Preparing for GCSEs, especially Maths, can be daunting, but if you follow these simple steps then it can be a stress-free experience! A private maths tutor can be a great help for this - having someone to explain the difficult parts and offer feedback on your work can be reassuring.
How to be Top of the Class At Maths
The first thing to do is relax. The GCSE Maths examinations come in two forms – Foundation or Higher – and there are generally two papers (and sometimes coursework.) Find out, if you don't already know, exactly what is required for your course before starting to revise.
Once you know what you're aiming for, you can start your GCSE Maths revision.
The Five Step Plan
1. Be organised. You'll have a lot of subjects to revise for, and a lot of things you'd rather be doing. Sit down and plan out how long it is until the exam and divide the work up so you're not at the desk 24/7.
2. Little and Often. Don't set unreasonable targets like “I want to know everything YESTERDAY.” Better to revise one thing and know it well than rush through five - this is where a maths tutor could help.
3. Practice makes Perfect. Maths is a subject where you're either right or wrong. Most maths questions have one answer, and much of the credit is in how you get there. Do examples. Make sure you're using the skills and understand them.
4. Use Your Head. Even though you can use a calculator, try to use it as little as possible. It's often faster that way. Plus, calculators don't show you where you went wrong. Brush up on your mental arithmetic.
5. Start with the Basics. Don't leap into the complicated bits before you understand the simple ones. That's where the whole “little and often” thing comes into play. Build up to the difficult parts through mastering the easy ones. Again, a maths tutor can help identify a good revision technique and schedule.
Other Survival Tips
Some exam boards offer you a formula sheet in the exam – find out from your teacher if that's the case for you. Make sure you know what's required for the course - your school should be able to help. Consider doing past GCSE Maths papers to see what the GCSE Maths papers involve. Use worked examples (as in the GCSE Maths revision guides and past GCSE Maths papers) available to understand exactly what you're doing – and where you might be going wrong.
Your Chance to Shine
Don't revise too much at the last minute, so when the time comes for the exam just relax. When you start the exam, read the paper before you start. Make sure you know what's being asked of you. And when you think you've finished, use any time left to check over the hardest questions. Stay calm, and good luck!