Revision tips

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A-level Maths By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Maths » A-level Maths
Last updated: 11/07/2017
Tags: a level maths, exam techniques, gcse maths revision tips, igcse maths, revision

Days before the exam you feel like:- Let me start revising from the beginning. Let me brush up all the chapters.

But that is not the right way of doing it. You have to start with the most difficult topics first. That way you get the opportunity to dive deep into the subject straight away without wasting too much time.

For eg: Say you are sitting for the C2 Edexcel syllabus.

Go straight to Integration, Binomial distribution. Pick that difficult question and solve it. This will hopefully give you the joy of doing a difficult question and will boost up your confidence immediately. You waste time going around stuff you already know then by the time you approach the real challenging and difficult exam questions you will have run out of time. You will feel exhausted and you will miss out on the most important part of the revision. IE. The difficult exam questions.

 So avoid the easy way of starting revision and go straight into the real meaty questions.

 Hope this helps you grab the BULL by the horns. Good Luck

 Revision tips for GCSE Maths exams!

 So you have your GCSE maths exam in a few weeks time. The prospect has been looming for months, but you have yet to pick up your textbook, or even glance at all those notes you made in class.

Your blood pressure is probably rising at the very thought, but don’t worry, help is at hand.

Practise makes perfect
The important thing to recognise when revising maths is that it’s a discipline that depends on understanding. Unlike most other subjects, memorising and parroting answers isn’t going to do the job (with a few minor exceptions, though we’ll return to those later); instead, the best technique is to practise, practise, practise.

If you’re finding yourself short on time, prioritise the questions that you frequently get wrong. Challenge yourself sooner rather than later, and do a little bit of the harder stuff every day up until your exam; you’ll pick it up a lot quicker than you’d think.

There are only a finite number of possible question types that you can be asked, so the best thing that you can do to prepare before the exam is to rehearse as many as possible.

Past papers are the obvious solution, as they are a good indicator of the standard required and the type of questions the examiners ask. As you work through the questions, mark down the ones you get wrong and make sure you revisit them before the day of the exam, to ensure that you’re not making repeat errors.

Remember, mistakes can often be the best way to learn.

Remember, remember
There are some GCSE topics that buck this trend; namely circle theorems and those involving formulas. These fall under the ‘learn and churn’ category; you really just need to know the answers off by heart. First off, for circle theorems, I would suggest making up revision cards for each individual theorem.

The formulas that you need to know vary by exam board (for example, AQA expect you to know the SOHCAHTOA equations but Edexcel provide them) and also by tier.

Take a look at a past paper or ask your teacher just to make sure. Plugging values into a formula is an easy way to pick up marks, so make sure you don’t lose out due to lack of knowledge. The formulas are very easy to memorise. Either stick them up around your bedroom or write them out repeatedly until they are ingrained.

Familiarise yourself
Try and get accustomed to the format of the papers. If you’re sitting the Foundation Tier, the non-calculator paper will generally progress from shapes and the easier ‘solve’ questions, to perhaps some more complicated probability and graph-based problems.

The calculator paper will be marginally harder throughout, ending in slightly more time-consuming questions, such as trial and improvement and more complex calculations, with multiple parts.

For those sitting the higher tier, graphs will be more prevalent in the non-calculator paper, along with ‘simplify’ and basic ‘solve’ questions (i.e. those that yield an integer value).

The calculator paper will most likely include more complex trigonometry questions and shape/area type problems. Remember to check everything on your calculator once you’ve finished the paper; it’s incredibly frustrating to realise that you’ve lost marks due to minor numerical errors.

Use YouTube (constructively)
If you find yourself really struggling with a topic, there is plenty of help online. YouTube is a particularly useful resource in this respect (examples include the HegartyMaths and jayates channels), as well as the Khan Academy website, which gives step-by-step video tutorials.

Listening to someone else explain how to approach the question and talk through the method can often bring the clarification required for you to pursue similar questions yourself.

Keep calm and carry the one
The most important thing is to have confidence in your own ability. No matter what grade you’re aiming for, enough work will ensure that you are capable of achieving it.

When you’re in the exam, it’s important not to panic. Many an hour of hard work has been undone by too short a glance at an intimidating question.

Do as much of it as you can and remember to show your working. Even if the answer you’ve given is wrong, the bulk of your grade will come from method marks.

If you find yourself getting flustered during the exam, identify the most manageable questions and work through those first. This will relax you, get your brain into gear, and give you the confidence to take on the more challenging questions.

Kamal Patel A-level Maths Tutor (Harrow)

About The Author

An outstanding Grammar High school Maths teacher, teaching A-Levels and beyond for over 12+ years now. Taking bookings for May 2018 exams and teaching the Brand new GCSE (9-1) and the New A Level Curriculum. Call now for a head start.

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