Ideas for revision and exams for students

This is a distillation of my presentations in November 2016 to the Maths in Action days run by The Training Partnership in London and Warwick and to the Coopers Company and Coborn School in January 2017. A teacher version is here.


Topic guide

Either your school will have prepared one or the exam board have them on their website

Make sure you read it; anything you don’t understand you need to ask about

Weak areas

Find what you’re not good at and do something about it

Get help from your teacher or one of the websites listed below

Strong areas

Don’t ignore what you’re good at, it’s always nice to turn to a familiar topic



Best practice

Work as if it is the real thing, without distractions; you can’t play Spotify in the exam room

Take care with your layout and give full working; method marks add up really quickly even if you don’t quite solve the questions

Quality vs quantity

Use of variety of sources so that you tackle a real range of question styles

Make sure that you are doing questions that are sufficiently challenging

Use of support when stuck

blind copying is not learning; help from friends and family is fine but make them explain why

If you are helping a friend, insist on showing them how to work it out

Highlight where you had help, help your teacher to help you; if they don’t know that you find the topic difficult they won’t do anything about it



If in doubt, do some maths

Find the maths amongst the distractions

Look for cue words

Break the question down into simpler tasks

Don’t worry about tricky bits until you get to them

Look out for separate sub-questions that you can do without tackling an earlier tricky bit

Use your time wisely

Use the marks to tell you how long to take

Have a good go but don’t waste time

Do you understand/need to do the question?

Have you answered the actual question or have you just done some maths and need to do something with that value?

Checking: most pupils are rubbish at this!

Numbers – not just correct digits but correct info

Process – not just ‘add the add question’ but correct interpreting of the cue words

Maths – finally, you can check the actual maths. Look for common mistakes eg signs when multiplying with negatives, missing terms with brackets, plus c when integrating



BBC Bitesize for GCSE – an oldy but goody

The Student Room – Forums and support for GCSE and A level

Khan Academy Math [US focus] – effectively GCSE and A level but with a US focus, lots of really good videos

SingingHedgehog – my website! Helppages and randomised worksheets with answers

Manga High – compete against classmates and the world up to GCSE but good for core skills at A level, best if school registers

nrich – weekly problems plus live puzzles to solve and explain up to A level.

Corbett Maths – GCSE and C1, daily 5 a day tasks plus many other good things

Plus Magazine – Plus magazine aimed at 16+ students with articles and puzzles

Mr Barton Maths – GCSE and A level, questions and videos and many other good things

Mr Carter Maths – GCSE comprehensive collection of differentiated tasks

Physics and Maths Tutor – collection of tiered A level papers

Twitter – questions from @ukmt, @corbettmaths; random stuff from @singinghedgehog

Geeky cartoons to enjoy:

XKCD – a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language

Spiked Math – a math comic dedicated to humor, educate and entertain the geek in you

SMBC – Saturday Morning Breakfast Club, cartoons about maths, science and life

This entry was posted in Interweb et al, Maths and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *