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Your Guide to GCSE Maths Syllabus and Maths GCSE Revision

From Wajeeha, published on 20/09/2017 Blog > Academia > Maths > GCSE Maths Syllabus: What to Expect

The course for GCSE Maths is specifically designed for students who want to pass the GCSE Exams based upon the latest syllabus. The initial part of the course focuses on covering the basics of mathematics and core math skills of multiplication and division, addition and subtraction, counting, fractions and basic algebra. After developing a strong base in these topics, the GCSE Maths course then starts progressing slowly towards more advanced concepts and topics.

Most of the jobs out there require the applicants to have passed this test with good and an acceptable grades. A qualification in GCSE Maths of any person shows their understanding of mathematics and skills in dealing with numbers and analysing / manipulating them.

If you pass GCSE Maths, you are considered proficient in numerous mathematical skills such as arithmetical skills, problem solving skills and adept in common core standards of maths.

The GCSE Maths exam focuses on the practical side of mathematics. It tests the ability of students to apply core mathematical concepts to solve mathematical problems derived from everyday lives. Use of formulae, theorems and techniques is also required to be able to come up with a cost-effective, optimum and feasible solution to the problems. As a mathematician, you will sure to have strengths and weaknesses but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to excel; a maths tutor can be the answer to reaching your GCSE potential.

Subject content of GCSE Maths

Most of the course content of GCSE Maths is structured in such a way to enable students to develop a thorough understanding of core mathematical concepts and methods which usually include the following core topics:

  • Statistics
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Measures
  • Probability
  • Number

GCSE Maths requires focus and practise . ( Image Source: Unsplash)

Keep in mind that the syllabus content discussed here is according to the GCSE in Mathematics A, Pearson but the course content is usually the same for all the boards with the difference only in the way they hold their tests.

Skills developed at GCSE Maths

By following the syllabus of GCSE Maths, students learn and polish their skills in:

  • The ability to solve math problems using various mathematical strategies
  • Acquiring the right Mathematical concepts, methods and strategies
  • Choosing the right math concepts and techniques to deal with real-world problems
  • Applying the common core mathematical concepts and theorems to solve the everyday problems
  • Mathematical reasoning, mathematical deductions, inferences and drawing conclusions
  • Communicate mathematical facts, data and information after interpreting it correctly

Choosing the Right Tier

There are basically two tiers in GCSE Maths i.e :

  • Foundation
  • Higher

The numerical grade has been assigned to each tier in a particular range. The Higher tiers are assigned the numerical grade of 9 to 4 with the grade 3 as the minimum safe zone. The foundation tier has the numerical grade range of 5 to 1.

Both these tiers include such questions which are the same in both. Students can expect to achieve a grade in the range of 5 to 3 in both the tiers.

A reform was introduced in GCSE Maths syllabus and the new GCSE Maths course includes content which is not only more challenging but also more demanding, with a considerable focus on the questions related to problem solving.

This introduction of new content material has made achieving of the bottom grade in higher tier more demanding as well as the top grade on the foundation tier.

GCSE Maths Course Content in Both Tiers

The topics included in the foundation tier of the GCSE Maths are same as mentioned above, the only difference being the level of difficulty.

Here is the subject content in both tiers:

  • Statistics
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Measures
  • Probability
  • Number

GCSE Maths Course Content of Foundation Tier and Higher tier


The main topics included in the topics related to number manipulation are addition, subtraction, multiplication, dividing, ordering of rational numbers, using of the concepts and vocabulary of multiple, highest, least common factor, divisor, prime numbers and prime factor decomposition.


The content of algebra includes differentiating between the different symbols and notations used in algebra and interpreting their correct meaning. Identifying correctly an equation, a formula, an identity and an expression.

Manipulating algebraic expressions using the basic and most common laws such as collection the like terms, multiplying of the term outside the bracket with the term inside the bracket and taking out common factors.

It also focuses on the multiplication of two linear expression, factorization of quadratic expressions and simplification of rational expressions. Apart from that, setting up and solving simple equations such as two simultaneous equations to find any unknown variable is also extremely crucial skills to learn.

The preparation of algebra is incomplete without becoming adept in understanding the gradient of parallel lines and the equations of the form y=mx+c which is the equation of straight line. Solving these equations in one variable x to obtain another variable y allows us to plot a graph corresponding the straight-line equations.

Other key topics in algebra include:

  • Transformation of functions using the transformations of reflection, enlargement, rotation etc.
  • Indirect and direct proportions
  • Graphs of simple loci
  • Graphs of simple cubic functions


Geometry of GCSE maths consists of topics of angles at a point and on a straight line, right angles and other types of angles. Perpendicular lines, properties of angles of parallel lines, quadrilaterals, triangles. Calculating and using the sums of exterior and interior angles of polygons along with the properties of special quadrilaterals such as squares, rectangles, parallelogram, trapezium, rhombus and kite.

2-D shapes and their reflection and rotation properties along with understanding the concepts of congruence and similarly is also core geometry topics in GCSE Maths.

The famous Pythagoras theorem both in 2-D and 3-D is included too. Planes, diagonals of a cuboid, trigonometric ratios of sine, cosine, theta, to find the angles between lines and a plane, angles of elevations, angle of depression and to solve 2D and 3D problems are all very important part of geometry.


Learn to use geometry tools. ( Image Source: Unsplash)

Vectors are the basic topics in geometry and the geometry portion teaches students to understand and also use vectors to solve various problems and to calculate various operation on vectors such as sum of vectors, difference of vectors, scalar multiplication of vectors. Learning how to apply vector methods can also help in solving simple yet tricky geometrical proofs.


This part of the course develops the skills of the students to interpret scale drawing and maps and it helps them understand the effect of enlargement of area, volume and perimeter of solids and other shapes.

Under this subject content, students master the skills of interpreting scales and finding the inaccuracy in certain measurements. Conversion of measurements from one unit to another unit also falls under this category.


Statistics is used to solve statistical problems with the help of statistical analysis and collection of data from several sources. Students need to learn the following in order to master the statistics portion of GCSE Maths:

  • Identifying the sources of bias and understanding how data relates to a certain problem and how size of samples effect the conclusions
  • They should be able to design a survey or an experiment and they should also be able to identify the type of data that is needed to be collected and the format of the data. Their concepts of population and sample should be crystal clear and they should also consider fairness and be able to either design or criticize a questionnaire
  • Their understanding should include the know-how of designing data-collection sheets which enable them to distinguish between different kinds of data
  • Extracting data from lists and tables, using and designing two way tables for both grouped data and discrete data, producing charts, diagrams, histograms, graphs etc for all kinds of data types and learning to find mean, median, mode, range, modal class is all part of very crucial topics in statistics.


Learning the use and meaning of vocabulary of probability sets the basis of other key concepts in the subject. Students should learn to distinguish between unlikely, equally likely, even chance and impossible events and should be able to mark probabilities as well as events on a probability scale of either 0 or 1.

They key skills to learn probability are :

  • Using estimates, measure of probability, relative frequency, theoretical models
  • Finding the probability of successive events for examples toss of a coin or several throws of a dice.

The GCSE Maths course mentioned above is for both foundation and higher tier but the higher tier includes slightly advance topics in addition to the ones mentioned above.

Secrets of getting an A at GSCE Maths

In order to maximize your chances of getting a good grade, always display every step of your working out and the solution to a question. Even if you get the answer wrong, you might get some marks for providing the solution. Make sure to revise your maths GCSE syllabus.

If you feel like you are weak in some topics, turn that weakness into your strength. Do not let those topics intimidate you and practice until they become a piece of cake for you. Following the right learning style along with planned preparation will surely ensure you a good grade if not an A!

Don’t wait any longer, get stuck into maths right now! Find a maths tutor for A level maths revision &  GCSE maths revision.


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