How to get a C in GCSE Maths

January 25, 2016

In 2015, I completed the Teach First leadership Development Program and thus qualified as a Mathematics teacher.  For many students taking their GCSEs in the summer, one of the biggest questions asked is “how do I get a C in GCSE maths?”  So I put together this list of my top tips to secure that grade...or above!

1. Make sure you’ve got the basics!

It may sound silly but can you add, subtract, divide and multiply quickly and efficiently?  Do you know how to convert a decimal into a fraction?  Can you find a percentage of a number?  Where is the square root button on your calculator?  These skills make up the basics for answering every question on the paper.  If you don’t have solid methods for these try practicing a couple of sums every evening until you’re doing it in your sleep!

2. Don’t panic about the last questions

To get a C on the paper, you need to get the first 12 or so questions correct. That means you don’t need to nail every question.  But, there are some A grade topics which are easy if you can remember the methods which work every time.  Try having a go at Histogramscumulative frequency and stratified sampling (click the links for resources!)

3. Learn your key words and formula

You might know the formula for volume of a prism but if you don’t know what a prism is you’ll not be able to use it! Try making some quiz cards to test yourself.  Where is the hypotenuse on a right angle triangle?  What does the S stand for in SOHCAHTOA?  What is the difference between area and perimeter?

4.  Method marks

Remember that even if you don’t get the answer, you can still pick up marks for trying.  And who knows, maybe giving it a go will jog your memory and you’ll get the answer!

5.  Read the question

I had a friend who would make her students write “RTFQ!” - read the flipping question! - at the top of every page.  You won’t believe how many silly mistakes you’ll make because you haven’t read the question.  Slow down, breath deeply and take the time to make sure you really understand what the question is asking you for.  

What are your top tips for exams?  Have you got a resource that is really helpful?  Do you know a fool proof method for trigonometry?  We'd love to hear from you below!

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