSE packs focus on the key skills required to do well in higher tier GCSE exams and include detailed step-by-step answers and mark schemes for every question. Each question is labelled to identify the relevant exam boards.
We’d highly recommend the following resources for GCSE maths help:
All of our GCSE packs are available immediately after download.
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