My experience of the mathematics test

Martha AustinComing from a biology background, to say I felt a bit out of my depth when I started to prepare for the mathematics test was a bit of an understatement. It was a daunting task. Although I had just finished a 20-week SKE, there were big chunks of the A Level syllabus I hadn’t covered.  

The key thing that really helped me was breaking everything down into manageable chunks and assigning times to each chunk. This helped me make sure I still had time for the tricky bits nearer the end of the course, and I didn’t get caught up with the basics at the beginning. I made myself a tick sheet with all the A level topics, broken down exam, so I could see my progress as I worked my way through them. This was a helpful motivator as it showed me how much progress I was making in real time.  

Identifying a few useful websites that had revision videos, practice questions and explanations was also incredibly helpful. Exam solutions has a bank of exam papers and worked answers that was an absolute godsend when I was putting my newfound skills into practice. Mathsgenie also has worked solutions and very clear video explanations of each topic, I’d really recommend watching them if you are struggling in a area. Of course, YouTube has endless videos on almost any topic you can think of, so don’t be afraid to look there for explanations. I’d recommend mixing and matching different resources rather than relying on just one– it can be helpful to hear someone explain something in a slightly different way. 

When it comes to the exam itself, don’t panic. An hour doesn’t seem like that long, but I found it was more than enough for me to be able to double and triple check all my answers.  Make sure you have a pen and paper to hand, you’ll need them to help you work out many of the answers. If you are doing the maths test online like I was, you may find the way of inputting answers to be a bit unfamiliar. Worry not! The program will display what you have entered in ‘normal writing’ so you can check you’ve got your brackets in the right place etc.  

It’s easy to say and hard to do but try not to panic about the mathematics test. There were no tricks, no wordy questions trying to catch you out. Have faith in yourself and your abilities, revise as much as you are able, and you will be fine. And don’t forget to check your answers at the end!  

By Martha Austin