Why is Algebra so important?
Algebra is perhaps the most important area for GCSE maths. Algebra encompasses a lot of topics and methods. It is essentially the parts of the maths course where you use letters and symbols to represent numbers. The methods you learn with algebra will also apply to many other parts of the GCSE maths course. It’s a unifying set of concepts underpinning much of the rest of your maths course. Basically, to do well at GCSE maths, you need to be very confident with algebra.
For many students algebra can be tricky and sometimes confusing. If that’s you, then don’t worry – we’re here to help. We help students with online revision resources and one-to-one online tuition. We’ve set out all of the areas you need to revise below and linked to our revision guides and question banks (we’ll be adding more of these each week). You can also contact us directly to arrange a trial online lesson with one of our GCSE maths experts.
GCSE Algebra – Foundation Tier
There is a lot of algebra to learn for foundation tier GCSE maths. We’ve listed the key topics you need to revise below and included links to our guides and question banks where possible. Use this as a revision checklist. These topics build on each other, so start at the beginning, make sure you’re confident with the first topics, and then continue through the list.
- Simplifying expressions by collecting like terms
- Expanding brackets
- Solving linear equations (use our equations question bank for extra practice)
- Rearranging formulae
- Equations of straight line graphs
- Quadratic expansion
- Factorising quadratics
- Simultaneous equations
GCSE Algebra – Higher Tier
If you’re studying higher tier GCSE maths then you get to learn a lot more great algebra (how lucky you are!). Firstly, you need to be really confident with the methods outlined above in the foundation tier section. Once you’re happy with these foundations, you can progress on to the higher tier topics set out below. Again, we’d recommend revising these in order.
- Using the quadratic formula
- Plotting and interpreting quadratic graphs
- Solving linear and non-linear simultaneous equations graphically
- Completing the square
- Solving quadratic equations by completing the square
- Solving linear and non-linear simultaneous equations algebraically
- Quadratic inequalities
- Algebraic fractions
- Composite functions
How to revise algebra for GCSE Maths
So now you have your revision checklist for GCSE algebra. You also have some handy guides and practice questions. Now “how should I go about revising all of this stuff?” I hear you ask. Well we have you covered there too. The best way to revise all GCSE maths (and at any level for that matter) is to use the methods yourself. That means doing lots of practice questions. You should start with some straightforward questions on each topic and then move onto more complex exam style questions and problem solving questions which might incorporate multiple methods.
At each stage, have a go at the questions and then mark your own work. If you get anything wrong then refer back to your notes to check your methods and see if you can spot where you have gone wrong. You can find some past AQA GCSE maths papers here to help with your revision.
If you need any further help revising then you can also arrange a personalised lesson with one of our online maths tutors. Simply send us a message and we’ll recommend the right GCSE maths tutor for you.