Our GCSE Maths experts answer your questions

You asked us - October 2017

Our Head of Curriculum for Maths – Andrew Taylor – shares his expertise to answer the questions you’ve been asking us.

To see answers to previous questions, choose from under 'Past topics'.

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In April 2018, you asked us about...

If a student gives two different working-out methods, but only one of the methods given is correct, will they get full marks for that question?

Questions like this are difficult to answer without a specific example, but here is some established guidance:

  • if the choice of method is clear from the final answer given, our examiners are encouraged to give the benefit of the doubt and award full marks
  • if there are two conflicting sets of working and no indication from the student of which is their final method, then we will credit the response worth the lower mark
  • if working is crossed out and not replaced, we will try to mark it if possible.

Students should make a clear choice

With this in mind, we strongly recommend that if a student follows two methods, they should clearly cross out the method that they don't want marked. Essentially, they must choose their working-out method, and make their choice clear.

Online video: understand how examiners mark

To help you confidently steer your students around this level of assessment detail, it can help to really understand how examiners approach marking. You can then get into the same frame of mind when marking mocks.

To do this, you’ll want to understand the types of marks that are available, and the principles of a mark scheme.

Watch our online webinar: how to mark like an examiner for detailed information on the principles we apply when marking. The video also uses student responses from both Foundation and Higher Tier.

Assessment guide and poster: avoiding common exam pitfalls in exams

Take a look at our assessment guide with tips for avoiding common pitfalls in exams, including a reminder of the importance of crossing out work you don’t want marked, as well as lots of useful hints on exam practice.