How to Build Your GCSE Maths skills
GCSE Maths is based on an understanding of mathematical concepts and knowledge. For this reason, the criteria for the syllabus is for students to show they are fluent in their knowledge of maths and can apply mathematical techniques to real-world problems.
To build your maths skillset, it's worth knowing what the Department of Education says about Maths GCSE.
"The GCSE specifications in mathematics should provide a comprehensive, coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study. They should encourage students to develop confidence in, and a positive attitude towards mathematics and to recognise the importance of mathematics in their own lives and to society."
This means students need to:
1. Develop fluent knowledge, skills and understanding of mathematical methods and concepts.
2. Acquire, select and apply mathematical techniques to solve problems.
3. Reason mathematically, make deductions and inferences and draw conclusions.
4. Comprehend, interpret and communicate mathematical information in a variety of forms appropriate to the information and context.
Students should be able to recall facts, terminology and definitions accurately. Use and interpret notation correctly. Accurately carry out routine procedures or set tasks requiring multi-step solutions. Make deductions, inferences and conclusions from mathematical information. As well as construct chains of reasoning to achieve a given result. Finally, all students need to communicate information about the following areas accurately:
Structure and calculation, fractions, decimals and percentages, measures and accuracy, algebra, ratio, proportion and rates of changes, geometry and measures and probability and statistics.
To help yourself:
Practice as much as you can
This is the number one way to build your maths skills and to ensure you can communicate them well. The best tip here is not to leave all your revision to the end of the year. Revise after every topic you study. Go over questions and problems you either get wrong or don't achieve maximum marks on and work out what your need to show to improve your work.
Work on subject comprehension
Every step of the way make sure that you understand what's being taught to you and why. An excellent way to check is to explain a topic to a peer. Or write a series of flashcards highlighting everything you need to know about a subject. If you have weak areas or knowledge gaps, ask your teachers, or a tutor to help you.
Increase your confidence in problem-solving
Much of this is about mindset and believing you can do it, and this comes from improving your problem-solving ability. One way to do this is to create a study group with your peers. Working with others will build your problem-solving strategies because you will learn new ways to solve problems and so refine your own techniques.
If you think you lack good problem-solving skills, trying solving math worksheets, play math games, go through your school maths textbook with a tutor and get to grips with all your mathematical concepts.
Understand the underlying concepts
Always try to understand the underlying concepts behind what you're practising. Taking the time to make sure you know what you're doing can help your math revision immensely and also improve your understanding of a topic. Again much of this is to do with good note-taking, practice and even asking questions when you don't understand something.
Memorise key formulas
There are several vital formulas' that you need to know for Maths GCSE; these include the Cosine rule and volume of a pyramid and Curved surface area of a cone to name but a few. Memorising them (try using flashcards) will help you score well in the GCSE exams.