GCSE Maths: Pearson/Edexcel reveal essential advice

Pearson's maths team have provided TSR users with some exclusive last-minute advice for everyone sitting their GCSE 9-1 Maths exams this summer.

Follow the guidance to make sure you get as many marks as you possibly can.

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Tip 1: Prepare for all the content within the specification

Whether you are entering for Foundation or Higher Tier you should be prepared for all the content in the specification. There is a considerable increase both the algebra and the ratio and proportion content in GCSE Mathematics nowadays. Time spent on these aspects of the specification will no doubt better prepare you.

Tip 2: Try to answer all questions

Our performance data over the years shows that even those students who attain the lowest available grades can pick up marks in all questions in the paper. If you can’t do one, try the next one – and always try to make a start at answering every question. Marks are often available for showing that you know what you need to do, even if you are unable to make further progress.

Tip 3: Memorise the formulas

There won’t be a formula sheet with the examination papers as you may have been used to seeing when trying out past papers. The formulas you will need to know by heart can be found here. Make sure in advance that you know what formulas you are expected to remember and be able to use (they can be found here). Formulas for the volume and surface area of a cone and a sphere will be given if they are required.

Tip 4: Make sure you have the correct equipment for all the examinations

This comprises a pen, pencil, eraser, ruler, protractor, a pair of compasses and a calculator (for Papers 2 and 3) – make sure you have all of these in good time before the examination. You can ask for tracing paper to use in transformation questions if required.

Tip 5: Show ALL your working

In the shorter questions, make sure you don't overlook the need to show all stages of working.  This is particularly the case on the calculator papers, where sometimes the temptation is to just work through to the solution to the problem on the calculator and showing just the answer on the answer line. Often, if you get the final answer wrong but have shown your working, you can still pick up many of the marks available.

Tip 6: Present your work clearly

Make sure you organise your work clearly, particularly in questions which require a number of stages in order to find a solution. We provide plenty of space for you to be able to fully show your working, so don't be afraid to use it!

Tip 7: Check your answers

Check the answers you have given make sense in the context of the question. Any time you have left at the end should be used for going through your paper looking for any simple errors. For example, check you have copied any final answer of your working on to the answer line correctly; make sure instances of simple addition and multiplication are correct; make sure you have given a reason for your answer if you have been asked for one. Make sure that if you have been asked the best buy on a packet of soap powder, for example, you have actually said which one it is.

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