This is the first in a new series of blogs for students revising GCSE Maths, or IGCSE Maths in preparation for the AQA GCSE Mathematics or Edexcel IGCSE Mathematics exams.

The date of your Mathematics exam is fast approaching and you really need to get down to some revision, but what exactly is revision and what is the most effective way of revising?

Good revision isn’t just memorising – it is reinforcing what you have already learned. This is particularly true for Mathematics – to revise Maths you need to do Maths.

Probably the best way is to work through past exam papers. If you are studying GCSE Maths with Oxford Open Learning then completion of some past papers is built in to the end of your course. Like Tutor-Marked Assignments, these are submitted to your tutor for marking and feedback.Use this feedback to identify key areas you need to work on and ask your tutor for advice if necessary.

Other past papers will also be available on the relevant exam board’s website. It is a good idea to attempt at least one of each type of paper (e.g. one calculator paper and one non-calculator paper) under exam conditions and within the relevant time. This will give you a better idea of how much time you can afford to spend on each question. Also make sure that you practise working with the calculator you will have in the exam (not just one you found at the back of the kitchen drawer!)

Exam revision guides also contain questions for you to work through along with worked solutions – choose one with a clear layout that covers your syllabus and level of entry. There are also several websites you can use.

Another way to check you have understood a topic is to try to explain it to someone else. The proof of the alternate segment theorem is a good one to try if you are doing GCSE Maths at Higher level.

Drawing a flow chart to show how to approach a particular type of problem will also help you to think logically about what you have learned.

Having said all that even in Maths there are some facts that you do just have to memorise so it’s worth finding out which formulas are given to you on the formula sheet and which ones you need to know. Writing them on flash cards in coloured pen or making up rhymes can sometimes help.

Above all remember that if you have successfully completed your course and revised thoroughly you will be in the best possible position to tackle your exam – good luck!

If you are interested in studying Maths by distance learning, please contact one of our student advisers who will be pleased to answer any questions you may have about the course.

Debby Gill

OOL Maths tutor