So your GCSE maths exams are just around the corner, and it’s a time where most students will be feeling the nerves and pressure, and maybe even a bit of panic starting to kick in too.

Revision period is one of the most challenging periods of the school year.

Although some students can feel on top of things and not worry too much, others can find themselves tearing their hair out with frustration and panic.

Maybe you’ve left too much until the last minute and now you feel as though you’ll never catch up, or you might feel like you don’t even know where to start with the whole lot!

But you’re not alone – GCSE is a tough time and there is so much pressure coming from all over the place to get certain grades. But it’s the run up to exams which can be most stressful sometimes, and how you tackle the problems that crop up during revision.

Use different resources to get you through revision!
Sometimes maths can be really overwhelming, but help is out there! Photo credit: Klara Kim via VisualHunt

GCSE maths revision and A-level maths can get really tough, especially with some of the more complicated topics, and you might come across hurdles you didn’t expect or problems you don’t know how to solve.

Improve your Maths Revision at Home

Don’t worry too much though, because help is at hand! Try to relax a bit and make a really clear plan of what you need to know for your exams. The best way to get the ball rolling is by making a revision timetable so that you know how much time to spend on each topic and subject.

Learning to prioritise important things and to manage your time well is good practice for any exams, and maths is no different! You can make a study plan on your own or online really easily, leaving more time for the most challenging topics, and slightly less for the things you feel more confident about.

If you’re finding that you repeatedly get certain things wrong, or always stumble over the same type of question, then this is what you need to make more time for. Prioritise the topics or problems that you frequently struggle with so that you can overcome the issue before the real exam.

You need to face the challenges as soon as possible so that you don’t get any nasty surprises in the actual exam. Make a start on the problems you find most difficult and keep at them right up until your exam – you should find that you can handle it much better by the time the exam comes around.

Remember that there is only so much that the exam will cover. Get a hold of your course syllabus and a template of the style of exam questions so that you can prepare for every scenario.

This also means that you need to start your revision as early as possible. A week before the exam simply won’t cut it – you need to put in a good amount of time for maths GCSE revision and make sure you spend time on every topic you’ve covered in class.

A really important thing to remember about maths is that it relies completely on how much you understand what you are learning. Trying to remember things isn’t enough, you need to really understand the maths in order to succeed.

Because the thing about maths is that what you learn at school can usually be applied to all sorts of problems, and you will use different techniques and methods to solve all manner of problems. This means you need to really learn your stuff so that you can apply it to different scenarios.

So, unlike some subjects at GCSE, maths isn’t something you can just memorise and regurgitate in an exam. You need to put the time in so that you can achieve a comprehensive knowledge of your syllabus.

And if you're worried of a poor showing in math, you probably need a few apps and tools to help you master it...

Study plans will help you succeed!
Setting yourself the right time will help keep you calm and feeling in control. Photo credit: ** RCB ** via Visualhunt

Finding Help for Maths Lessons

One of the best ways of overcoming problems during your maths revision is to ask for help. Some students get so caught up in trying to teach themselves topics they find tricky, and really all they need is someone to explain it to them.

Hire a Maths Tutor

Maths tutors are a great opportunity to ask all your questions and fix any problems you’ve been having during your revision and exam preparation. You can easily find a maths tutor online through platforms such as Superprof, or via social media sites. You can also keep an eye out in your school, library and local community for tutoring adverts.

An experienced maths tutor can help you with your maths and work through challenges at a pace that suits you, honing in on the things you find most difficult. Whether it’s problems with specific topics such as algebra, trigonometry, probability, or geometry, or if you just need maths homework help, there’s a tutor out there to help you through it.

With online tutoring sites like Superprof you can also find online tutors who are able to teach you over a video call. This means you can study from the comfort of your own home, whilst receiving brilliant personal teaching tailored to you.

Maths Tuition online

The internet is such a great resource if you’re struggling with revision. With a few simple searches you’ll find games, quizzes and other revision aids to help you get your head round difficult maths GCSE topics.

Websites such as BBC Bitesize, MyMaths and other maths websites with tutorials and tests can help to simplify things a bit and make maths more fun and much easier to understand.

And don’t forget about YouTube! This is a really great way of getting some helpful maths guidance at home. You can search for pretty much anything, and there will be videos of various lengths, ranging from mini-lessons to full-blown lectures available.

You will find lots of tutors, teachers and students who have their own YouTube channels and who upload lessons specifically targeted at GCSE maths students. This can be a great solution for problems you’re facing when you’re at home on your revision break.

While you're online, you might also want to explore the UK's top university maths programmes...

Get the Most from your Maths Calculator

You will be able to find explanations and help on every topic you need, including videos on how to use your calculator for certain maths problems, which can be a massive life-saver when there’s no teacher at hand to ask!

For some maths equations and problem-solving during GCSE, you will be allowed a calculator. In fact, for one of your GCSE maths exams you will actually need a calculator.

A graphical calculator can be your best friend if you learn how to use it properly. It can literally do the maths for you, so it’s really worth spending some time on getting to know how it works and what it can do for you.

The calculator paper is naturally a bit harder than the non-calculator paper, but this can be easily prepared for by working through the maths with your calculator as part of your revision and making sure you know how to use all of its main functions.

Using Maths GCSE Past Papers

You can now go ahead and put all of this preparation into practice! Get your hands on some past exam papers from the previous few years (as many as you can!), which you can find online or from your teachers at school.

Practicing past papers is one of the best ways to prepare for your maths GCSE exam and tackle any problems you’ve been having with learning the course content. You’ll get a clear idea of the exam format, the length, the style of questions and the mark scheme too.

Overcome your maths problems by doing past papers!
Practising past exams is the best way to prepare! Photo credit: Silenceofnight via Visual Hunt / CC BY

Doing some of the previous exam papers are a great indicator of how much revision you’ve done and how much knowledge you’ve actually retained. You’ll get an idea of where knowledge might be lacking, and where you’ll need to spend more time revising in order to get the hang of it.

It’s therefore really important that you get hold of the mark scheme for the papers you practice, and mark your work really carefully. This will show you what grade you are working towards and which type of questions you need to revisit next time so that you don’t make the same mistakes.

One of the most important pieces of advice to remember during your maths GCSE revision and exams is to keep calm and don’t let nerves get the better of you. Sometimes if you see something that doesn’t look familiar, it’s easy to panic.

You’ve got to stay confident, and remember that you do know what the question wants because you’ll have already practiced it in one form or another. Don’t focus on the marks or the grade at the end, focus on each question and take everything one step at a time.

And if you really haven’t got a clue what to do, take an educated guess! It’s always better to write something than nothing after all. And if this happens during a past paper, you can go back to the mark scheme and then prioritise this type of question so that you feel more prepared for next time.

There’s no maths GCSE problem that can’t be tackled! Just take your time, go over all the topics, and practice the exam before you do the real thing.

Discover how useful maths can be in life and why you should consider studying it.

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Ellen is a writer and translator with a passion for literature, traveling and learning new languages.