As my own students prepare to take their maths exams many of them seem unsure and a little stressed over how to revise Maths. In response to this I have created my 10 Top Tips to Boost Maths Grades. All too many students are frightened of numbers and the best way to overcome that fear is simply to handle numbers more often, you’ll soon gain confidence & might even have fun with them.
1.Work hard to understand the Maths topics
Get help from as many people as possible. These might include your teachers, friends & parents.
2.Don’t just read Maths
People learn by stimulating as many senses as possible. Use a variety of resources; revision guides, text books and websites, to pick out the key points of each topic. Then ‘play with the numbers’. Rewrite examples in a way that helps you to memorise them. Boost your learning with; learning maps, lists, diagrams, cards, and flow charts.
3.Revise Maths little and often
If possible aim to do about 30 mins of number work a day to build up your understanding & confidence.
4.Use as many interactive resources as possible
www.mymaths.co.uk particularly the Booster Packs. A school subscription is required (ask your teacher). www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize is free, available at all levels and for several different subjects.
5.Make use of Maths Videos
Find a teacher that explains topics in the way you understand. The CGP Maths Tutor DVD is effective with hundreds of video tutorials covering key points and example exam questions. Particularly good maths videos on YouTube include; HEGARTYMATHS and Khan Academy both for Higher Level GCSE & A Level.
6.Practice answering exam questions to build up your confidence
Just like footballers & tennis players kicking & hitting balls, the more you practice the better you get. As you get closer to the exam, spend time on past papers. Schools will have uploaded the papers and solutions for you to access; you will also find them available on exam board websites. With practice, errors will reduce & confidence grow.
The Maths Exam
Try each question – don’t expect to get full marks on every question just answer everything you can and don’t run out of time.
8.Read the question carefully before you start
Try to read every question carefully twice. Underline the key points and commands in the question. Think about the maths topics needed in your answer before you have a go. Once you have your answer try to check that it makes sense.
9.Show all of your working out
Even on a calculator paper & remember to show the correct units.
10.Have fun with your MATHS
Just try to solve each question like a puzzle. Focus on the maths you can do & try not to worry about any you couldn’t complete. Examiners want to give you marks, help them by writing down what you know & showing what you can do.
Practice lots, be confident and have fun.
Head of Maths, St Albans RC High School, Ipswich and Founder of The Community Maths School