Preparing for GCSE Maths Exams. A guide for parents.

Last Updated: 02 May 24
GCSE maths problem

As Year 11 students prepare to conquer their GCSE maths exams, it's crucial to equip yourselves with effective revision techniques that make mastering mathematical concepts not just achievable, but even enjoyable. This guide offers practical tips and examples tailored specifically to GCSE maths revision, ensuring you're armed with the tools you need to succeed.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Do not just read through your textbooks or make notes and summaries ... you must solve as many practice questions and past papers as possible to reinforce your understanding and build confidence.

You can access past GCSE maths papers (and mark schemes) for each exam board here.

As you strengthen and get more confident, give yourself timed exam papers in exam conditions so you also learn how to pace your work.

Here are some practical tips:

1. Understand the Exam Format

Familiarise yourself with the structure of the GCSE maths exams, including the topics covered in each paper and the allocation of marks.

Example: Know that Paper 1 is a non-calculator and Paper 2 is a calculator-allowed. Plan your revision accordingly to ensure you're comfortable with both scenarios.

2. Break Down Topics

Divide the maths syllabus into manageable chunks, focusing on one topic at a time.

Example: If tackling algebra, break it down into equations, inequalities, and functions. Dedicate specific study sessions to each sub-topic.

3. Use Revision Resources

Invest in high-quality revision guides and textbooks tailored to the GCSE maths syllabus.

Example: Use revision websites like BBC Bitesize or Khan Academy for interactive lessons and tutorials on specific topics.

4. Engage with Different Learning Styles

Experiment with visual aids, such as diagrams and charts, to understand complex concepts.

Example: Visualize geometric shapes and transformations using graph paper or drawing software to enhance your spatial reasoning skills.

5. Create Summary Notes and Flashcards

Condense key formulas, definitions, and concepts into concise summary notes and flashcards for quick reference.

Example: Create flashcards for trigonometric ratios and identities, with one side displaying the formula and the other explaining its application.

6. Work on Weak Areas

Identify your weak spots through practice questions and seek additional help or resources to strengthen your understanding.

Example: If you struggle with trigonometry, seek clarification from your teacher or watch online tutorials to grasp concepts like sine, cosine, and tangent ratios.

7. Develop Problem-Solving Strategies

Learn different problem-solving techniques, such as trial and error, working backwards, and breaking a problem into smaller steps.

Example: Use the 'guess and check' method to solve word problems involving unknown quantities, gradually refining your approach until you find the correct solution.

8. Time Management

Practice time management by setting timers for practice papers and questions to simulate exam conditions.

Example: Allocate a specific amount of time to each question based on its difficulty level, ensuring you don't spend too long on challenging questions at the expense of easier ones.

9. Stay Positive and Persistent

Maintain a positive attitude towards your revision journey, celebrating your progress and learning from your mistakes.

Example: If you make a calculation error in a practice question, identify where you went wrong, correct your mistake, and try similar questions to reinforce your understanding.


With these practical strategies at your disposal, mastering GCSE maths becomes an achievable goal rather than an insurmountable challenge. By embracing a proactive approach to revision, engaging with diverse learning resources, and nurturing a positive mindset, you're well-equipped to excel in your exams and beyond. Remember, every problem you solve brings you one step closer to success.

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