What is the Most Difficult Topic in GCSE Mathematics?

Vectors are widely considered to be the most difficult topic in GCSE mathematics. This year's Paper 2 had a vector question on the back that only a small fraction of senior paper takers at my school were able to answer. Tangents to circles, which can involve pythag and trigonometry, is another consistent and difficult topic. The rules of sine and cosine can also be challenging.

Numerical topics such as HCF, LCM, product of prime numbers, standard form, power and root calculations are usually evaluated fairly procedurally or without context. While there is rich and charming content on these topics, it is less likely to be evaluated at the GCSE Foundation level. That said, there is very little content in the chapter on number and proportion that can be considered non-essential. In terms of test accommodations, the formula sheet includes the algebraic formula for compound interest, but this is expressed in formal terms, using “principal amount”, interest rate, and the word “accrued”; it may be worth making sure that students are familiar with these terms if they have the intention to rely on the formula in the exam.

At the Foundation level, a significant amount of algebra is evaluated procedurally and without context; this suggests that it is less valuable to spend a lot of vital exam preparation time on issues important to these topics. It is worth remembering that while the complexity and degree of problem-solving expected for algebra at Foundation is relatively low, students find the topics themselves more challenging, so they aren't necessarily easier grades. I would also recommend a lot of coverage on the correct use of mathematical equipment, such as scale drawing work and bearings, as these frequently appear for a good number of grades, and students may have had varying degrees of success working on them remotely. Like algebra, a significant amount of probability and statistics is evaluated in the Foundation procedurally and without context; again, there is less value in terms of exam preparation by spending a lot of time on rich problems. From my analysis of the Foundation, it is clear that there must be a continued strong emphasis on the work of number and proportion, particularly in its application in other contexts. Basic arithmetic work should be continually reviewed and practiced, as should standard procedures such as expanding, factoring, simplifying, and using formulas. Some people may find one or two topics more difficult than others while others may find them easier.

You need a total of 25 points to pass GCSE mathematics. The three main articles are Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Calculus I. It depends; there may be a topic that you think is easy for you to be asked very challenging questions on the exam and vice versa. We went from a prep question to the actual lesson divided into three learning objectives which cover the topic. In reality, this question is not based on any complicated mathematics and only elementary knowledge of coordinate geometry is required.

I also think that your math teacher is a little wrong with inverse functions as a ninth grade topic; he is effectively just reorganizing an equation and replacing what is expected even of low-grade students. In addition, many students also need to know about basic mathematical concepts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to succeed in high school. That said, in the heat of the exam anyone can be stressed enough not to find the pattern and relationships within this question and that is what makes this question one of the most difficult. Some tips on how to review for GCSE mathematics may include studying problem sets and practice questions, taking practice tests and using online resources. There is no definitive answer to this question as different students will have different needs and preferences when it comes to GCSE review. For those GCSE mathematics students who see themselves as specialists in trigonometry this question may not be so difficult in their opinion. However some tips on how to review for GCSE mathematics may include studying problem sets and practice questions taking practice tests and using online resources. To download an article containing this particular question go to the AQA GCSE maths past article page which you can find here.

There is no single answer to this question as it depends on the individual and their specific needs when it comes to mathematics.

Shahid Lakha
Shahid Lakha

Shahid Lakha is a seasoned educational consultant with a rich history in the independent education sector and EdTech. With a solid background in Physics, Shahid has cultivated a career that spans tutoring, consulting, and entrepreneurship. As an Educational Consultant at Spires Online Tutoring since October 2016, he has been instrumental in fostering educational excellence in the online tutoring space. Shahid is also the founder and director of Specialist Science Tutors, a tutoring agency based in West London, where he has successfully managed various facets of the business, including marketing, web design, and client relationships. His dedication to education is further evidenced by his role as a self-employed tutor, where he has been teaching Maths, Physics, and Engineering to students up to university level since September 2011. Shahid holds a Master of Science in Photon Science from the University of Manchester and a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the University of Bath.