GCSE Maths (Key Stage 4)

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GCSE maths is a core subject that every student has to take. GCSE mathematics builds on the knowledge and skills gained during key stage 3. The qualification is split into two tiers; higher and foundation. Each tier is split into three equally weighted examination papers, with one paper being a non-calculator based paper.

There is now a greater emphasis on problem-solving within both tiers, and the examinations have become more challenging.

The new qualifications are different from the old ones in several ways:

• there is some new, more demanding content

• a greater focus on problem-solving

• the tiering arrangements have changed

Source: Ofqual

Students with a strong aptitude for mathematics are entered for the higher tier examination papers, but the final certificate will not say whether the mark was gained from a higher paper or a foundation paper. So if a student attains a grade 5 (the highest mark for a foundation paper), then that will have the same value as a grade 5 from a higher paper.

Around 20% of the questions will be common to both papers. This is to ensure that the level of difficulty is consistent across both papers. Within the individual papers, 50% will be targeted to the lower grades and 50% to the higher grades.

So for foundation maths, 505 is targeted to grades 1, 2 and 3 and 50% to grades 3,4 and 5. The same rule applies to the higher paper (50% to grades 4,5 and 6 and 50% to grades 7, 8, and 9).

GCSE Exam Specifications by Exam Board:

Edexcel

Assessment Objectives Weighting (%)
Foundation Higher
Use and apply standard techniques (AO1) 50 40
Reason, interpret and communicate mathematically (AO2) 25 30
Solve problems with non-routine problems (AO3) 25 30
Topic area Weighting (%)
Foundation Higher
Number 22 – 28 12 – 18
Algebra 17 – 23 27 – 33
Ratio, proportion and rates of change 22 – 28 17 – 23
Geometry and Measures 12 – 18 17 – 23
Statistics and probability 12 – 18 12 – 18

AQA

Assessment Objectives Weighting (%)
Foundation Higher
Use and apply standard techniques (AO1) 50 40
Reason, interpret and communicate mathematically (AO2) 25 30
Solve problems within mathematics and other contexts (AO3) 25 30
Topic area Weighting (%)
Foundation Higher
Number 25 15
Algebra 20 30
Ratio, proportion and rates of change 25 20
Geometry and Measures 25 20
Statistics and probability 15 15

OCR

Assessment Objectives Weighting (%)
Foundation Higher
Use and apply standard techniques (AO1) 50 40
Reason, interpret and communicate mathematically (AO2) 25 30
Solve problems within mathematics and other contexts (AO3) 25 30
Topic area Weighting (%)
Foundation Higher
Number 25 15
Algebra 20 30
Ratio, proportion and rates of change 25 20
Geometry and Measures 15 20
Statistics and probability 15 15
How Redbridge Tuition can help:

At Redbridge tuition, we offer a free 15-minute consultation for you to discuss your child’s GCSE maths needs.

We believe that Mathematics is a language for everyone (yes, you read that correctly- it is a language). It should be fun, intriguing, accessible and applicable. Our lessons are therefore planned out, with these qualities in mind. Lessons are topic-based; each topic is explained in detail, and we explain the purpose of studying certain topics and concepts in maths, along with their real-world applications.

During each lesson, we look at how concepts learned can be applied to examination questions. We always encourage students to ask questions, there is no such thing as a “silly question”.

Our emphasis is always on excellence first, we believe a sound understanding of a subject/topic will ultimately lead to examination success.

At Redbridge Tuition, we set an assessment/baseline test for each new student starting GCSE Mathematics classes with us. This helps us to decide the grade that they are currently working at and the tier of entry that would be most suitable.

Students then commence a scheme of work that is designed to give them the skills and knowledge required for their tier.