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What is the GCSE maths qualification?

GCSE Mathematics involves the study of mathematical methods with some practical applications. It aims to develop students’ skills in problem-solving and analytical thinking.

The majority of 16-year-old students in the country take the GCSE Maths exam.

There are two sets of examinations within GCSE Maths:

  • The Foundation tier covers grades 1-5 (formerly G-C)
  • The Higher tier covers grades 3-9 (formerly D-A*)

Since the introduction of the new grading system, GCSEs are now graded on a scale from 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest grade and 1 being the lowest. The new grading scale aims to provide clearer differentiation between different levels of achievement. If you’re unfamiliar with the new grading system, the government factsheet explains the changes and how they relate to the previous A*-G grading scale.

Why GCSE Maths is a valuable qualification?

GCSE maths aims to provide all students with a firm mathematical foundation that they will need for life, work and further study.

GCSE Mathematics grade 4 or higher is usually required for progression onto studying for an advanced (level 3) maths qualification, such as Core Maths or A level Mathematics and many apprenticeships. Most schools and colleges require at least a grade 6 to enter an A level Mathematics course.

If a pass (grade 4 or higher) in GCSE Mathematics is valuable for a career in your business we’d encourage you to refer to it in your job advertisements. If young people see that you value the knowledge and skills it develops, they will be encouraged to work towards achieving it.

What’s studied in GCSE Mathematics?

The six subject areas on the GCSE maths syllabus are:

Ratio, proportion and rates of change
Geometry and measures

BBC Bitesize provides a helpful overview of the content of GCSE Mathematics, including which topics are included in the Foundation tier and which are included in the Higher tier.

The I-GCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) is equivalent to a GCSE. It’s available internationally and is also used by some UK schools and colleges.

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