“How do I revise for my GCSE in mathematics?”
I am a firm believer that hard work pays off and am confident that if you are willing to put in the effort, you can definitely get a top grade in maths. Be organised and try to start early… there’s well over 300 topics, so begin early. Also take advantage of all the support around you… your teacher, websites such as Corbettmaths or even friends or family can be a great place to turn for help.
Before I carry on with my list of suggestions, I also recommend you consider where and how you revise. There are different types of revision and I am a firm believer that you should include all varieties. There will be times when you will be revising as part of a group, such as in revision sessions or with friends. You may be working on past papers or even using revision cards. Talk to your friends, ask questions, listen to what they say or ask… you can learn a lot by listening to how they approach topics or questions. You may even use your phone/iPad to look up notes, watch Corbettmaths videos, look up Twitter etc… this is all extremely useful.
Then there should be times when you will be working individually on your mathematics revision. Remove yourself from distractions, turn off your phone and work on the past papers or learn the key facts giving it your full attention. I always rate going to the local library as it is a great place to avoid distractions.
Also it is so important you are fully equipped to revise… make sure you have the equipment in the image as well as paper/notebook/folder to organise your work. It is very important to become familiar with your calculator and what each button does.
Top Revision Tips from Corbettmaths
1) Start early using a “little and often” approach… perhaps using the 5-a-day. It is so important that you regularly practise the material you have learnt in lessons. The only way to remember what you learnt yesterday/last week/last month/last year is to regularly try questions on those topics. The 5-a-day give you a chance to do that. If you find a topic you can’t remember how to do a question on, watch the video on it to give yourself a reminder… if you’re in doubt over what topic it is, just tweet me @Corbettmaths and ask.
Also establish what topics are your strengths and those that need attention by sitting a mock exam, going through your homework or even just asking your teacher. Then focus on the topics that need attention…
- watch the Corbettmaths video on the topic
- read the notes your teacher has given you on topic in your book
- try the Corbettmaths textbook exercises or Practice Questions on the topic and check your answers
- check if there are any “revision sessions” offered in school and ask the teacher in advance if you can work on that topic
- revisit the topic in a few days and also in a few weeks time to ensure you remember.
3) Past papers, past papers, past papers! Although every year there will be a tricky question or two, the vast majority of a GCSE maths paper is fairly predictable. So by completing loads (if not all) the past papers, you will be fully prepared for the majority of the questions… it will also help you identify what topics are your “weaknesses” and will let you know which videos and practice questions you will need to work on next. Also with the “problem solving” questions, even though the ones you practise may not come up exactly the same, the skills you apply to solve it when working on the past papers will really help you be prepared for the trickier question(s) in the actual GCSE.
Also mark your papers using mark schemes/model solutions or even ask your teacher very nicely… perhaps with a chocolate bar attached to thank them for their time!
4) Timings – also when you are working on past papers, consider timing yourself to make sure you are working at a good pace. If the exam has 80 marks and is 1 hour 30 minutes long, “a minute a mark” is a good rough guideline.
5) Revision Sessions – I highly recommend taking advantage of any opportunities you have in school… who knows, the questions covered in a revision session may be the questions that come up in the actual GCSE.
6) Variety – Mix up your revision, adding in different activities… use the Corbettmaths Revision Cards or the flash revision cards on Quizlet or even make your own! How about making a poster on the cube numbers to add to your bedroom ceiling? How about using window pens to write the Speed, Distance, Time triangle on your window so you can learn while looking out the window? How about baking some cupcakes and icing Pythagoras’ Theorem on them? It’s important that you don’t get bored of revision, however don’t spend too long making posters.
7) Use your lesson time wisely… although you may spend a few hours a week revising mathematics, remember you also have 4 hours of maths lessons each week. Keep 100% focussed in your lessons and avoid distractions. Who knows, the moment you decide to chat about something random, might be the moment your teacher passes on the most important piece of advice ever!
8) Create a cheat sheet – When I get my classes to do a test in September of year 11, I allow them to bring in one sheet of A4 into the exam. They are allowed to write anything they want on it, but it is often covered with key formulae and facts that they need to learn off by heart. A month later, they sit another test but this time with 1/2 a sheet of A4. A month later, a 1/4 a sheet of A4 and so on. By creating a cheat sheet, you have to consider all the key facts that you may need… then as the sheet of paper gets smaller, you have the challenge of learning the material and also removing it from your cheat sheet. It’s a great way to gradually learn lots of information. Also you will have a handy sheet to bring with you on the walk to school on the day of the actual GCSE.
9) Use these great resources
Hopefully with these tips you will go onto reach your full potential and get a top grade in your GCSE Mathematics