Top Tips – Get Ready for your GCSE & A Level Maths Exam

Studying for maths exam

As the time approaches to sit your GCSE or A Level Maths exams, there are things you can do to help you feel more confident and relaxed.

You have worked so hard studying the different elements of maths, mastering a wide range of skills and techniques, and your GCSE or A Level Maths exams is the time when you will put all of that hard work into practice and show what have learned.

Before your GCSE or A Level Maths exams

Your teachers have given you a lot of information, examples, and opportunities to practice each area for the maths exam.  Before taking the exam, spend some time reading over your class notes.  You may want to make flashcards of the most important ideas and concepts.  Get a friend or family member to help you study.

Think back to your classes. What skills did your teacher tell you were most important? Keep those skills in mind.  If your teacher told you to focus upon them, studying those skills will help you on the exam.

Familiarise yourself with the types of questions that will appear on the exam.  Look through sample maths exams and study how skills are tested.  Remember the maths exam requires you to apply the concepts and skills, not just identify.

During the GCSE or A Level Maths exams

The maths exam is not comprised of simply answering a question.  You must fully answer the question by working through all of the steps.  You want to get as many points as possible by working out each step very carefully.

Check to see if your answer is reasonable.  When you read back over the question and you answer, your solution should make sense.  For example, if your answer states that a woman is 182 metres tall, you need to check to see what you did incorrectly.

Watch for keywords.  If the question tells you to draw a graph, make sure you draw it neatly.  If the question asks you to calculate, make sure your calculations are clear and easy to follow.

For multi-step questions, break down the process into each step.  Show your work for each step as you work through the problem. Be careful to show your final answer clearly. You can have all of the steps written correctly, but will not receive any points if you don’t also include the correct final answer.


As you begin, you will see the points in brackets that indicate how much each question is worth.  The questions in the beginning may not not as difficult as later ones, and may not take as much time to solve.  Do not spend too much time on each question, but build your confidence by working through these early questions. If the point values are high, this is a good indication that the question is more difficult and may have many steps in order to solve.  Work through it carefully to earn as many points as you can.

If you set a goal to spend about a set time per point value, you will have a some time at the end to recheck your answers.  Make sure you answer as many questions as you can in the time you have.

Take a deep breath, and do your best!  Remember you have worked very hard to get to this point.  Time to show what you know!

Good luck!

Last Updated on December 7, 2021

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