Becket Keys

Changes to GCSE Maths - first exams in June 2017

New Content

The new GCSEs, offered by each of the examination boards, were accredited by Ofqual in September 2014 after they had to re-submit their specifications and assessment structures to Ofqual over the summer.  Further information, accredited sample examination papers and launch meetings have been provided by the examination boards this October in order to inform schools of the changes.

Having received this crucial information we are now in a position to review and adapt our teaching in line with the new requirements.  We aim to ensure that our students are best prepared for these changes and that they enjoy exploring and applying mathematics of a more demanding nature.


New content to the Foundation Tier (Grades 1-5)
  • Surds
  • Reverse percentages
  • Factorising quadratics
  • Trigonometry – the sine, cosine and tangent ratios, including to know the exact values of sin, cos and tan 30°, 60° and 45°
  • Using an inequality to specify error intervals due to rounding
  • Circle properties
  • Vectors
  • Tree diagrams
  • Standard form
  • Compound interest
  • Simultaneous equations
  • Direct and inverse proportion
  • Fractional scale factors of enlargements
  • Conditional probability and tree diagrams
  • Frequency trees
  • Venn diagrams
New content to the Higher tier (Grades 4-9)
  • The gradient at a point on a curve as a rate of change
  • The area under a graph
  • Geometric progressions
  • Composite and inverse functions
  • Iteration
  • The location of turning points on a quadratic function by completing the square
  • Expanding products of more than two binomials
New Grades

A grade 4 will be equivalent to a present grade C and a grade 7 will be equivalent to a present grade A.

Sample Questions

Here are some sample questions from the new GCSE. In addition to the new content being examined the key changes are that they require:

  • Better reading and comprehension skills to extract the problem being posed

  • Recall of most formulae (many of which used to be provided in the exam)

  • Extended problem solving skills as fewer steps are provided in the form of sub-questions or prompts and some will be non-routine problems

  • A greater focus on the ability to interpret and communicate mathematically by drawing communications, making chains of mathematical reasoning and presenting mathematical arguments and proofs

Stuck on any of these?! Here are the solutions!