How to get a C in GCSE Maths without becoming a nervous wreck

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Adrian from Adrian Beckett Maths Tutors has kindly contributed a guest post. We LOOOOOVES guest posts at Flying Colours - if you have something about Maths you want to get off your chest, do drop me an email.

For a lot of people, getting a C in GCSE Maths can make a massive difference to their future.   I'll be talking about how you can ensure you get that C in Part 1 of the series 'How to get a C in GCSE Maths without becoming a nervous wreck'.

1. DON'T PANIC!

Whatever you do, stay calm. Glad we got that point out the way!

2. Learn your times tables

If you can't multiply confidently, it’s like sailing up stream without a paddle (or however the saying goes). In fact, it’s worse - it’s like you're floating on a piece of wood down a river with a great big waterfall heading your way. You’re not going to get a C without knowing your times tables.

3. Learn to add small digits

You need to know how to add small digits e.g 8 + 6. I can bet you some of you are still using your fingers. This will slow you down and cost you valuable time in the exam.

4. Get help if you're struggling

If you don’t know points 2 and 3 and your tutor can’t help you, get in touch with me and I’ll send over some tips.

5. Know the Big Four

Make sure you can do a  written method of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. I would recommend the column method for addition and subtraction , the grid
method for multiplication and the chunking method for division.

[Editor's note: I believe there are nice yellow books to help you with this, too.]

6. Learn the language

Like any other subject, you need to learn vocabulary for Maths too. Just pretend it’s not Maths and start learning the words like you would for Spanish or Science. Flashcards, Post it Notes are all helpful.  Repeating the word a 100 times in different voices, moods - try saying Pythagoras as if you’re in love - can be helpful too. I’ve just been through all the Foundation papers. Here are some essential words to learn:

  • Shape words

    • Perimeter
    • Area
    • Volume
    • Radius
    • Diameter
    • Parallel
    • Perpendicular
    • Line of Symmetry
    • Rotational Symmetry
    • Trapezium
    • Parallelogram
    • Kite
    • Equilateral
    • Isosceles
    • Right-angled
    • Face
    • Edge
    • Vertex
  • Number words

    • Prime Number
    • Factor
    • Multiple
    • Prime Factor
    • Square root
    • Equivalent Fraction
    • Simplest Form
  • Statistics words

    • Mode
    • Median
    • Mean
    • Range
  • Algebra words

    • Factorise
    • Expand
    • Simplify

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Colin

Colin is a Weymouth maths tutor, author of several Maths For Dummies books and A-level maths guides. He started Flying Colours Maths in 2008. He lives with an espresso pot and nothing to prove.

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2 comments on “How to get a C in GCSE Maths without becoming a nervous wreck

Where do you teach?

I teach in my home in Abbotsbury Road, Weymouth.

It's a 15-minute walk from Weymouth station, and it's on bus routes 3, 8 and X53. On-road parking is available nearby.

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