# More Tips For GCSE Maths Prep

If you check online, you will find over hundreds of articles telling about what you need to do to crack the GCSEs. The advice provided mostly boils down to listening carefully in class, having a rigorous revision schedule and practicing how to use the calculator. While all of these things are definitely required for prep, I often notice that one very critical question never gets asked. That is, “What does the examiner expect from your paper?” After all, everything hinges on this. As an examinee, you would want to know what pitfalls to avoid while answering the GCSE Maths paper. Examiners do have certain expectations from the papers that they mark. It is good to know what those expectations are.

While surfing online, I came across a very interesting talking about prepping for the GCSEs. It is a video by James Davey where he talks about his experience transitioning from a distracted, and underperforming student to one who figured out how to prepare for and perform well in exams. You can check out this video here:

Here are few insights that I have gleaned from various examiners who share their experiences of correcting hundreds of GCSE papers every year. They all have what I call their “pet peeves.” I have shared some these ‘peeves’ and how to deal with them.

### Handwriting is key

An examiner gets paid a king’s ransom of Σ4 per paper! And he hundreds of papers to mark. It is really only the genuine love for the subject that motivates an examiner to take on a pile load of marking Therefore, it follows if an examiner comes across a really untidy paper where the handwriting is scruffy and scribbled and the working is all over the place , then you can imagine the level of frustration that an examiner feels . Most likely the examiner’s markings would not be anywhere near your expected level. If you put yourself in the examiners shoes, you would most likely just glaze over the untidy parts and move on quickly after marking cursorily.

The above scenarios are all too common, since time is of the essence for examiners. They will just scuttle through such untidy your answers, assuming that you don’t have the understanding of the question.

**Quick tip 1:** Do ensure that your work is neat and tidy. Check to make sure that your workings are where they should be. Make sure that your work on a page flows correctly in terms of steps required as well as the structure on a page as well.

**Quick tip 2:** If you need to cross out your writing , just use a single line. Do resist the urge to scribble out your workings. Remember , you could still get marks for crossed out workings, even of the end answer is wrong or the new workings are wrong. But if scribble over it , then even if it is correct, the examiners will ignore it. It pays to be neat!!

Handwriting should be clear and organised!

### 2. Use the answer line carefully

You will often yourself solving a question that can be solved using different methods. This means , you may not be sure which method to use. In such a scenario, avoid writing on the answer line. If you don’t use the answer line, the examiner, most likely, will look into and mark both methods and award the lower one.

Then there is another thing that you MUST absolutely avoid which is putting down workings that go against your final answer. You will literally be digging a grave for your GCSE Maths marks if your answer is correct but comes from working which is obviously incorrect. Correct answers with wrong workings will probably be awarded zero marks.

**Quick tip 1:** Write your answer in the answer line only if you are absolutely sure that you are correct.

**Quick tip 2:** Do not show workings that you know to be completely incorrect.

### 3. Wrong Final marks can get you marks too!

Let us assume that you are attempting a multi -part question of 5 marks. If you somehow messed up and made a mistake on line 1, that doesn’t mean you won’t get any marks. If, you showed all your working and had used your mistake all the way through, you would only lose a mark for the mistake and a mark for the answer itself. But you could still gain all the other marks.

Another thing to mention is that probability answers must always be in numbers. The answer to a probability question will only ever be in words if the questions specifically asks for words to be used to describe the probability.

**Quick Tip 1:** Always show working for the follow through marks.

**Quick Tip 2:** All probability answers must be given as either a fraction, a decimal or a percentage.

Maths workings should be written out clearly for the examiner

### 4. Some Answer Etiquette

The GCSE Maths paper has linear equations running through it and they are an easy way to get easy marks. Experts do advise that the answer to linear equations but be clearly stated and not embedded. I. found the following example online that demonstrates what I have trying to put across:

**Quick Tip: 1**

**Correct**

2x + 1 = 5 x = 2

**Incorrect**

2x + 1 = 5 2(2) + 1 = 5

**Quick Tip 2:** Play it safe and avoid rounding off your answers.

Remember, range of questions are allowed in graphs and multi-part questions. In the latter, the examiner will probably have taken rounding off into account in the middle of the answers and will accept a range of answers.

### GCSE Maths Prep Support

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