**Intermediate GCSE Maths Revision - Mistakes to Avoid in the
Intermediate GCSE Maths Exam**

**Get More Marks (Without Knowing Any More!)**
Intermediate GCSE Mathematics examines grades E, D, C and B.
Each grade is worth 25% of the marks on the exam paper. Each
Intermediate Maths GCSE exam paper starts off with the easier
grade E questions and finishes with the harder grade B
questions. Approximately 55% is needed for grade C, and
approximately 75% for grade B, (these percentages vary from year
to year according to the difficulty of the exam). Many students
who revise thoroughly, forget to spend time on the easiest way
to gain and lose marks in the exam. Candidates need to be aware
of these 9 very simple steps as both a source of very easy
marks, and as a way to prevent losing marks needlessly.
**1. Show All Stages in Any Calculations**
This is the advice given to candidates on the front of the
Intermediate GCSE Maths exam paper. This is also the number one
cause of losing marks. For some reason, many candidates (and it
is more often boys), believe that everything they do will be
perfect and mistake free, so why bother using up precious energy
writing needlessly, when they can work out the answer faster
their own way? Unfortunately, this is also the fastest way of
losing marks.
Let us consider a two mark question where you have to work out
the length of a model car. The student works out in their head,
or on their calculator, that the length is 0.45 m and writes
this answer down. Unfortunately the student will get no marks at
all for this if the question stated that the answer should be
given in **centimetres**. The two mark question is made up of
1 method mark for the method used, and 1 accuracy mark for the
correct answer. The student will therefore not get the accuracy
mark for the correct answer, nor the method mark as no working
out has been shown. So although they can undoubtedly do the
question and would have got one mark if they had shown their
working out, they ended up with no marks at all. Instead of
staying on target for a grade C by getting one mark out of two,
they have fallen behind on an easy question. The exam is as much
about how to prevent losing marks, as it is about gaining them.
**2. Give the Final Answer as Asked For in the Question**
The exam question will often state the level of accuracy needed
for the final answer. For example to give your answer correct to
1 decimal place, or to 1 significant figure. If you do not give
your answer in the form asked for in the question, you will
**not** get the final accuracy mark (1 mark). In algebra or
ratio questions, it often states to give your answer in its
**simplest form**. Altogether on the average Intermediate
GCSE Maths exam paper, around 10% (**ten percent!**) of all
the marks are for giving your answer in the form asked for in
the question. Once you start spotting this and making sure that
all your answers are in the correct form that has been asked
for, you will stop throwing away lots of marks.
**3. Use the Marks Given to Help You**
There is a significant difference between a 1 mark question, and
a 4 mark question. If for example you are doing a 3 mark
question in 1 line, then beware, as you have either not shown
all your working out (and will lose marks), or you have not
spotted correctly what to do, so look at the question again. As
a rough guide aim to do one more line of working than the number
of marks in the question:
2 mark question: 3 lines of working out
3 mark question: 4 lines of working out
This will ensure that you show all the steps needed to get full
method marks.
**4. Don't Cramp your Working Out**
As candidates write on the Intermediate GCSE Maths exam paper
itself, sufficient space is not always provided. **Don't** be
tempted to squash your work into a small space - ask for extra
paper. If you are squashing your work in, then it is very common
for candidates to leave some steps out - these steps are
frequently the method steps that the examiner needs to see to
get the method marks!
**5. Watch out for Mixed Units**
Quite often different units are used to measure quantities in
the same question, for example:
**cm** and **mm**
**m** and **cm**
**km** and **m**
The golden rule is to always work with just one unit throughout,
either all centimetres or all metres or all kilometres. Change
any different measures at the **start** of doing the question
to the **same** unit.
**6. Beware the Calculator Paper!**
The GCSE Mathematics exam consists of a Calculator exam paper
and a Non-Calculator exam paper. GCSE Mathematics is the hardest
GCSE exam to get the grade you need, and far from making the
exam easier, using a calculator often results in more mistakes
and a lower mark than in the non-calculator paper. It is even
more important to show all your working out on the Calculator
paper as it is very easy to do two or three lines on your
calculator without showing any working out. You would lose all
your method marks, and if you have made a mistake you won't get
any marks at all. As the exam paper consists of more method
marks than accuracy marks it is essential that you show all your
working out.
**7. Not being in DEG Mode**
Make sure that your calculator is always in DEG (degrees) mode,
otherwise you will never get Trigonometry questions correct!
**8. Don't Measure Diagrams**
If it states "diagram not accurately drawn" then do not bother
measuring the diagram, it will not help you, and it will waste
time. "Diagram not accurately drawn" means you have to find a
calculating method (not measuring method) to get the answer.
**9. Write Down Measuring Units**
Remember to write down the units you are using e.g. cm, m, km if
they are not given at the end of the question. If you forget,
you will lose 1 very easy mark. (It is very easily forgotten
though!).
**Conclusion**
If you practise and remember these 9 simple steps, it is
possible to prevent losing up to 10% of your exam marks
needlessly. Good examination technique should be practised as
part of Intermediate GCSE Maths exam preparation, and when
revising the most essential GCSE exam questions and GCSE Maths
exam topics.