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Top Ten GCSE Maths Exam Tips & Dates

When are the GCSE exams 2024?

GCSE exams in 2024 start from the week commencing Monday, 6 May and finish on Friday, 21 June.

GCSE Maths exams

AQA, Edexcel and OCR maths paper 1-foundation and higher-takes place on Thursday 16 May
AQA, Edexcel and OCR maths paper 2 – foundation and higher- takes place on Monday 3 June
AQA, Edexcel and OCR maths paper 3 – foundation and higher- takes place on Monday 10 June


GCSE English Language exams

AQA, Edexcel and OCR English language paper 1 exams will take place on morning of Thursday 23 May
AQA, Edexcel and OCR English language paper 2 exams will take place on morning of Thursday 6 June

Maths GCSE Examination Tips

Getting GCSE exam ready takes lots of practice.  These tips are to help you tackle the exams and to get the best possible result, they are not a substitute for good preparation and revision prior to the exam.

Imagine: You are in the exam room.  The paper is in front of you.  You have been told to write your name on the front of the paper (please make sure you do this!!).  You are told to begin…how do you feel?

Many students, despite hours of revision, will still feel nervous.  Despite these feelings you can still do well.

GCSEstudentGettting Started

Step 1 – Take a breath

Take a deep breath in and slowly breathe out.  This will give you a moment of calm and stop your heart from racing.  Look at the clock and now open the paper.

Step 2 – Flick through the paper

For about 3 minutes flick through the paper and put a tick against the questions you like the look of and a star against those you don’t like the look of. The ones you have ticked can be tackled first – this will build your confidence and get you warmed up.  These questions will take you less time to complete, so that you can then spend a longer amount of time on the trickier questions.

Having said that, the number of marks in a question is the indication of the number of minutes to be spent on it. 1-mark questions require little more than 1 minute; 2 marks, 2 mins and so on. If a tricky question is taking up too many valuable minutes, it’s okay for you to move on and come back to it later.

Step 3 – Read the Question

Now, answer as many questions as you can.  Once you have answered each question, take a moment to read the question again.  Have you answered the question?  Have you answered the question in the way it requires?  Have you rounded correctly?  Does your answer make sense?  Using this moment can enable you to pick up marks you may have otherwise lost.

Tip 1- Be Tidy or at Least Clear

Make sure your work is as neat and tidy as possible.  Make it easy for the examiner to assess your work and award your mark.

Maths is funTip 2-Use the Calculator

For the calculator exam – use the calculator! Chief Examiners have noted that students sometimes work out calculations manually when they should be using a calculator. Know your calculator prior to the exam, use the one you always use!

Remember to write on the paper any calculation that you type into the calculator as this will give you the extra marks.

Tip 3-Round the Numbers at the End

Write down the figures on your calculator and then make a suitable rounding. Don’t round the numbers during the calculation. This will often result in an incorrect answer.

Tip 4-Are You Sure You’re Right?

If you’re in the situation where you try two methods and you aren’t sure which one is correct, don’t put an answer on the answer line. If you do, the examiner will ignore the working that doesn’t lead to that answer. If you leave the answer line blank, the examiner will mark both methods and award whichever one is lower.

Tip 5-Attempt All Part of Questions If You Can

Look at all parts of a question.  Even though you may not be able to complete the first part of a question, if the second part is unrelated, it may be easy for you to complete.

Tip 6-Cross Out What is not Relevant

For wordy questions, cross out any information that is unnecessary and/or highlight the words that are needed for your calculations.  If it’s relevant make a sketch or a drawing that can help you to think about the problem.

Tip 7-Include Your Workings

If there are 3 or more marks available for a question, then be sure to include your workings (even if the question does not ask for your workings).  You are unlikely to get full marks for just the answer.

Tip 8-Know Your Units!

How many mms in a cm; cms in a metre; metres in a km; etc. Be sure to put your units on the answer line as this is usually worth an extra mark.

Tip 9-Only Write or Draw in the Answer Space

Do not write or draw anything outside of the answer space. It is likely to be missed by the examiner and you will drop marks. If you need extra space to write, draw an arrow indicating where the extra writing is. If the examiner cannot read it, or is not clear where the answer is, you will not get the marks.

Tip 10-Put a Hand Up and Make a Request If You Need to

You should have all your own equipment for the examination, and you should be confident in using it.  However, don’t be afraid to ask for help or equipment if you need it during the examination – your pencil may need sharpening; the batteries on your calculator may run out; you might need tracing paper for that transformations question.  The invigilators are there to help.

We wish you every success!

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