Last Updated on 7 February 2021
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 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 good 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 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, it probably costs the school a packet so you might as well make the most of it!
Games to practise the basics:
For times tables, try http://www.mathster.com/games/flappymaths, http://www.maths-resources.com/invaders/, http://www.maths-resources.com/maths-invaders/, https://www.ictgames.com/tablesTennis/mobile/index.html.
For other basic arithmetic skills, there are http://www.mathster.com/games/matchit/ (for number bonds), https://www.topmarks.co.uk/maths-games/hit-the-button (for number bonds, doubling/halving, times tables, square numbers), http://fourfactorial.herokuapp.com/ (make 24 using BIDMAS skills)
For equivalent fractions, http://www.free-training-tutorial.com/equivalent-fractions-games.html, https://www.topmarks.co.uk/Search.aspx?q=equivalent%20fractions, http://www.abcya.com/equivalent_fractions_bingo.htm
You can find lots of other games at http://www.ictgames.com/resources.html, http://www.maths-resources.com/games.php and https://www.maths4everyone.com/apps/index.html (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 your target grade.
Mr Barton Maths http://www.mrbartonmaths.com/pupils.htm – 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.
Mathsnet GCSE https://www.mathsnetgcse.com/ – interactive resources; subscription required for most of this site (relatively inexpensive at £20 + VAT for a year), but there are a few free sample materials that you might find helpful – look in the bottom left-hand corner.
JustMaths https://justmaths.co.uk/blog/ – exam questions for the new specification collated by topic, most of them with solutions. (You may find the occasional error in the 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
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 £9.99 for each of the four modules, and there are discount codes available to members of this site (membership is free and also gives you access to some useful downloads).
If you’re aiming to achieve a top grade at GCSE and then go on to do A-level then my Preparing for A-level Maths course will help you on both of these counts. Again, it’s not free but free membership of this site will qualify you for a discount.
For extra challenge, take a look at https://undergroundmathematics.org/ (for A-level really, but some of the problems only require GCSE knowledge).
Free phone apps
Make sure you know your times tables up to 12 – 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.
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 sign up there for free membership of the B28 Maths Tutor site 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?