How to revise for a GCSE maths exam

If you or your child has a maths exam on the horizon, it can be overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to revising. Of course, the short answer to effective maths revision is to practice, practice, practice, but we wanted to break that process down into smaller bite-size revision tips. You could call it our formula for maths exam success. 

Create a revision roadmap

If you were to you sit down with the whole maths syllabus in front of you, it would be hard to know where to start. That's why we recommend taking the time to create a revision timetable so you have a roadmap of topics to follow. 

This structured approach will help ensure that you get the most from each session by giving you a focus. Plus, having a clear start and end-point to each revision period can make revising seem more manageable to students.

Practice with friends

Maths is, of course, a numbers game, so why not introduce revision sessions with more than one student? These group revision sessions will allow the students to learn from each other, practice explaining their methods, and work together through tricky questions. 

As group sessions can make the experience more social, engaging and fun, this is also a great option for reluctant revisers.

Use past papers

Nothing quite replicates the exam experience than working through past papers.They help students get a feeling for the topics covered and the way in which the questions are laid out on the paper. They also help train the brain to work effectively under exam conditions.

If you have access to multiple past papers, as well as practicing them from start to finish you can also group together questions by topic to match the subjects covered in your revision timetable.


Talking of replicating exam conditions, don't forget that the final exam will be against the clock. That's why it's a good idea to introduce timed practice sessions to help students understand the speed at which they should be working to complete everything in time.

Mark completed work 

If there were another mantra to go alongside 'practice, practice, practice', it would be 'check your answers, check your answers, check your answers'. Although the relief of having completed a revision session may feel like crossing the finish line, taking the time to review the answers afterwards is equally important.

It provides a valuable opportunity to reinforce learning by confirming what's correct, covering problematic areas, and helping students gain a stronger understanding of how the mark scheme works.    

Use Red Cliff revision cards

We know that some people struggle to ensure they're covering the whole syllabus in their revision. That's one of the reasons we created our Smarter Revision Cards.

Not only do they reinforce what's taught in class (they're written to match the Department for Education syllabus used by all exam boards in England and Wales) but they also provide an intuitive system of accessing the key facts needed to revise.

To find out more about how our Smarter Revision Cards take students from 'How do I do this?' to 'I know this', click here.