Getting ready for your GCSE Maths exam? Exam board AQA shares advice to get you prepped
There's a lot you need to remember when you're studying for your GCSE Maths exam.
But while you're memorising the finer detail of algebra and geometry, it's important to keep sight of the basics.
We asked the maths team at AQA to share their essential advice on taking AQA GCSE Maths. Here’s what they had to say:
Tip #1. Practise the easy things
There may be lots of questions on an exam paper testing topics you understand well. It’s important that you get lots of practice at these questions and minimise the risk of making silly mistakes and losing unnecessary marks.
Tip #2. Break down longer questions when revising
When practising longer problems it may be a good idea to ignore the question for a minute or two and simply work out everything you can from the information presented.
For example, write down all the angles you can work out on a diagram and then look at the question to see what it’s asking for. Very often you will find that you’ve already found the answer, or you may be just one step away from it.
Tip #3. Get to know your calculator
Two of the three GCSE maths papers expect you to be able to use a calculator effectively and efficiently.
- Practise using the trig functions and carrying out longer calculations using brackets etc
- Know how to set the mode of your calculator so you calculate and get answers in the format you expect
Tip #4. Do lots of practice. Then do some more
- There is very little in maths that you can learn from reading. You need to get on and do some questions.
- This might be past papers or groups of questions on a topic you know you need to work on, or material you can find online. Just do lots of maths!
- Go back over papers you’ve already done and have another go. You’ll see yourself improving and build your confidence.
Tip #5. Ensure you read the question properly
Then read it again. We see lots of examples every year where students have done some accurate work, but haven’t answered the question asked.
- If an answer is asked for in particular units, give your response in those units, otherwise you will lose out on marks.
- Similarly, if an answer must be to a number of decimal places or significant figures, make sure you give the answer in the requested format. Again, you will lose out on marks if you don’t.
Tip #6. Show your working
Well-structured answers with the odd word of explanation will help you answer questions.
- It will make it easier for you to follow your working and make the right choice for the next step in your answer.
- Showing your working demonstrates to the examiner your understanding of the task and shows your thought process.
- Using the appropriate processes to answer the question could still earn you marks, even if you get the final answer wrong.
Tip #7. Keep going right to the end of a paper.
You will be able to pick up lots of marks for partly answering questions even if you cannot get to the end.
Attempt to do something on every question – both in the exam and when you’re revising.
This article has been written by the AQA Maths team.
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