How to pass Maths GCSE

by Anita Naik

GCSE maths is a core subject that you need to pass as it's a must-have for higher education qualifications, universities, apprenticeships and a wide range of careers.

Passing maths GCSE requires knowledge of various mathematical basics, as well as more advanced maths theory. The following are all core areas both in the foundation and higher tier GCSE.

(1) Number - fractions decimals, percentages
(2) Algebra - quadratic equations, factorising, indices
(3) Ratio, proportion and rates of change - compound measures, measurements
(4) Geometry and measures - angle theorems, 3 D shapes, vectors
(5) Trigonometry - Pythagoras theorem, congruency
(6) Statistics and probability - averages, data, sampling

Step one: Practice all the time

Aside from tutors and teachers, there are many websites and revision guides that offer tips on everything you may come across in the maths GCSE syllabus. It's good to practice what you learn as you go as this helps with memorization. Read practice questions and familiarise yourself with how questions are asked and what various terms mean. A tutor or teacher can help here to understand what examiners want to see in your answers.

Write down - this means no explanation is needed for an answer. Just answer.

Calculate - this means solve, and show your working out

Draw - this means plot accurately using the graph paper

Step two: Use the official syllabus as a revision checklist

If you don't know where this is, ask your maths teacher/tutor and read through each part so you have everything covered by the time your exam comes around.

Step three: Show the working out on exam questions

To get a high grade, you need to write down every step of your working out, when asked. This is because even if you get the answer wrong, you will get some marks for providing a partially-correct solution.

Step four: Memorise formulas

Both memorisation and practice that will bring you a top grade in GCSE maths. And the best way to improve memory retention is by repetition; keep doing practice questions over and over again.

Step five: Revise everything you have studied

That's everything from year 10 and 11 as you never know what questions you will be asked so check through all the key subject areas (see above).

Step six: Read the questions properly

Make sure you understand what the question is asking, as some will be 'multi-step' questions. For example, part (b) of a question might require you to know information from part (a). The number of marks is given at the end of each question or part question.

Step seven: Check your answers

It's really easy to make small mistakes when you're stressed, so always factor in some time to check your work and answers.

Step eight: Ask and accept help

Asking for help from a maths tutor or teacher doesn't mean you cannot do maths. It's simply a way of ensuring you have a good understanding of the subject knowledge and strategies around revision and exam technique.