Life Hacks to pass GCSE Maths

Finally, there are easy life hacks to ace GCSE Maths. Become confident in the classroom, get through your homework in half the time and finally achieve the grade you deserve.


Study Maths hacks:

1) Brain hack!

If trying to learn a difficult maths technique, spray a new scent. To trigger that knowledge, just smell that scent again. Our memory is deeply linked to the part of the brain that deals with smells. You’ll be able to recall the most complex memories by simply spraying a new can of Lynx or perfume.

2) Memory hack!

Before an exam, write on a piece of paper everything you would want to take into the exam with you. You won’t even need to take it with you, you’ll remember it.

3) Sweet tooth motivation hack!


Leave a gummy bear trail when reading / doing maths questions to reward yourself for progress.

4) Brain hack!


Take short breaks after 30 – 35 minutes when learning new information. In that break, your mind will form connections. Learning this way is fun and feels less stressful. Avoid listening to new music or watching new TV shows. It will also form connections.

5) Homework hack!


Homework is easiest to do when you start the day it is set. Starting homework on the day will feel easy and you will find it easy to come back to it if you need to. If you are really feeling lazy, just do one question from the homework and leave. The human brain finds it easier to come back work that is already started than trying to start a new piece of work.

6) Avoid mistakes hack!

Re-read the question after you’ve answered it. You’d be surprised how many times students do lots of working but will not actually answer the question. Watch out for units and time. No examiner wants to see 3.2 hours. They want to see 3 hours, 12 minutes.

In Exam Life Hacks:

7) Stress hack!

A pupil sitting her GCSE Maths exam

There are lots of questions on the paper. If you can’t do one, don’t panic. Write what you know and move on. You can easily come back to it.

8) Avoid stupid answer hack!

Check if your answer is realistic. If a second hand car costs £7 million or the mass of the earth is 4kg, you’ve probably got it wrong. Check your working again.

9) Method mark hack!

Maths Exam

If you’re stuck on a question, write down the maths that you think would be relevant. You can get marks for re-arranging an equation or using the correct method, even if you do not arrive at the answer.

10) Exam technique hack!

Exam parts are independent. If you can’t do part a) it doesn’t matter. Move onto part b). If you need a value from part a), it’s usually provided by being a “Show that…” type of question. On average, aim for a minute a mark. Naturally questions towards the end of the paper may take longer. But if you’ve spent 5 minutes on a 5 mark question, finish up and move on.

11) Exam stress hack!


Be familiar with the calculator you will be using in the calculator paper. You are going to want to know where the square root button and not spend ages finding π.


Did you find these useful?

100% of our GCSE Maths students have achieved an A* grade for four years. Our tutors will work with you one to one, and are available in all major UK cities. Our tutors can even work with you via Skype so you can be comfortable at home. Click here to find out more. 

What is Summer Holiday Learning loss?

Long awaited Summer Holidays are secretly destroying children’s education.

Angry and tired schoolgirl studying

Every student longs for the exciting joys of playing in the Sun, seeing friends, going on holiday and sleeping in til late. Six straight weeks of utter bliss as there is no sight of school. But how much of an impact is such a long break having on child’s educational development?

Summer Holiday Learning loss is the term given to the loss of academic acumen because of a long disruption to mainstream regular education. This forces teachers to work harder in September to play catch up and remind students of the core skills that they have learnt from the previous year.

It is estimated that up to 20% of a Secondary School academic year is spent reviewing and catching up material that is forgotten. But the impact of Summer Holiday Learning loss is wider than this.

stressed GCSE maths student

Educational Learning experts believe that regular learning not only improves academic understanding but also develops higher cognitive functions such as problem solving and reasoning. The effect of a six week long gap in learning often makes students return to school struggling to solve the problems that they could have done the year before.


What can be done to avoid Learning loss?

There are many things a student can do over the Summer Holidays to avoid learning loss. The best ones are listed below:

Review your work

Happy student studying a level maths

Yes, something as simple as taking an hour a week to review some of the work you have done over the previous year can mean the difference between you starting strong or starting again. It is estimated that reviewing your work will reduce the learning loss by 80%.

Develop your AfL (Assessment for Learning) and PLI (Perpetual Learning Improvement) skills


Investing some time in evaluating how effective your learning is, and which methods of learning are more effective will rapidly improve your academics. With all of our students, we have seen students whom achieved D grades at AS-Level Maths move onto A* Grades and now studying at Cambridge.


Get ahead of school with a Summer Booster Programme

happy-student in a-level maths class

Taking a little portion of your free time to learn some of what you will learn next year will mean you return to school like a super hero. You will be the top of the class and feel confident with your learning. And this feeling is addictive. You will always want to stay ahead. This has proven to improve a student’s performance by 100% (improved academic success combined with the reduced time to complete homework and increased student enjoyment).  Click here to find out more about our Summer Booster programmes.


Do you have any great suggestions? Why not message us on the mail from to the right?


7 Steps to an A* at A-Level Maths

iStock_000005784707SmallAdmit it, if you are reading this you want the A* Grade at A-Level Mathematics.  You want to go to the best university and get a degree with a bright future ahead.  Below are the 7 steps to an A* in A-Level Maths.


1)  Know C1 well!

The first 5 topics on Core 1 are EVERYWHERE in the course.  If you struggle with

  • Surds & Indicies
  • Quadratics
  • Inequalities
  • Sketching Curves
  • Coordinate Geometry

then go through them again.  They are used in the most difficult problems.  Also, make sure you are good at simultaneous equations and algebraic fractions.  When writing a challenging exam question, the examiner will select a use of one of the above as (despite having covering this first) students struggle to apply these in examinations.


2)  Review after each lesson!

Sounds simple.  It is.  After each lesson, the following day or even the following week, flick through the notes of the lesson and try some of the questions.  The trick is to remind yourself of how to do the problem.

This probably seems to be the minor practise to get the A*.  WRONG!

Do this and see yourself excel.  Do this not, and take your re-sits with us.


3)  Exam Style Questions

Best Maths Tutor in LondonDon’t do past papers until you finished the module completely!!

What was that?  Don’t do them?  But I’m sure teachers have said look at exam style questions.  Yes, please do that!  But not from past papers.  There are literately countless places where you can get exam style questions without resorting to papers.

Papers are precious. They are your true and only way to understand how the marks are distributed and how the topics link together. Looking at them early may seem innocent but you will NOT get an A* Grade.


4)  Review again!

Why is this mentioned twice?  Why this mentioned twice?  Because it’s that important.  Because it’s that important.

Set questions to review in two months time.  Only need to set a few minutes of questions but make sure you write them out and look at them in the future.  Give them to a parent or a friend to bring out.  This type of review pushing learning in the medium term memory and will keep it fresh for the exam.  It will also help you link the topic to other topics and style of questions.


5)  Past Papers are mocks – don’t forget that!

When practising past papers, remember you are looking at a mock exam. This was actually used before and unless your syllabus has changed (it hasn’t), these questions are completely relevant to what you will be sitting. Practise the papers under exam conditions and get used to the time management.

When marking papers, use the mark scheme and mark harshly.  If you think you haven’t written enough to get the mark, then you probably haven’t.

If in doubt, ask your teacher.


6)  Strive for every single mark!

Aiming for an A* is pointless.  The grade boundaries are relative (dependent on how everybody else performs) and you can try and convince yourself that you are on course for it when in truth, you are enabling bad habits.

It is simply better to aim for every single mark in the exam. Get into the mind set now. Aim for every single mark in the homework and all school tests. Aim for every single mark in the past papers. If there is a mark you did not get, find out why and make sure you’d get it in future.

It is psychologically easier to visualise getting every single mark than it is to visualise an A* and get the former will ensure the latter.


7)  Join ELITE Tuition

With 100% of our A-Level students achieving an A or A* Grade, and with over 80% of those grades being A* Grades, can you afford not to find out how we can help you?

Our tutorials are taught one to one and they are completely tailored for your needs.  You will receive a free learning assessment to find out how best to teach you Mathematics, and we will give you a free trial lesson to prove it works.

Click here to contact us.


for more articles and advice.


What to look for when choosing your A-Level tutor?

Do you need help in your A-Levels?  Are you looking to secure a place at the top universities?  This may be the right time to find a tutor and avoid the last minute mad scramble for less qualified and able tutors near exam time.

But when looking for a tutor for A-Level, what do you look for?  How do you know that this tutor will give you the success you deserve?  Below are the top 7 tips to ensure you get the right person for you!


Tip 1:  Ask for the tutors success rate.

Most serious tutors will be happy to tell you how many A and A* Grades they have achieved at A-Level as well as the student’s starting grades.  If you do not feel that  they are getting enough of the grades you want, it may be a good idea to explore other tutors also.

Tip 2:  Do they provide their own resources.

Tutors whom ask to use your textbook to give you help or aim to simply help you with any questions you are having are no better than having a student who is a year older than you.  Certainly not worth paying high rates.  Good tutors have their own resources and will give homework.  In addition, good tutors will provide you all examination papers for your course.

Tip 3:  Ask for their academic strategy

Perhaps the best tip, asking a perspective tutor what they think is the best way forward given your situation is a clear way to figure out who is serious and who is not.  Simple vague approaches like “Cover areas you’re weak at.” or “Get extra practise on homework.” is a sign that you’re dealing with an amateur.  A good tutor will tell you something specific with time deadlines such as “We would cover all of Core 1 by mid December and have time to look at past papers for 2 complete weeks.”  ELITE tutors would have given you a entire report on their academic strategy and we have 100% A / A* at A-Level Mathematics.


Tip 4:  Ask for their teaching qualifications

Sadly, not all tutors are qualified teachers and although some unqualified teachers are amazing, you should not take a risk.  We have yet to encounter a single qualified teacher whom made a poor tutor.  If you care about your academic success, don’t waste time with unqualified tutors.


Tip 5:  Try before you buy

The best tutors in the UK will offer a free trial lesson at the least.  Some may not do this so at least ask for a discounted lesson as a first.  Pick a topic you are feeling weak in and go through that.  If you feel satisfied that you’ve achieved a lot, then you have found the right person.  To give you a comparison, ELITE Tuition would offer a free learning assessment AND a free trial lesson – that is how confident we are that you will continue with us.


Tip 6:  Ask for some testimonials

If a tutor has a strong proven record, chances are there are some grateful students who want to tell you about it.  They may have some on their website / social media pages.  If they don’t, simply ask for some.  Most tutors will be able to provide testimonials from happy former students.  If they seem hesitant, look elsewhere.


Tip 7:  Consider the price of the sessions

A professional’s time is very valuable.  When they are not marking books or spending time with family, they have limited time to offer tuition.  If you think your tutor is charging cheap price, chances are they are not taking their time seriously and will not take your education seriously.  Tuition prices will vary depending on your location.  But a good A-Level teacher should charge £30+ per hour.  ELITE Tuition charges £40 per hour and we have the absolute highest success rate at A-Level Mathematics.


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Last minute revision – GCSE Maths

7 best ways to prepare for GCSE Maths in the last minute!  Warning!  This is a no-nonsense guide!


Tip 1:  Flick through the text book to ensure you know all the formulae

At the end of each chapter, you will see a summary section which key formulae and concepts.  Read these!  If you didn’t know any of them, learn them!  Learn them now!  Don’t waste a second!

Tip 2:  Make Revision Q-Cards

While revising and doing past papers, you will come across questions which surprised you in how difficult they were.  Add them to a Q Card and read it on the day of the exam, about 30 minutes before the exam.

Tip 3:  Past Papers, Past Papers, Past Papers and more Past Papers

Any Maths Teacher will tell you that that past papers are the ONLY way to pass.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is an idiot. Past papers are very accessible from the exam board websites and from many other websites.  Do all of the past papers for your course.  Don’t skip any.  If you do, you deserve to fail.

Tip 4:  Mark your work harshly

Mark your own past papers using the mark scheme.  In case you’re wondering, “B marks” are independent marks meaning you give yourself the mark simply by writing the answer, “M marks” are method marks which are awarded for trying to use the correct method and “A marks” are accuracy marks which are awarded if you get the right answer AND you got the method mark also.

When marking your own papers, mark harshly.  If you are not sure if you got the mark, just assume you didn’t.  And LEARN FROM EVERY MISTAKE!  Don’t ever repeat the same mistake twice.

Tip 5:  Ask your teacher!

Most of you will be on study leave now and will assume that you cannot go into school and ask your teachers about any questions you may have.  But you can.  So do so.  But make sure you collect all of your questions so you’re not making a long trip in for every question.

Tip 6:  Get an ELITE Tutor

If you would like something carefully explained to you, with teachers who have every student of theirs get an A* at GCSE Maths, click here and sign up for our tutoring programme.  We can arrange an ELITE Tutor for you in a matter of hours.

Tip 7:  Sleep and eat well!

Last minute revision works!  It does!  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. However you can only go two days with little sleep before your brain actually starts to under perform.  So if you are going to do an all nighter, then make sure you’ve already planned when you will catch up with the sleep.  Or better, sleep properly and drink plenty of water.  It will make you more alert and your revision will be more effective.


If you want to take a chance and not do the above, sign up

After you fail your GCSEs, we’ll be right there to offer you tuition for your re-sits.


Good luck!



Do you suffer from Exam Anxiety?

Conquer Exam Anxiety

What is exam anxiety?

Unhappy with A level results

The feelings of stress that cause you to freeze in exams, or make silly mistakes can be described as exam anxiety. In some cases, it causes you to lose sleep or eat poorly during the revision period.

Despite the best preparation, exam anxiety can cause you to lose valuable marks.

3 / 5 students lose marks in an exam due to anxiety.


What can I do about it?


There are many easy ways to conquer exam anxiety, both before and during the exam. Below is a form where you can download a free PDF with easy to use techniques to master exam anxiety and perform your best.

Download Conquer Exam Anxiety



What if it happens in my exam?

Stressed student sitting in a classroom at a table while doing a test

If while in your exam you freeze, or you start to panic, remember the following advice:

  • The purpose of the exam is to test your knowledge – sometimes in unfamiliar ways.
  • Relax and take deep breaths.
  • Sit upright and place your hands on the table.
  • Start by writing what you do know. The rest will follow easily.

How do I get the Conquer Exam Anxiety guide?

You can download your free guide below.


Please share this to spread the support.

How to do A-Level Maths Past Papers

Maths ExamAs we approach the summer exams, students will start their campaign of past papers. There are many Do’s and Don’t’s when it comes to doing past papers. The key point to remember that the real exam will have to be sat under exam conditions, without anyone or anything assuring you that you are doing questions correctly. It is best to emulate that as closely as possible.

So when doing a past paper:

1) Sit the paper under exam conditions. Do not use any study aids or guides to help you.

2) Do not mark the paper until you have completed it. It is tempting to look at the mark scheme while you are doing the paper, but this is terrible for developing examination technique.

3) Mark the paper harshly. If you’re unsure if what you’ve written should earn the mark, then you probably haven’t. But do feel free to check with your ELITE Tutor.

4) Make sure you understand why you didn’t get the marks on the questions which you’ve done incorrectly. Do you need to revise this topic, or did you simply not spot the trick.

5) Place a Post-It note on each question you still do not understand for your ELITE Tutor. Go through how to do these questions and make sure you know how to get EVERY SINGLE MARK.

6) Record each trick that you have learnt into a separate file which you can review to remember.


FREE Expert Revision Packs available.  Get it now!


How to pass GCSE Maths

Ten Top Tips to Guarantee you Ace GCSE Maths

Student preparing for exams

GCSE Maths is compulsory and is needed to get into University and for many jobs.  Sadly, one in three students fail GCSE Maths and those who pass may not get a good enough grade.  Below are the Ten Top Tips guaranteed to get you a good passing grade in GCSE Maths.

Tip 1 – The Value of Homework

Think homework is just to keep the teacher happy?  Think again.  Education experts know that the human mind is very similar to a muscle.  The more it practises maths, the more it remembers, learns and can recognise patterns.  Doing homework on time is a sure way to consolidate what you have learnt in class, identify what you don’t know, and give your brain the consistency needed to push for the top grade.  Take a look at the 24 Hour Homework Rule for more details.

Tip 2 – Write to your future self

The single biggest secret to the 100% A* Grade success rate of ELITE Tuition is that we tell our students that you must assume you WILL FORGET EVERYTHING you learnt by the time you sit the exam.  85% of students assume that just because they understand something now, they will still remember it at the time of the exam.  That is not true.  Write details in your notes to your future self.  Nobody is a better teacher to you than yourself.  Do this religiously and you will never ever fail.

Tip 3 – Ask your teacher, ask your teacher and ask again if necessary

Your teacher is there to help.  According to the General Teaching Council, if you don’t understand something, it’s your teacher’s fault.  You didn’t pay attention, that is your teacher’s fault too.  But if you fail, that is YOUR fault.  That is your problem.  You will not get the opportunities.  You will not get into university.  You will not get that job.

Tip 4 – The internet is your friend

We live in a wonderful time where you can YouTube practically anything.  For GCSE Maths, there are even more sites dedicated to help you succeed.  Wonderful websites such as Khan Academy have excellent videos, worksheets and resources.  Best of all, they are FREE!!  Watch these videos after you have learnt a topic.  The effect on your memory is outstanding.

Tip 5 – Get used to exam style questions early

Your GCSE will be an exam.  Not a lesson.  Not a teacher asking you a question.  Not the questions in your text book.  Learn exam technique.  Find out HOW the exam asks questions.  Find out how an exam will link topics together.  Find out how the marks are allocated.  You can get exam style questions without having to look at past papers by going to websites such as MathsNetGCSE and BBC Bitsize (links below) and downloading exam style questions by topic.  Do this after your homework and ask your teacher about questions you don’t know how to do.  Surprisingly, your teacher will be happy that you did this.

StuckinmathsTip 6 – Get stuck in Maths

What was that??  Get stuck?  Why would that lead to success?  The GCSE Maths exam will definitely ask you questions you have no idea how to answer.  You need to problem solve.  You need to write down what you know and see what you can find out.  So do the harder questions.  Don’t skip them.  You need to practise being stuck and figuring out the answer.  If you master this, you will conquer GCSE Maths.  Your school teachers are excellent at doing this.  Many of the times when you ask them a question, they are doing this and it looks effortless.

Tip 7 – Rewind and Review

Every now and then, look at your Maths notes and try and do some of the questions you were set back then.  You can look at work you were set a month ago, or even six months ago.  See if you can still answer the questions.  If you can, great.  If not, look at your notes and see if you can figure it out.  Usually, it all comes back but sometimes you need to ask your teacher just to explain something. If you review your work like this, you will remember it at the time of the exam.  Very clever learners will ensure that everything gets reviewed.  They are the ones who become successful.

Tip 8 – Know your exam board

Visit your exam board’s website.  Look at the resources they have posted online.  You will be shocked at how easy it is to get past papers, mark schemes, worksheets and other great things.  Also, if there are any changes to the style of the questions in the exam, they’ll tell you on their website.  Click on your exam board to be forwarded to their website: EdExcel, OCR, AQA, WJEC.  You should visit their website from time to time and look our for notices about your course.  They will tell you where you can get fantastic resources.

Tip 9 – Past papers, past papers, past papers and past papersiStock_000016853747XSmall

There is literately no better way to master exam technique than to actually do past papers.  These should be done when revising and done under exam conditions.  Do all of them.  Do them twice.  Write Q cards explaining how to do the tricky questions and write model answers.  If you do enough past papers, you will see patterns.  You will begin to see what the examiner is looking for.  It’s the next best thing than having the actual answers to your exam.  The value of this simply cannot be understated.  You can get past papers from the exam board websites and other sites such as Maths Made Easy.

Tip 10 – Find your natural learning style

The single biggest hurdle to learning GCSE Maths in school is not being taught in the way that you naturally learn.  Your preferred learning style is as unique as you are.  Some are visual learners while others are kinaesthetic.  Some learn by examples and others need to be taught logically from first principles.  ELITE Tuition offer free learning assessments to any student regardless of whether you are looking to take tuition with us or not.  Our assessments are performed by learning specialists and educational psychologists.


Rise of the ELITE Tutor Supermum

Working Mother Holding Sleeping Baby

Having a baby is an exciting time for a mother, but giving up work for a year can be a career killer.  With over 60% of first time mothers choosing not to return to work, this can hit the family income hard.  We at ELITE Tuition believe we have found the answer.

With over 95% of our tutorial sessions taking place over Skype, we have opened up our recruitment to allow mothers with new borns (from 2 months onwards)to apply and work from home, teaching our easy to deliver mathematics programme.

ELITE Tuition has an ever growing army of young mothers and other qualified mathematics teachers, whom for various reasons have not been able to return to the classroom.  We recognise that our teacher colleagues are able to contribute to our teaching arsenal and are delighted at the way we can offer exciting teaching opportunities which are consistent to their parental duties and personal circumstances.

We wish to open this platform of opportunity to all whom have made career sacrifices to be at home.  Be it for a new born baby, or to take care of a loved one, dealing with an illness or to consider a possible career change, working from home as an ELITE Tutor may be the best way forward.

We are looking for highly motivated Mathematics Teachers with a QTS or equivalent qualification and encourage mothers to apply for one of our part time vacancies.  These can be done by clicking here.



The Best London Maths Tutor

ELITE Tuition are proud to win the Award for Best London Maths Tutors having achieved our sixth consecutive 100% A / A* for A-Level Maths, and a third year running at 100% A* at GCSE Mathematics – Higher Tier.

Best Maths Tutor in London

“The key to becoming a successful Maths Tutor is to carefully monitor how the student is learning mathematics and focusing on how to apply these to unfamiliar techniques.” says Ian Giles, Co-Founder and expert maths tutor.

With the rising competition for spaces at top universities and graduate jobs, having a Grade A in GCSE or A-Level Mathematics has never been more critical.  Many maths tutors will offer superb teaching and coaching but fail to achieve our level of success.  We believe that a maths tutor should be a qualified teacher with a proven track record of teaching excellence and intimate knowledge of exam technique.  There are vast quantities of resources available for GCSE and A-Level Mathematics and yet only a small amount of these reflect the style and structure of exam questions.  It is the job of a good maths tutor to pick these out and use them to develop exam technique.

The ELITE Tuition teaching programmes follow our own carefully designed teaching resources w

hich are tailored to each exam board, and focuses on every permutation to which an examiner can test the topic.  This preparation has not

yet failed to yield in Grade As for our students.

We know of no other maths tutors in London or anywhere else in the UK whom can boast such a claim.  However, we would welcome to hear from our colleagues from other teaching institutions who would like to learn our winning formula for achieving Grades As in the hope that we can raise the standard of teaching and learning in the UK.

If you are a maths tutor, please contact us so we can share our best practises and raise the standard of tutoring.

ELITE Tuition regularly posts articles which offer valuable advice and resources for students taking GCSE and A-Level Mathematics as well as the best way to tackle past papers and develop exam technique.

Follow us @elitetuitionand keep updated with our articles and blogs.

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“I failed GCSE Maths at school and needed to get a C for Uni.  I joined ELITE and they have a special programme for people in my situation.  The booklets and questions the gave me seemed really easy after the lessons and before I knew it, I was scoring really high on the past papers.”

N – Maric – Started with grade E, achieved C (Foundation Tier)
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“I came in struggling with Mathematics but left confident and on a grade A.  The classes were really fun and I learnt more in one session than I did in a week at school.  They even helped me with my personal statement and university interviews.”

A Dooley – Started with a Grade D, achieved A*. Studies Physics at Imperial
“My parents told me to take tuition just to check that I was on top of my school work.  But the way I was being taught, I was always ahead of school.  I only scored a B at GCSE but I got an A* at A-Level.”

B Patel – Started with ELITE Tuition, achieved A*. Studies Medicine at Kings College, London.

“I really loved going to ELITE Tuition for my GCSE Maths.  I thought their booklets were really amazing and easy to follow.  I wished they taught the subjects I’m taking for A-Level.”

E – Chare – Started with a grade B, achieved A*. Did not need Maths at A-Level.
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