Official Government Documents
As far as GCSE Maths is concerned, the one document to rule them all is the Department for Education’s ‘Mathematics GCSE Subject Content and Assessment Objectives‘ which is commonly referred to as ‘The Content Document’.
Make sure you get the November 2013 version (which has no date on the front cover and is available at the link I’m providing here) rather than the June 2013 version (which has June 2013 on the cover, is called ‘GCSE_Mathematics_final.pdf’ and is in fact, and of course, NOT the final version).
Top tip. Never, ever, EVER, name a document as ‘final’. It’s an absolute guaranteed way to ensure somebody will demand an update and you’ll end up looking like an idiot who can’t name files properly.
Anyway, it sets out the requirements that the awarding organisations (Pearson/Edexcel, AQA, OCR and WJEC) need to meet and contains a complete list of all the material you need to study. Your awarding organisation is free to add detail to this document though so you definitely want to check the spec for your own specific exam board.
What Will Be Tested
There are two main categories of things they will be testing:
- assessment objectives which are general mathematical skills such as being able to carry out procedures
- subject content which refers to the specific mathematical tasks, processes and knowledge you need to be able to demonstrate. These are split into ‘content domains’ which have their own weightings in terms of the proportion of marks available in the exams. You will also need to be familiar with a selection of formulae.
What Has Changed
If you’re interested in what has changed in the new 9-1 graded spec (for first teaching in 2015) then I’ve put together a list of 7 things you need to know. Don’t get too involved in comparing it with the old spec though. Just focus on learning what you need to learn (as far as you’re concerned it’s all new since you’ve never done GCSE maths before) and let your teacher worry about getting the new material ready for you.