Mathematics GCSE

The course

Mathematics can best be described, at this level, as the formulation and application of both numerical and abstract concepts. The student of mathematics has to be creative and imaginative, have a sense of flair and most importantly be curious about the world around them. Mathematics touches on many areas and requires intellectual flexibility and a methodical approach.

Mathematics has a clear influence on accountancy, architecture, biology, chemistry, economics, engineering, finance, physics, etc. At the same time mathematics is an active field of study in its own right.

The course is divided into three components or assessment objectives:

  • Number and algebra (39-51% of total). This looks at fractions and decimals, ratio, percentages, algebraic manipulation, formulae, linear and quadratic equations and graphs, proportionality, functions, calculus and set theory.
  • Shape, space and measures (34-46% of total). This looks at bearings and constructions, trigonometry in 2D and 3D, area and volume, similarity and vector geometry.
  • Handling data (12-18% of total). This looks at measures of average, probability and histograms.

What skills do I need?

You need to be good with numbers and abstract reasoning.

How is the course assessed?

All students pursue either the Higher Tier GCSE course, which covers the grade range 4-9 (Grade 3 is allowed) or the Foundation Tier, which covers the grade range 1-5. The course is assessed by means of three written exam papers, equally weighted. Each paper lasts one hour and thirty minutes and is worth 33.3% of the total grade. Each paper has a total of 80 marks. Assessments take place twice a year: in May/June and in November.


Edexcel GCSE Maths Foundation Student Book
By M. Appleton
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0198351504

Edexcel GCSE Maths Higher Student Book
By M. Appleton
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0198351511

Exam Board and Specification Codes

Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 GCSE (9–1) in Mathematics 1MA1 (reformed)