Here are 5 tips to maximize your maths GCSE grade:
1. Master the basics: This is very important. Maths is a subject of progression. This means new concepts follow on from previous concepts. If you master the basics, you will pick up the more advanced concepts very quickly. Learn your basic arithmetic (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) inside out. This makes up a large part of the syllabus. If your arithmetic skills are weak, you are guaranteed to drop a huge number of marks. Make sure you practise this! You’ll know when you’ve mastered the arithmetic when you can answer a wide range of questions, mentally, in a matter of seconds.
2. Learn the theory: Without any prior knowledge whatsoever, you cannot answer a single question. You have to learn the theory. If you learn it, intuitively, you will be able to answer any question that arises from it. This is a fact! So make sure you understand what you’re learning. If you don’t, you’re asking to fail! Don’t be embarrassed to ask your friends or family if you’re unsure about something. At the end of the day, do you care about what people think or what grade you’ll get in your GCSE maths?
3. Exam Papers: You need to have access to a large number of past papers. The more, the merrier. It just means more practise for you. Try to work through them without referring to a revision guide. With a revision guide, you are practically given the answers. So, avoid using a textbook altogether. The whole point of practise papers is to see how much you can remember. In the exam, you will not have access to any more material. Whatever you’ve learnt from a textbook has to be recited in the exam. Therefore, start getting used to exam conditions right away. With each past paper, you are potentially increasing your grade by a small percentage.
4. Methods: When attempting the past papers, you’ll notice that maths itself is a methodical subject. Answers to questions are given in a step-by-step format. For instance, if you are solving an algebraic equation, you have to follow a certain procedure: put the unknown on one side of the equals and number terms on the other. Then, solve it for the unknown. This is how you go about answering all the questions. Thus, it’s important to memorize the methods as opposed to carrying out small calculations. When time is running out and you haven’t completed all the past papers that you would’ve like to, answer the remaining ones methodically. Scan over the remaining papers and just bullet point the steps involved. You do not have to carry out the calculations themselves. If you’ve got the methods down, you’ll ace the exam.
5. Areas of weaknesses: As a result of past papers, you will identify areas of weaknesses. These are questions that you get frequently wrong. Make sure you keep a list of weaknesses handy. Then, at the end, work on each weakness. Practise them so you won’t make the same mistakes in the exam. Remember, your weaknesses are what prevent you from attaining the highest mark possible. Make sure you address them!
There you have it. Keep these important pointers in mind when revising for your GCSE maths exam. Take it from me, I've aced all the maths exams I've ever taken. I'm confident that if you follow all of the above, you are bound to get a top grade!