Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

100 Days to go

February 15, 2018 Comments off

The aim of this post is to give some advice on the approach to your GCSE maths exam. With around 3 months left to prepare, big gains can still be made. If you have sat mock exams earlier in the year, those grades can still be brought up by 1 or even possibly 2 grades with determination and working strategically… but remember time is of the essence, so you must begin now.

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The Right Tools for the Job ∼ 1 or 2 days

As your time is so valuable right now, I would recommend trying to get these sorted out as quickly as possible… perhaps even ask a parent or sibling if they can help you out.

  • Equipment: black pens (lots), pencils (HB), 30cm ruler, Casio scientific calculator , a pair of compasses (compass), protractor, eraser and sharpener.
  • Past papers: ask your teacher which exam board you are sitting. Past papers can usually be found on their websites. Here are some useful links: Mr Barton Maths, Edexcel, AQA, OCR, WJEC, CCEA, Corbettmaths (*sorry I currently only have Edexcel Higher, but will be adding lots more over the next few months)
  • Revision Cards  – as these have QR links to video tutorials, practice questions and answers, they will help you work efficiently through any topics requiring attention.
  • Video Tutorials and Practice Questions

First Steps ∼ 2 days

As time is limited and there are a lot of topics, the first thing I would recommend is that you identify your strengths and less confident topics.

Have you been given a list from your teacher? Quite often teachers give their students a list of topics they need to work on based on mock exams. They may be called PLCs or an exam analysis. They will give you an idea of some topics that require attention.

Use these checklists for Higher and Foundation to identify your strengths and areas needing attention. Your PLC/exam analysis may be helpful, alternatively browse the Practice Questions here to help you decide if you are confident or not for each topic.

Highlighted Revision Checklist

  •  Use the Corbettmaths Revision Cards and sort the cards into groups: (a) confident (b) need to revise and possibly (c) unfamiliar with. This is shown below by @Tessmaths. These can then be highlighted on the revision checklist.


I strongly recommend that you double check with your teacher what topics she/he are yet to teach. With around 3 months left, there may be a few last remaining topics and it can be very useful to know what these are. It may even be worthwhile to give yourself a preview using the videos here

Get Stuck in ∼ 8 weeks

This list of topics needing attention will become a key component of your revision over the next 8 weeks. The revision checklist above has around 40 topics, so that would be around 5 topics per week – perhaps 3 on a weekend day and 2 during the week.

When focussing on a topic, I would recommend:

  1. Watch the video shown on the checklist, so for “Angles in Polygons,” that would be video 25 on I would recommend watching it twice, making some notes during the second viewing.
  2. Try the Practice Questions – these can be found next to video 25 on the contents page.
  3. Mark your work using the answers – links to these can be found on the contents page.
  4. Once confident, cross it off on the revision checklist. If you need a little bit more help, I’m sure your teacher would be more than happy to help you during a break/lunch if you ask nicely (I’m certain they would be impressed by how proactive you are!).

Repeat this process for all the topics needing attention.

You might find that you actually recap some of the topics on your list during your lessons… I know I would regularly ask my classes what they would like to recap in the weeks before the exam, once we had finished teaching new material.

During this 8 week spell, it is extremely important to continue practising all the topics on the list. To some extent, this will naturally happen during your lessons and via further mocks/practice tests within school, however I would definitely recommend you work on your 5-a-days. They are a great way to keep revisiting all the topics that will be on your GCSE exams. Alternatively, feel free to work on the odd past paper.


Past Papers, Past Papers, Past Papers ∼ 6 weeks

By around the Easter holidays (or during it), you should have reduced your list of topics needing attention to a small handful. Hopefully by now everything will be coming together and you should be feeling a lot more confident overall. Now is the time to get stuck into past papers.

Try to vary how you attempt these:

  • individually in timed conditions
  • individually with notes
  • along with peers, discussing how you would attempt each question
  • I’m sure you will be completing lots within school also

Most importantly, make sure you mark your work and understand where you are making mistakes. You may find that you re-visit your checklists and recap some topics using the videos/questions.

Along with the past papers, try to mix up your revision, perhaps revisiting notes and using your revision cards

The Final Week ∼ 1 week

With around a week to go, personally I would ease off the past papers. The main reasons being:

(a) by this stage you probably have done every paper (twice!)

(b) sods law you will find the one and only question that you just cannot get your head around and that might rock your confidence… the chances of that one particular question coming up is slim. Considering a grade 9 was 190/240, there will be the odd question that will stump you, but you can still go on to get the top grades!

(c) By this stage you may have started sitting your GCSEs for other subjects.

At this stage I would recommend:

  • recapping notes/revision cards
  • watching videos and attempting questions on particular topics
  • asking your teacher to recap topics X & Y
  • working through 5-a-days or past papers with peers

The night before and day of the exam

See this dedicated blog post on the night before and day of the exam – COMING SOON

Also see these upcoming blog posts

  • How to tackle those “wordy questions” – COMING SOON
  • How to tackle those “curveball” questions – COMING SOON

I really hope this post has helped give you some ideas for your maths revision and GOOD LUCK

If you are looking for videos/questions on a particular topic or need help with a particular question, please feel free to get in touch via the contact form or Twitter

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel  for the latest videos added





Categories: Blog

Video URLs for Whitelisting

October 3, 2017 Comments off

The link below contains all the Video URLs and also Embed links that can be found on Corbettmaths.

Corbettmaths Video URLs

If you have any questions, please just get in touch using the Contact Form.

Categories: Blog

Classroom Idea: LED Light Display

September 28, 2017 Comments off

LED Light Display

Over the past few weeks I have noticed lots of photos on Facebook from friends using LED Light Displays to announce birthdays etc. Instantly I wondered if they could be used to enhance my classroom and capture students’ attention – perhaps with key words, messages or even mathematical formulae or prompts (such as SOH CAH TOA)

So I picked up 2 displays for £10 and began thinking of how they could be used.

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  • Key words
  • Prompts such as SOH CAH TOA
  • Countdown activity for extension work – 1 display with target number, 1 with numbers to be used
  • Messages such as good luck
  • Homework, e.g. Page 75 Ex. 3A
  • Corbettmaths Video number for the lesson being taught, e.g. Video 257 could be the text when teaching a lesson on Pythagoras
  • Can be attached easily to a wall with two screws so can be displayed in prominent location such as beside the whiteboard.

Potential issues:

  • Ensuring you have enough letters (Mine had 3 of many letters and 2 of others and 2 of each number). It was useful buying two displays as I could display “Video 222” with the additional numbers from the second set.
  • Requires batteries
  • Letters could be rearranged by a creative student (or colleague)

I personally plan to use the displays to “highlight” the video that accompanies the lesson being taught as it will be very quick and easy to change the number beneath the word video.

Categories: Blog

Revision Card Displays

August 28, 2017 Comments off

Last summer I created a display for my classroom using the Corbettmaths Revision Cards. I have to say the display was one of the most useful classroom displays that I’ve ever had. From students quickly running up to check their knowledge of “exact trig values” to students jotting down key facts from topics they were less confident on.

One of the my favourite uses over the year was in the final approach to the actual exams. At this point student were confident in highlighting their strengths/weaknesses from extensive past papers and assessment, they would visit the display and use the card but also the QR code for the videos and questions to spend 20-30 minutes solidly working on the needed topics. The display became such a big part of revision that some students would bring their own sets of the revision cards into lessons.

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This display covers around 40 of the 90 cards, with another display at the back of the classroom. As the QR codes are an important part of the display, I actually used two sets to make the display, one showing the front the card and another beneath it showing the back. The display took around 30 minutes in total to make.

However over the past year, many teachers on Twitter have shared their own displays, which are even better than my own.

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I particularly like the displays that use the “hanging photo curtains,” as they can be easily reversed to find the QR codes.

Hopefully the Corbettmaths Revision Cards might be useful in helping you create a visually appealing learning environment but also that they will help your students with their GCSE studies.

There are big discounts for school bulk orders (potential savings of over 40%)




AQA Paper 3 – Unseen Topics

June 9, 2017 Comments off

AQA Paper 3 – Unseen Topics

*These Checklists and Practice Papers are based on the topics that are “Unseen” or are usually more prominent. It is very important that students recap the entire GCSE course – as there are 3 Papers, it is almost certain that some topics from Papers 1 & 2 will appear on Paper 3.

The Practice Papers are collections of 60+ questions that have not appeared (or as much as usual) and therefore are not aimed to be predict the actual paper, but give practice on the topics that may a good chance of appearing.

These resources are aimed to supplement the usual revision that you would already be doing for Paper 3. Here are revision checklists for the entire GCSE (Higher) and (Foundation)

Higher Unseen Topics – Practice Paper

Higher Unseen Topics – Practice Paper answers

Foundation Unseen Topics – Practice Paper

Foundation Unseen Topics – Practice Paper answers

Unseen Topic List – Higher

Unseen Topic List – Foundation



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Categories: Blog, Predictions

Edexcel Paper 3 – Unseen Topics

June 9, 2017 Comments off

Edexcel Paper 3 – Unseen Topics

*These Checklists and Practice Papers are based on the topics that are “Unseen” or are usually more prominent. It is very important that students recap the entire GCSE course – as there are 3 Papers, it is almost certain that some topics from Papers 1 & 2 will appear on Paper 3.

The Practice Papers are collections of 60+ questions that have not appeared (or as much as usual) and therefore are not aimed to be predict the actual paper, but give practice on the topics that may a good chance of appearing.

These resources are aimed to supplement the usual revision that you would already be doing for Paper 3. Here are revision checklists for the entire GCSE (Higher) and (Foundation)

Higher Unseen Topics – Practice Paper

Higher Unseen Topics – Practice Paper answers

Foundation Unseen Topics – Practice Paper

Foundation Unseen Topics – Practice Paper answers

Unseen Topic List – Higher

Unseen Topic List – Foundation


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Categories: Blog, Predictions

Merry Christmas 2016

December 22, 2016 Comments off

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I would just like to take a moment to thank everyone for using Corbettmaths this year. 2016 has been the busiest year for the website, both in terms of resources added and also the number of people viewing the site.

The charity SHINE have really supported me with the creation of the textbook exercises, which will be put together as freely downloadable eBooks. They supported me through 28 days off work in June/July 2016 and plan to help with with a further 30 days in June/July 2017. If you have a project which can help raise attainment in disadvantaged students, keep an eye out for the Let Teachers Shine competition in 2017.

So I just want to say a big thank you for your messages and for recommending the website to others.

Resources added

2016 has been an exciting year for Corbettmaths. There has been much added to the website:

23 booklets of GCSE Practice Questions

1131 5-a-day sheets for the New GCSE

35 videos

181 textbook exercises

Also there has been the addition of the Corbettmaths GCSE Revision Cards

Record number of views

This year has been a special year for the website, with nearly 10,500,000 views. This is a big increase from 4,800,000 in 2015 and 750,000 in 2014. Again thank you! 


The future

Over the past 5 years of working on the website, I have been teaching a full timetable as well as extra school responsibilities. Although I absolutely love teaching, it has been hard juggling work, the website and having a young family.

In 2017, I will begin teaching part-time and also will be relocating to Northern Ireland (don’t worry I will still focus on AQA/Edexcel/OCR/WJEC as well as CCEA). On that note, if there’s a maths teaching job coming up in September 2017 onwards in your school in Northern Ireland, I’d love to hear from you 😀

With the extra time to dedicate to the website, I will be focusing on:

  • Completing the GCSE eBooks (supported by SHINE)
  • Creating the primary 5-a-day (again supported by SHINE)
  • Adding lots of GCSE videos and practice questions
  • Creating a primary section with practice questions and videos
  • Then I will be focusing on A-level resources.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Categories: Blog

Podcast with MrBartonMaths

December 18, 2016 Comments off

Recently Craig Barton featured me on one of his very popular Podcasts.

To listen, click the icon below…


In Craig’s words we discussed:

  • How does John introduce pi via the medium of a baguette?
  • How does John prepare and deliver a lesson using the Flipped Learning approach? Now, I feel Flipped Learning is a concept that does not get discussed all that often these days, and it is absolutely fascinating hearing John talk about the planning process, the logistics, the technology, what happens before the lesson, what happens in the lesson, what John perceives as the numerous benefits to Flipped Learning, and what advice John has for teachers wanting to try this out.
  • John tells us about his amazing 5-a-days, where the idea came from, and how exactly he uses them with all his classes
  • We delve deep into why John started recording videos, how Corbett Maths has grown, and he describes exactly how much work goes into preparing and recording a video – and it is quite a surprise, I can tell you!
  • How has creating videos made John a better teacher, and why he would advise every teacher to record a video?
  • John explains about his Practice Questions and Textbook Exercises, and how he manages to write so many original questions
  • We talk about John’s GCSE Revision Cards, and after you have heard how much work John does, and how good these are, you will be ordering them up
  • And just before he talks about his Big 3, John describes what he he wishes he had known when he started teaching
Categories: Blog

5-a-day Display Boards

March 30, 2016 Comments off

5-a-day Display Boards

I have previously blogged about the 5-a-day with ideas of how people use them. One of the most popular ways the 5-a-day seem to be used by schools is to create a 5-a-day revision board.

Here are some amazing examples of 5-a-day Display Boards:

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I really love the idea of these boards as they:

  • Encourage students to begin revision early with a “little and often” approach – blog
  • Allow students to be responsible for their own revision… but they can check their answers and seek help on any topic they find difficult.
  • They are visually appealing and create an interactive, constantly updating display. I absolutely love my classroom and am a believer that the environment that students learn mathematics in and the displays around them, can help stimulate a passion (ok…an interest, perhaps!) in the wonderful world of maths! – blog
  • As a teacher, they are ideal for providing extension work for highly motivated students within lessons. See Conundrums
  • Can be linked to “house points” or even prizes through raffles for completed “entries.” I am aware of the extrinsic/intrinsic motivation debate, but in previous years when I added some small rewards, I suddenly had 80-90 students attending during break/lunch, compared to 30-40 previously.

These are the commonly asked questions about the display boards:

  • Will the students use it?

I have found that when I have explained the idea behind the display and that the benefits that the students will reap that they will definitely utilise it.

  • What about photocopying costs?

It is possible to print multiple 5-a-day per A4 page… I usually go for 4 per page and quickly guillotine. That works out at 0.5p per 5-a-day at my school. Also, I have found that in the past my “line managers” have always encouraged me to go ahead with it as the benefit for the vast number of students that use it outweigh the small cost.

  • Is there much preparation?

To be honest, when I have had the display inside my classroom, it does take a bit of forward planning. I usually spend an hour each half-term (or inset day) preparing the full term ahead.

However, many schools place their 5-a-day Display Boards in corridors, such as many of the examples shown in the slideshow above. A big benefit of this is there can be a departmental approach to preparation. Also I like the idea of students being able to “grab” a 5-a-day on their way past/

A big THANK YOU to the following teachers/schools for sharing their displays with me…

Categories: Blog Tags: , , ,

How do I revise for my GCSE Maths?

March 10, 2016 Comments off

“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.


2) Revise Strategically – Ensure you have a list of the topics that are in the exam… such as these for the GCSE Higher and GCSE Foundation.

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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.

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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

Categories: Blog