The flexible way to study Maths GCSE
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The Mathematics GCSE course – a brief introduction

The Maths GCSE course gently guides the student through basic mathematical skills, progressing onto more advanced material as the student’s skills and abilities develop. The Maths GCSE course is divided into two parts: the first is for all students; the second is for those who will be taking the Higher tier of the examination.

Each lesson begins with a set of clearly stated objectives and an explanation of its place in the overall programme of study.

Effective learning is encouraged through frequent activities and self-assessment questions.

There are thirteen tutor-marked assignments and  practice exam papers.

The course covers the entire syllabus in 12 modules, with a 13th on the examination.

This brand new specification has an emphasis on problem solving and maths in a real world context.  This should make it easier to grasp and visualise ideas while the underlying mathematical skills remain the same.  As a result, you will find plenty of problem solving practice within the course.

Content of the Maths GCSE course

The Maths GCSE course comprises 13 modules.  An expanded list can be found in the course introduction below.

The following modules need to be studied by all students.

Foundation Modules

  • Module 1 – Numbers
  • Module 2 – Money
  • Module 3 – Measurement
  • Module 4 – Basic Algebra
  • Module 5 – Basic Trigonometry and Vectors
  • Module 6 – Basic Geometry
  • Module 7 – Further Geometry
  • Module 8 – Probability and Statistics

The following modules only need to be studied by students aiming for the higher tier.

  • Module 9 – Further Numbers and Equations
  • Module 10 – Higher Algebra Topics
  • Module 11 – Further Geometry and Trigonometry
  • Module 12 – Further Probability and Statistics
  • Module 13 – The examination

The Maths GCSE Specification

Our Maths GCSE course prepares students for AQA GCSE Mathematics syllabus AQA 8300 for examination in June 2017 onwards.

We have chosen this syllabus as the most suited to the needs of distance learning students.


Assessment of the Maths GCSE Course

The Maths GCSE syllabus has two tiers, Foundation and Higher.  The Foundation level allows students to achieve grades between 1 and 5 and the Higher tier allows students to achieve grades 4 and 9.

Unlike many, Oxford Open Learning’s Maths GCSE Course is split into these two tiers.  Once you have completed the work required to enter for the Foundation tier, you can choose whether to go on and study for the Higher tier and achieve a higher grade, all for the same fee!

Examination Structure

Irrespective of which tier you enter for, you will sit three exams of 1 hour and 30 minutes. Paper 1 is a non-calculator paper.  Papers 2 and 3 allow the use if a calculator


Whether you enter for the foundation or the higher tier is largely a matter of personal choice and depends on your own aspirations. Many Oxford Open Learning students only need to obtain a Grade 4 or 5, for example to get onto a further education course.  In which case you are probably best of sitting the foundation papers.

However, If you wish to go on and study a course which requires the use of maths, you will probably wish to study the higher tier.

It is worth noting that the Oxford Open Learning Trust, like most educational institutions, only accept students onto a Maths A level course if the student has completed the GCSE at higher tier.

Ultimately the choice is yours, but it is not a choice you need to make at the point of enrolment.  Once you have started the course you can discuss this with your Tutor and make up your mind.  You will need to have made this decision by the time you make your exam entry, normally about 4 months before your exam.

This is mostly a matter of personal choice.  Both offer two tiers and both will prepare you for further education.

If you are living abroad, then unless you want to return to the UK to sit your exams, you are probably better off sitting the IGCSE.

Please discuss this with your Student Adviser when you enrol, or by phoning us on 01865 798022

Supporting Resources

What our students think…

I had to have a Maths GCSE to be accepted on the Teacher Training programme. Oxford Open learning enabled me to study at my own pace with access to a high quality tutor who offered me advice and encouragement along the way. The course was very easy to follow and it made the subjects easy to understand, with opportunities for self assessment as I progressed. I gained a lot of confidence through this and proudly gained a grade B. At 52 it is never too late to learn, thank you Oxford Open learning!

Gill Matthews, Maths GCSE Grade B

Gill Matthews, Oxford Open Learning Maths GCSE Student

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