The first blog of the year 2020 and I feel compelled to talk about GCSE Maths. Specifically GCSE Maths past papers.

When it comes to GCSE Maths, there are several ways to revise and several resources out there that you can use to pass your exams.

GCSE Test papers

One of the ways the best way is to use GCSE Maths Past Papers. There are several out there on the public domain which follows the linear course structure that you can use to revise. But what’s the best way to use past papers to revise?

1. Algorithms

How to revise for GCSE maths
First, you need to start by swallowing the fact that there are over 300 topics!

Yes, Over 300!

Here is a list of topics that you need to cover.

To make your life easier, most of the major exam boards have divided these up into larger sections namely:

  1. Number
  2. Algebra
  3. Ratio, proportion and rates of change
  4. Geometry and measures
  5. Probability
  6. Statistics

Take a look at this on the Edexcel Website (Page 3) for example.

Once you’ve covered the course content, read on to see my secret tricks to using past papers.

The secret to using past papers to revise

Step 1.

Start by doing some past papers. Don’t time yourself. Just go through the paper and attempt every question identifying all the topics which you don’t understand

Let’s do some together!

I’ve picked November 2018 Higher Paper 1 and will start off with the first question.


That was indices. Easy 2 marks (always consider the number of marks for every question as it gives you an idea of the level of difficulty).

Of course, you need to check that you’re right in the Mark Scheme and yes, it’s right!

The Mark schemes

Have you ever looked at a Mark scheme and thought….So many A1’s, M1’s flying around everywhere. I don’t understand it!

That’s why you should use handwritten solutions to check your answers. Why? The reason is that your brain is naturally more likely to relate to and understand the method behind handwritten solutions than when it’s typed.

There are plenty online, but I’m a big fan of Math Genie ‘Solution links’.

For GCSE past papers on all subjects, make sure to visit School Entrance Tests.

Back to questions, we keep on going until we reach something slightly harder.

From my vast experience tutoring GCSE maths, I can tell you for free that students aren’t a fan of shapes.

Next question…. Shapes.

For me, that wasn’t too bad and if it was easy for you, congratulations. Now try the last question below.

Maybe you found it hard to figure out how to find the area of the shaded region? Maybe you used another method to find out the area of a quarter of the circle? Sector area? Or it’s very possible that you just didn’t get it at all.

Not to worry, the whole point of doing questions not under timed conditions is that it should get you thinking about your weaknesses and areas you need to cover.

Once you have found what you need to work on, that’s the point where you need to look for help and resources to develop your fundamental understanding of the topic. Here are some great suggestions for you.

GCSE Maths Videos

Think about it, with so many topics to learn, videos are a great way to absorb the information.

I would recommend you visit ExamSolutions, where you’ll find a huge amount of really helpful tutorials showing you how to do almost everything. Great news for you is that ExamSolutions will be providing even more GCSE Maths content later this year!

GCSE Maths Tutoring

At Air Maths Tuition, we provide small group tutoring for GCSE Maths students of all levels, covering those dreaded topics such as congruence, 3d trigonometry, shapes and vectors and make sure you are more than prepared for your exam.
We’ll help you do homework, answer questions, create flashcards and strive to give you the tools you need for success.

Sign up to join an online classroom from your home.

Now you have gone through all the course topics, done some papers and watched videos, you should be ready to take the test under timed conditions.

Let me know how it goes.

Contact or call 0208 434 0644

Okay, let’s finish off this blog for with an absolute stinker of a question

One Comment

  • Erika Brady says:

    Thanks for the advice to not give yourself a time limit but simply go through past papers and solve the problems in order to find out which parts you struggle with. It would probably be a good idea to combine this with going to a tutor. This way, you can get help for experienced professionals that can go over the parts you’re struggling with and also provide other questions to all the topics so you can ensure you can do as good as possible on your next math equivalency test.

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