Specifications that use this resource:

Features and benefits of our specification

Maths is for everyone. We design qualifications and support to enable students to engage with, explore, enjoy and succeed in maths.

We love maths. It's diverse, engaging and essential in equipping students with the right skills to reach their future destination, whatever that may be.

We understand that many students feel that maths is 'not for them' but we believe that maths is for everyone. So, by putting students at the heart of everything we do, our aim is to support teachers to shape what success in maths looks like for every student.

Our specification and resources encourage students of all abilities to access and demonstrate their ability in maths.

Our questions are more accessible, clear and straightforward, minimising undue use of language which might act as a barrier to students.

We want students to see the maths not the words and offer some realistic contexts within which students can demonstrate their understanding of the appropriate maths.

All exam boards have the same subject content, but we believe we have the quality within our writing team to deliver the new assessments in a way that is accessible to the greatest possible proportion of students.

Exam structure

Feedback from teachers has always been that shorter exams get better performances. You've told us that some students, even more able ones, struggle to maintain concentration after too long.

Our exam employs a simple three-paper structure that incorporates the word count, layout and accessibility improvements that we made during the previous specification.

  • Only 1 non calculator paper
  • No content splits
  • 3 x 1.5 hours is better than 2 x 2.25 hour papers (4.5 hours is the minimum assessment time for all GCSE Mathematics exams)

Students will be required to answer all questions on all papers.

At each opportunity we understand that many students have a limited amount of time when they can produce mathematical output to their very best standard and therefore longer papers would reduce the chances of students showing their true mathematical capabilities in the assessments.

Below shows how we've structured our new GCSE papers, which is the same for both higher and foundation tiers.

Paper 1: non-calculator

Paper 2: calculator

Paper 3: calculator

What's assessed

Content from any part of the specification may be assessed

What's assessed

Content from any part of the specification may be assessed

What's assessed

Content from any part of the specification may be assessed

Assessed

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • written exam
  • 80 marks
  • 33⅓% of GCSE

Assessed

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • written exam
  • 80 marks
  • 33⅓% of GCSE

Assessed

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • written exam
  • 80 marks
  • 33⅓% of GCSE

Questions

A mix of question styles, from short, single-mark questions to multi-step problems. The mathematical demand increases as a student progresses through the paper.

Questions

A mix of question styles, from short, single-mark questions to multi-step problems. The mathematical demand increases as a student progresses through the paper.

Questions

A mix of question styles, from short, single-mark questions to multi-step problems. The mathematical demand increases as a student progresses through the paper.

Our testing of assessment objectives is aligned with the way you teach. Students learn the basics first, then gradually advance to apply this in different contexts. The papers are designed and structured in the same way, beginning with easier content in more straightforward or no contexts, moving through to easier content in problem solving and less familiar situations and then more difficult content.

Each paper will begin with 4 multiple choice questions to settle the students. The questions will include common areas of misconception as the distractors which will enable the vast majority of students to feel that they have made a positive start to the paper and thus progress to the next questions as confidently as possible.

The papers will then pan out as detailed in the table.

Tier

Earlier questions

Early/middle questions

Late middle/later questions

Foundation

Most questions will assess the DfE's 'standard type' content, using an AO1 approach. Accessible questions with few words or contexts.

A continued emphasis on AO1 style questions, with few words or contexts. Some questions will test the DfE's underlined type, which explores additional foundation tier content.

Questions will focus on AO2 and AO3 approaches (interpretation, communication and problem solving), mainly assessing the standard type content. Towards the very end of the papers, there may be questions assessing the underlined content using AO2 and AO3.

Higher

Questions of a similar standard to those asked in the middle of the Foundation tier. The demand will be in line with the lowest requirements of Higher tier, and the emphasis will be on AO1.

Questions will focus on AO2 and AO3 approaches (interpretation, communication and problem solving), mainly assessing the DfE's standard type content, but with some questions assessing the underlined content as well.

Questions will focus on content that the DfE classify in bold type. This challenging content will usually be tested using an AO1 approach, straightforward and with little or no context. In the most demanding questions, this content may be assessed with the AO2/AO3 approach.

Resources to support your teaching

We have a wide ranging and in-depth portfolio of support for planning, teaching and assessing the specification. These include practice papers, teaching guidance and topic tests, which can be found on All About Maths

Route maps

Our route maps are available to help you plan and deliver the specification over two or three years. They are fully customisable and link to a comprehensive set of teaching resources.

Route maps can be found on All About Maths

Get in touch

We have a team of experts in maths curriculum as well as experts in the administration that surrounds modern assessments. Everyone is a direct email or phone call away, so get in touch.

We will always get in touch when we have something important to share with you – make sure you have registered your details to stay up to date.