GCSE Maths: improvements to our papers for summer 2023

Published: Monday 5 Sep 2022

We’re committed to ensuring we have the best assessments for all students, and to make sure that happens, we constantly review and make improvements to our papers.

We’ve listened to your feedback and for summer 2022 we made a few improvements to our GCSE Maths Foundation papers to further improve the exam experience for all students. For summer 2023 we’re making more improvements to both our Foundation and Higher papers.

For students entering for the November 2022 exams, the format and style of our Foundation and Higher papers for this series will be the same as they were in summer 2022 – incorporating our 2022 improvements and the adaptations for 2022 (formulae sheet and advance information).

Improvements to Foundation tier papers from summer 2023

  • We’re replacing our multiple-choice questions at the beginning of the papers with short, accessible open-response questions to give students the best possible start to the papers.
  • We’ve looked at the numbers used in some of the questions and simplified the wording to make these questions focus on what they are intended to test.
  • We’ve reviewed the multi-step questions and reduced the complexity where appropriate for the level of demand.
  • We’ve reviewed the contexts used in our questions, removing some if they got in the way of the mathematics. This is designed to give more opportunities for students to show what they can do.
  • Mark schemes are being refreshed to ensure that students making any progress in a question are rewarded and that hurdles for the award of the first mark are not too high.
  • We’ve reviewed how we order questions to ensure a smoother ramping of demand to help ensure students build confidence at the start and can go on to demonstrate their mathematical ability in questions throughout the paper.

At Higher tier, we’re also removing the early multiple-choice questions to facilitate a smoother, more confidence-building beginning for all Higher tier students as well.

Our supporting resources

To help you prepare your students for the improved assessments, we’re going to give you four sets of new-style practice papers, the first will be available on All About Maths next week. We’re also busy working on an annotated version to help you understand the changes and a summary on where you’ll find some useful resources.

The first sets of practice papers, and shadow papers based on June 2022, will be released this term to support you with new-style and unseen assessment materials.

We’ve got a full programme of new or refreshed resources coming up over the next six months to support you in preparing for our new papers. We’ll let you know when these are available.

Autumn 2022: Maths round up webinar

Please join the AQA Maths team on Thursday 22 September 2022 at 4pm for this term’s Maths round up webinar. We’ll be sharing updates across our maths specifications and will talk through the improvements and resource offering in more detail. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions in the live Q&A. The webinar will be available to watch on-demand afterwards, so you won’t miss out if you can’t join us for the live event.

See all updates