The Internet is awash with GCSE Maths resources, many of them free. Read on for key information about the course, the exam and how it’s graded, and a selection of GCSE Maths resources that will help you to get a great result.
The 9-1 GCSE in Maths (which has been running since 2015) takes the form of three 2-hour papers, the first of which is non-calculator. Grades 1-3 replace Grades G, F, E and D in the old specification; Grades 4-6 cover the old C/B range, and Grades 7-9 replace the old A and A*, with a Grade 9 representing the very top end of A*. Grades 1-3 are considered a “Level 1” qualification, and anything from Grade 4 upwards is a “Level 2” qualification.
At Foundation Tier you can achieve up to a Grade 5 (equivalent to a high C / low B on the old scale); at Higher Tier the attainable grade range is 4 to 9, so it’s generally advised that only students who can confidently expect to achieve at least a Grade 4 should be doing Higher. The Higher Tier is really for those aiming at Grades 6 and above.
The specification is prescribed by Ofqual and so is, in theory, the same for all exam boards, though there are a few small differences. There is a much greater emphasis on problem solving and proof than in the old GCSE, and very few formulae are provided so you need to memorise most of them.
For students who intend to go on to study Maths at A level, the entry requirement will usually be a Grade 7, though some places may accept a 6 and some will even insist on an 8. The A-level is very algebra-heavy, so if algebra isn’t your thing then I’d strongly suggest that you consider other subject options for A-level!
Books (not free!)
The best-known text books for GCSE are published by Collins and Oxford University Press, with Pearson (who own Edexcel) also publishing their own text books for the Edexcel qualifications. Other text books – just as good but considerably cheaper – are available from Elmwood (not specific to a particular exam board) and CGP.
Revision guides are published by CGP, Letts (now part of Collins) and Pearson (for Edexcel only). There’s also a good set of workbooks published by Alpha Workbooks. It’s a good idea to get these guides through your school if you can, as schools usually get a very substantial discount.
Free GCSE Maths resources online
Your school/college may subscribe to MyMaths, Hegarty Maths or another online provider; do explore what’s there and see if you find it helpful. Although it’s free from your point of view, the school is probably paying for it so you might as well make the most of it!
Games to practise the basics:
For other basic arithmetic skills, there are http://www.mathster.com/games/matchit/ (for number bonds), and https://www.topmarks.co.uk/maths-games/hit-the-button (for number bonds, doubling/halving, times tables, square numbers).
For equivalent fractions, http://www.free-training-tutorial.com/equivalent-fractions-games.html, https://www.topmarks.co.uk/Search.aspx?q=equivalent%20fractions, https://www.abcya.com/games/equivalent-fractions-bingo.
You can find lots of other games at http://www.ictgames.com/resources.html, http://www.maths-resources.com/games.php, https://www.abcya.com/games/category/math and https://www.maths4everyone.com/pages/apps.php (which includes some more advanced topics such as surds and quadratic brackets).
Other useful sites for GCSE Maths resources:
Exam Solutions http://www.examsolutions.net/ – offers lots of helpful Maths tutorials at both GCSE and A-level.
BBC Bitesize http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/z38pycw has lessons and practice questions for every topic area. It covers your other subjects too, not just Maths.
Youtube.com – lots of useful videos. Maths from Scratch is good for the basics; MrBartonMaths, Corbettmaths and HegartyMaths, who also have separate websites, are also excellent.
The student room http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/ – post your questions here, or search to see if someone else has already posted an answer to the same question.
Corbettmaths https://corbettmaths.com/ offers countless excellent resources. The 5-a-day exercises at https://corbettmaths.com/5-a-day/gcse/ are a great way to make sure that you are constantly revising a range of topics at the right sort of level for either where you are now, or your target grade.
Mr Barton Maths http://www.mrbartonmaths.com/students/index.html – hundreds, even thousands, of good resources and links.
S-Cool! https://www.s-cool.co.uk/gcse/maths – covers a range of topics. You need to register for access to some of it but I believe it’s free.
JustMaths https://justmaths.co.uk/blog/ – exam questions for the new specification collated by topic, most of them with solutions.
Mathed Up http://www.mathedup.co.uk/gcse-maths-takeaway/ – a wide range of revision and support material (look at the Key Stage 3/4 section as well).
Maths Genie http://www.mathsgenie.co.uk/gcse.html – revision videos, exam questions and solutions
Seneca Learning https://senecalearning.com/en-GB/ – masses of free resources across multiple subjects, tailored to your particular specification (as well as some premium content). They also have a free phone app that you can download.
If you want a course that will guide you through all the topics you need for a secure Grade 4 at GCSE then take a look at my Grade 4 Essentials series of courses. These aren’t free but they’re inexpensive at just £9.99 for a lifetime subscription for each of the four modules, and there are discount codes available if you subscribe to my mailing list – which also gives you access to some useful free downloads.
If you’re aiming to achieve a top grade at GCSE and then go on to do A-level then my Flying Start to A-level Maths course will help you on both of these counts. Again, it’s not free but if you subscribe to my mailing list then there are discounts available.
For extra challenge, take a look at https://undergroundmathematics.org/ (for A-level really, but some of the problems – for example Pick A Card – only require GCSE knowledge).
Free phone apps
If you can make sure you know your times tables up to 12 then they will be useful to you throughout your life, not just for the GCSE! There are loads of apps for this so download a selection, find one you like, and use it whenever you have an idle moment, for example on the bus.
Desmos is great for drawing graphs – very useful for work on straight lines, quadratics and functions. There’s also a web-based version at www.desmos.com where you can see amazing drawings that people have produced using graphs – and even contribute your own.
Photomath is an amazing app – just use it to scan an equation (even a handwritten one) and it will solve it for you, even giving a step-by-step solution! Of course, you need to be able to solve them on your own, but this is a way of checking whether you’re on the right lines, and getting prompts if you’re stuck.
BBC Bitesize, as well as an excellent website, also offers a downloadable revision app with flashcards.
Gojimo is an app containing thousands of UK exam questions across numerous subjects, mostly free. It should help you to identify which areas you need to work on.
As mentioned earlier, the Seneca Learning app is well worth a look too.
Star Dash Studios is a free game set in a film studios where you have to answer maths questions to progress through the ranks from Runner up to Producer. Its target audience is young adults who don’t see the relevance of maths to real life. In terms of exam preparation it’s probably of limited use, but it will help you to sharpen your mental skills while having fun!
IXL and EdPlus are worth a look, though they’re geared more to the American market (the mention of K12 – Kindergarten to 12th Grade – is always a giveaway).
If you’d like a free PDF of the document on which this post was based – as well as other useful GCSE Maths resources that you can download – then take a look at my Maths Help page. You can subscribe to my mailing list to access these resources, and also see what other, more personalised, services I have to offer.
If you’ve found this post helpful, or think there’s something I’ve missed or got wrong, then please let me know in the comments below. If you know someone else who you think would find it helpful then please share it with them too.
What are YOUR favourite free online GCSE resources?