GCSE Maths is becoming a real struggle, help!

Categorised in: Insights | Posted on: 19 February 2021

GCSE Maths is one of the most challenging subjects at school. But don’t panic, help is at hand!

It’s no wonder that many students struggle with GCSE Maths, especially as they enter the latter stages of the course. So, what to do if your child returns to school with no confidence in maths and just a couple of months before the end of the year assessment?

Check they’ve got the GCSE Maths basics

One of the primary reasons students struggle in maths is because they have gaps in their knowledge. Maths is like a pyramid of cards (not the best analogy, we know). The bottom cards are essential for the cards at the top. If your child has missed understanding those essential bottom cards of concepts and theories, they’re going to have difficulty understanding more complex concepts later. This is a blow to anyone’s confidence so it’s important to check that your child has all the basic skills covered (a tutor assesses this in their first lesson).

Top Tip: Begin with straightforward activities to review your child’s comprehension of maths vocabulary (percentage, gradient, etc), as well as concepts such as subtraction, fractions and formulating an equation. 

Show them that GCSE Maths is fun – yes, really

When you don’t like or feel good about something, you want to complete the task as soon as possible. It’s the same for students struggling with GCSE Maths. They’ll approach their work at school with a “let’s get it over and done with” attitude. To combat this, try piquing their interest by showing them how often maths is intertwined with daily life: dealing with money, time, patterns, buildings, cooking measurements, sports statistics, calculating journey distances/lengths to their favourite places etc. 

Top Tip: Involve your child in maths related tasks as much as possible. Doing this helps remove some of the fear they have of not being good at it. It both empowers and provides them with confidence in their mathematical abilities.

Consider a tutor

Students who have low confidence in maths are probably not the ones thriving in a classroom environment. Often they’ll be struggling to keep up with the pace of lessons and reluctant to raise their hand to ask for help. Students learn at different speeds and get to grips with concepts and methods at their own pace. 

Working one to one with a tutor provides students with invaluable personal attention they may be lacking at school. They also work in a comfortable and relaxed environment. This ensures they’ll be in a much better place to interact with the tutor and hone in on the topics they’re struggling with.

Case study: Anthony, Year 10

Anthony’s mum contacted us as he was upset with his grades. The bad results had came as a surprise to him and definitely to his mum. He had dropped a grade in maths and was aiming for an A. 

He wasn’t entirely sure what went wrong so we arranged for an initial session with an experienced maths tutor to find out where the gaps in his knowledge were. The majority of the very experienced GCSE Maths tutors on our books have studied maths at university level, so are quick to assess student’s current levels.

After the lesson it was clear that Anthony had fallen behind a bit in class. He hadn’t felt confident enough to bring it up with his teacher either. We put in place regular, weekly lessons to give Anthony some structure. This help him catch up, consolidate and enhance his learning.

Check out GCSE Maths tutor, Hugo’s profile

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