"Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers." -Shakuntala Devi

Mathematics is beautiful, and there is no denying that fact. Everything around us, the engineering marvels, the breathtaking nature, and modern technology result from brilliant minds who have used maths to create wondrous things.

The unfortunate fact is that secondary school students fail to appreciate the brilliance of maths and its relevance in their daily lives. It's slightly understandable since most teens at a high school level forget to enjoy many things, let alone view any academic discipline as beautiful!

However, in Scotland, to be eligible for additional education classes at reputable universities, secondary school students need to take necessary subjects at higher-levels such as maths. So, dear student, whether you like it or not, part of your future depends on passing mathematics.

So let's talk a little bit more about "highers" and how Scottish students can find past papers to revise for higher-level maths.

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What are Highers?

Since Scotland's education system is quite different from nearby territories such as England, Northern Ireland and Wales, there are different names for qualifications at a primary and secondary school level that may be unfamiliar for students and parents living in other UK cities.

coursework
The Scottish Highers are for senior-level secondary school students who want to study topics at a university level. (Source: Unsplash)

For instance, accreditations such as the GCSEs or the A-Levels are commonplace and widely recognised by the general public in areas outside of Scotland. However, the Scottish population is familiar with terms like Nationals and Highers that mean the same thing as GCSEs and A-Levels. They are all taken, no matter the territory, to prepare students aged 16-18 for university or vocational courses.

The Highers are conducted at schools throughout Scotland and are coordinated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). When the Highers are completed, the SQA awards students with a Scottish Qualifications Certificate (SQC); the most glorious piece of paper a student will see up to that point!

Highers replaced the Higher Grade on the Scottish Certificate of Education (SCE) and successfully guided pupils toward higher education courses. The Highers are Level Six on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework, the second-highest level that can be reached during high school.

Since their implementation, the Highers have been revised a few times to adjust quality and relevance, and to address criticisms that students or education experts brought up.

The current structure of every Higher course in Scotland consists of the following:

  • A compulsory core subject which all candidates must complete,
  • Optional topics of study that which a candidate chooses upon the availability at the school,
  • Three Unit Assessments that the SQA oversees to ensure quality and respect for the structure of things,
  • At the end of the Highers, a final exam and some course material to complete, if applicable, determine the final grade achieved by a student.

Letter grades are given to students who complete important assignments and assessments in the various higher-level subjects they have chosen. For example, an A grade means that the student scored a result of 70% or more. A B grade signifies that the material was classified from 60-69%, and so and so forth. For more information about grading, students and interested ones can click this link.

Now, what are the available subjects studied during the Highers? The following list highlights some of the most popular ones:

  • Art & Design, 
  • Biology, 
  • Chemistry, 
  • English, 
  • French, 
  • Gaelic,
  • Health and Food Technology, 
  • Mathematics, 
  • Modern Studies, 
  • Physics, 
  • Religious, Moral, and Philosophical Studies.

Of those options, some are mandatory and optional. For instance, mathematics is a necessary topic that must be completed to get the leaving certificate at a senior level in Scotland.

A lot of preparation and studying is required to get good marks in maths; therefore, we highly recommend studying past papers in maths. Keep on reading to learn more!

What's the Point of Studying Past Papers in Maths?

maths problems
Maths equations at a senior-level of study are not always easy and require students to work extra hard to pass their exams. (Source: Unsplash)

Revising for Higher Maths is no walk in the park. Constant effort and persistence are needed to push through the complex subjects and get stellar results on final examinations. A lot of review methods come highly recommended from education experts. Nonetheless, for students preparing for Scottish Highers, one of the best techniques is reviewing past maths papers.

Past papers are actual examinations and coursework from previous years, released by the Department for Education in a specific state to aid future students in effectively preparing. 

What are the benefits of studying past papers in maths? The following are a few of the most remarkable advantages to review past papers before examinations commence:

  • Helps Students Identify the Style of the Examination, 
  • A Fantastic Aid for Practising Exam Questions, 
  • A Pupil Learns Which Maths Questions May Be Featured on Their Test,
  • Pinpoints Key Topics for Potential Revision Sessions, 
  • By Doing a Few Practise Questions, Students Can Effectively Prepare Themselves Timewise. 

We could go on and on about the benefits of using past papers when studying Scottish Highers; however, we think that the previously mentioned advantages speak for themselves.

Don't hesitate to use all the resources at your disposal when studying mathematics at an advanced level. It's best not to let your pride get involved and remain humble since you'll need all the help you can get as a student.

But where does one find reputable higher maths past papers? Keep on reading to find out more!

Locating the Best Higher Maths Past Papers for Scottish Pupils

revision resources
Past papers are the perfect revision exercises for students who are struggling to succeed at Higher Maths. (Source: Unsplash)

When it comes to finding helpful resources for anything, the internet is a goldmine. The internet has made us more intelligent by providing us advice from experts on all topics imaginable, and even some unimaginable ones!

Nonetheless, the massive wealth of information has confused many and overwhelmed them from deciding on their unique educational needs.

So, to assist Scottish students who are navigating the Higher for maths, we have found two reputable and trustworthy websites that feature fantastic past papers:

Higher Mathematics

This website recognises that passing senior-level maths classes such as the Highers is necessary for career opportunities through further education courses, vocational programmes, internships, and later on, a job. Therefore, the Higher Mathematics site features countless past papers from previous years created by the SQA, and Scottish students completed that at a senior-level.

There are ten categories of study that include specific topics such as Higher Maths SQA Past & Practice Papers, Higher Maths Practice Papers A to H & Prelim Special, and Higher Maths Further Practice Papers A to S.

You may also look into their Higher Maths 40 Non-Calculator Questions, Higher Maths 200 Questions, Higher Maths Essential Skills, Higher Maths Exam Worksheets by Topic, Higher Maths Theory Guides, Higher Maths Mind Maps, and Higher Maths Exam Check Lists.

All of the previously mentioned categories have plenty of past assignments, course material, and assessments that may be analysed by students going through the Scottish Highers in mathematics. All of the documents are free of charge and can be downloaded and printed off your computer to complete practise questions during review periods.

Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)

Not that we're saying that the previously mentioned options for Higher Mathematics aren't legitimate or worth your time, but the past papers included on the Scottish Qualifications Authority website merit immediate consideration. After all, the SQA created and published those papers.

On the SQA website, there are past papers and marking instructions from the past four years, 2016 to 2019. Students can select either Higher Mathematics All or Higher Mathematics All. By downloading the PDFs and analysing the past papers, pupils can equip themselves for the types of questions featured on the exam and see the total marks awarded for each aspect of the problem or equation.

We are confident that Scottish students will be in good hands when it comes to past papers in maths by reviewing both of the previously mentioned options.

Students may also ask their teacher or private tutor if they have any insight into where they may find some other review resources such as past papers. You might be surprised to discover that they might have kept some previous maths coursework to assessments to aid their students in the future.

In conclusion, we highly recommend dedicating time to specific study sessions reviewing past papers as the primary objective. It's a commonly known fact that by reviewing things from the past, we avoid making the same mistakes in the future; the same can be said about Higher maths.

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Brentyn

Avid movie-goer, reader, skier and language learner. Passionate about life, food and travelling.