The New GCSE Maths Syllabus

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Subject: Maths » GCSE Maths
Last updated: 14/12/2017
Tags: a level and gcse maths, new maths exams from 2016, new maths syllabus from 2016

If you have children who did GCSEs last year you will be aware that there is a new exam with a new grading structure (1 – 9) where 9 is the highest grade.

That is not the only difference, however. Obvious changes include the fact that there are three exam papers instead of two. Less obvious changes – and there are many of these – indicate that there has been a complete overhaul of the maths syllabus which will influence the teaching of maths throughout secondary school.

Firstly, there is more rigour. Set notation, which is a non-ambiguous way of expressing yourself mathematically is more in evidence. What is an identity? Students will need to know what that is.

Secondly, there is more content in the syllabus. Topics which were in A level Further Pure Maths are now in A level. Topics which were in A level are now in GCSE Higher and topics like trigonometry are now in GCSE Foundation.

The most significant difference, however, is the style of question in the exams. The old exams subdivided questions into many parts of 1 to 2 marks guiding the students through. Questions in the new exam describe a scenario and the students need more analytical skills to work out the individual stages for themselves. The number of marks for the question can be 4 or more. And yes, there is a greater chance of not knowing where to start to get any marks for the question.

So what do I think about the changes? I think they present challenges to students, teachers and tutors to develop the analytical skills required. Top marks will not be achieved just by learning methods.

Is it harder? Yes, I believe it is. But when students pass this exam they can pat themselves on the back and begin to call themselves mathematicians.

Krysia A-level Maths Tutor (West London)

About The Author

I am an enthusiastic and experienced tutor with an honours degree in maths from St Andrews University. I vary the way I work depending on the student. Knowing how many students worry about not being good enough I aim to make maths more accessible.

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