Exam RevisionHow to Revise for GCSEsHow to Revise for GCSE Maths

How to Revise for GCSE Maths: 11 Powerful Learning Tips

Learning how to revise for GCSE maths so that you get the grade you want requires a firm understanding of the key terms, formulas, and processes for each theory. After all, there’s a lot to learn ahead of your exams, from fractions and decimals to ratio, geometry and probability.

If it all sounds a bit daunting, you’re not alone (not by a long shot). But, if you structure your maths revisions sessions well and plan ahead, you’ll give yourself the best chance at getting those all-important grades. 

What Do I Need to Revise for GCSE Maths?

Start by getting a list of topics that your school’s exam board covers. 

You can use the specification to see what topics you need to revise and to create a revision schedule that encompasses everything you need to learn. Download a copy of the exam board’s specification and use it as a checklist that you can mark off as you go. 

Find your school’s exam board specification here:

Next, find out which maths exams you’ll be sitting. There are lots of different modules and, depending on what tier you’re in, you must meet certain criteria. Ask your teacher if you’re unsure about your tier or the criteria for your specific exam. 

Familiarise yourself with the syllabus. 

Core maths topics that are included in GCSEs are: 

  • Structure and calculation
  • Fractions, decimals and percentages
  • Measures and accuracy
  • Algebra
  • Ratio, proportion and rates of changes
  • Geometry and measures
  • Probability
  • Statistics

Establish where your strengths are and identify the topics that need your attention. You’ll need to spend more time on these, so make sure you add in some extra revision sessions to get on top of them. 

Finally, find out what you need to take into the exam with you. Do you need a calculator, protractor and colouring pencils? Turning up with the right equipment is the first step in acing your maths GCSE, so don’t overlook this part. 

Top Tips For Getting the Most Out of Your Revision Sessions

1. Revise little and often 

With so much to revise for and remember, it’s important not to overwhelm yourself. Instead of trying to cram everything into your head at once, spend small chunks of time working on formulas and come back to them often. 

Revising little and often is the best approach when it comes to revising for maths. Not only does it allow time for each new thing you learn to sink in, but it means you won’t get bored of learning (when we spend too long on something it can get draining and dull pretty quick). 

Set aside chunks of time each week to revise for maths, even if it’s just 20 minutes three days a week.

The revision cycle is a technique where you test yourself on a topic again and again but with increasing gaps in between tests. For example, you might test yourself on a formula 10 minutes after learning it, then again one day later, three days later and one week later. 

2. Practice Past Papers

Practice papers are an essential part of maths GCSE revision. 

If you do enough practice papers from past exams, you’ll start to get an understanding of the questions that might be included and you’ll be prepared for the majority of questions that crop up in your actual exam.

Ask your teacher to share some past papers with you, or find some past papers from your school’s exam board online to get a backlog of papers to test yourself with:

When going through practice papers, try and create an exam-like environment if you can. That means turning off your phone, timing yourself, getting rid of distractions, and using your notes as little as possible.  

3. Attend Revision Sessions 

There’s a high chance your school hosts maths revision sessions for GCSE students. It’s a good idea to attend as many of these as you can because they provide context for the formulas you need to know and encourage you to go over key material.

It also provides you with the opportunity to ask your teacher questions and get them answered in real-time. These sessions will give you a focused space to learn alongside other students who are ready to get stuck into revising the maths syllabus. 

4. Join Study Groups

Study groups are a secret weapon in maths revision. Buddy up with two or three fellow maths students and meet regularly to practice with each other. You can try out practice questions together, run through pop quizzes, test each other on formulas and phrases, and simply study alongside each other for team motivation. 

Try and meet up at least once a week with your study group. We’ve got some tips further down for study group sessions if you’re unable to meet up in-person with your fellow students. 

5. Take Effective Notes

Note taking during class is vital for getting the basics of each maths topic, but it also helps you to cement information in your brain. 

However, simply copying down what your teacher has written on the board isn’t enough. Instead, effective note taking requires you to summarise key points, use bullet points to highlight certain elements, and make your notes a useful part of the revision process.

How to Revise for GCSE Maths: Creative Study Tips 

Maths can be a complicated subject with plenty to learn and get your head around. It can sometimes be dull too. And, if you’re not enjoying your revision, it can be really hard to retain information.

To avoid this, get creative with your revision. Try out different techniques to see what works best for you - because, let’s face it, what works for one student doesn’t work for another, and effective revision is all about finding your own personal strengths.  

Here are some ways you can inject some fun into your study sessions while still making sure you absorb everything you need to know. 

6. Create and Use Flashcards

Learning the formulas behind certain equations is a key part of maths revision. This is why flashcards can be really useful for memorisation. Create your own flashcards by writing down a term on the front of the card and its definition on the back, like this Quizlet set that covers place values:

If you don’t want to make your own or want to save time, Quizlet has a variety of different flashcard sets (and practice question sets!) that cover each maths GCSE topic.

You can find more GCSE maths resources in our GCSE Resource Centre.

Flashcards are handy for quick revision sessions. You can test yourself on various formulas throughout the day, like when you’re on the bus or waiting for the kettle to boil, and you can even bring a friend on board and FaceTime each other for 10 minutes each day to run through your flashcards. 

7. Create Posters and Cheat Sheets

Maths is very formula heavy. 

The hardest part about revising for your maths exams is remembering the different calculations and formulas. This is why it’s a good idea to create cheat sheets or posters that incorporate the key formulas for each topic, like cube numbers and pythagoras, for example.

Once you’ve created your cheat sheets (and you can make them as pretty and as visual as you like - whatever helps you remember best), you can stick them around your room and your house to give you an instant refresh whenever you need it. You can even stick them to your ceiling to read while you’re lying in bed. 

8. Create a Visual Revision Guide or Read Your Notes Aloud

Every student learns in a different way

Some are visual learners, some are auditory learners, and others are kinesthetic learners. Find out what type of learner you are here and then adapt your revision sessions to suit your needs.

If you’re a visual learner, create a revision guide full of visual elements, like graphs, diagrams, mindmaps, and use lots of colour. Auditory learners can read their notes aloud and even record them to listen to while on-the-go. 

There are also lots of maths GCSE revision podcasts that are helpful for auditory learners too. Search “maths GCSE” on your favourite podcast platform to get started. 

9. Get Your Head Around Tricky Concepts With YouTube 

YouTube is an incredibly valuable revision tool. 

The platform is full of great channels dedicated to helping you learn important material for your maths GCSEs. Videos can be a great addition to your written notes and help you parse through difficult formulas that you need an extra helping hand with.

Some helpful maths GCSE YouTube channels are:

10. Download a Few Relevant Apps

Your phone goes everywhere with you, so why not download a couple of apps to encourage you to revise while you’re out and about? 

There are a range of dedicated GCSE maths apps that provide descriptions, insights into difficult formulas, and pop quizzes to help you retain information and make it enjoyable at the same time.

Start with the GCSE Maths app and iMathematics to get started and then search the App Store for “GCSE maths” if you want more. 

11. Participate in Virtual Study Groups and Forums

Connecting with other students while you revise for maths can make it far less lonely. If you’re unable to meet up with your study group in person, why not create a virtual study group?

This can include virtual calls on Microsoft Teams or Skype and a dedicated Facebook Group or Slack channel where you can pop quiz each other, ask maths questions, and discuss any sticking points you might have. 

Having a support group like this that you can tap into at any moment can give you the confidence you need to ace your maths GCSE. 

As well as creating your own virtual study group, you can also participate in pre-made ones. Sites like The Student Room have forums dedicated to GCSE maths where you can ask questions, find revision tips, and gather support. 

Set Yourself Up For GCSE Maths Success

There’s a lot to digest and remember from the maths syllabus, so learning how to revise for GCSE maths in an effective and time-efficient way can help you retain information quickly and memorise it in time for your exams. 

Use the techniques we’ve laid out here to find revision activities that work best for you and your learning style - try out flashcards, join study groups, and download apps. Every student is different, and it’s important to find a way to revise that works for you. If you can do this, you’ll set yourself up to learn faster and do well in your GCSE exams. 

With a strong plan set in place, along with plenty of practice, your revision should be meaningful and successful. The hard work now will help you secure the best grade you can reach.