How to practice the word based questions for your GCSE Maths exam

How to practice the word based questions for your GCSE Maths exam

There has been an absolute boatload of changes to the mathematics curriculum over the last few years. Ignore what your parents tell you, exams are not getting easier. In fact, they’re getting significantly harder. While some of the increase in difficulty does involve more difficult questions being moved down to the foundation paper and even some A-Level topics being introduced earlier, a lot of it is from “contextual questions” being used a lot more.

Contextual questions sound terrible, they sound like what you have to do when you write essays in history. Take sources and put them into context. This is maths, not history why should we care about putting things into context? I know it sounds stupid, but context is actually really important in maths. What’s the point in knowing how to work out the percentage of something if you never know how to actually use it? Or why Pythagoras is important if you want to be an architect? That’s what contextual questions help us to do.

That’s just a big word though, what it really means is wordy questions. Loads of writing that doesn’t really make much sense. It is easy to get it to make sense though. Not just is it easy to get it to make sense, but it’s easy to pick up some of the marks even you still struggle to get the final answer.

Take this question for example.

GCSE Maths word based questions example

The first thing to do when you see this question is to stop screaming. It will get your thrown out of the exam hall and no-one wants that. The second thing to do is calmly read through it and look for maths words in the question. The maths words will give you an idea of what working out you need to do in the question. If you can work out where the maths words are, what they mean and how to use them IN CONTEXT to the question.

GCSE Maths word based questions example

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