Student Blog

Tips, Tricks and Online Maths Tools: Your Guide to Acing your Exams

Ah, maths! Love it or loathe it, it’s here to stay. While some of the more niche academic subjects will likely fizzle out over time, arithmetic will long be a skill we all need.

From working out how much cash you’ll save off that pair of trousers with the 20% off tag to easily totting up your monthly pocket money, possessing a basic grasp of maths definitely has its benefits. But there’s much more to maths than simply adding and subtracting. From algebra to long division, there are more elements to this subject than you can shake a protractor at.

Long gone are the days of picking your friend’s brain for the solution to that maths problem. Today, thanks to a quick Internet search, you can find exactly what you’re looking for online. You’re able to learn entirely at your own pace and there’s no need to drown under a mountain of books either. Everything you need is online and at your fingertips.

So, whether you struggle with the subject or simply need to brush up on the basics, we’ve compiled a handy tips, tricks and tools guide just for you. In it, you’ll find everything from sociable maths games to online forums.

So sit back, grab a cup of tea and get stuck into this definitive guide.

Why is Maths Important?

We’ve touched upon some everyday difficulties you might face if you don’t know your numbers, but what’s the real impact of not working hard at maths?

According to NationalNumeracy.org, there’s hard evidence to suggest that those with limited skills in numeracy will face poorer choices when it comes to their eventual career. After all, a key subject at school (along with English and Science) is Maths, with more than one class a week on the agenda for many pupils, and few people get to the top of the career ladder without at least a basic grasp of the subject. In fact, you’re twice as likely to be employed if you have good numeracy skills.

Of course, as with anything, there’s always an exception to the rule. But the fact is, those who try at maths are far more likely to succeed in the long-run – and the great news is there’s plenty of help and support available online – it’s just about knowing where to find it.

We’re not talking simply letting the computer do the work for you, though. Instead, we’ve earmarked some of the very best apps and tools available digitally to help you excel in your own right. It might well be time to ditch the weighty text books and switch on your laptop or iPad. So whether you’re doing GCSEs or A-Levels, your maths revision starts here.

game on

When you were struggling with maths as a kid, your parents might have found time to dream up some cool way of teaching you with a homemade game. Now, thanks to the Internet, you can inject the same kind of fun into your maths-based studies on your own.

There are so many websites and apps out there – each one geared up to make the basics of maths seem easy –  that you’ll be absolutely spoiled for choice. Here are a few we think you’ll love:

GCSE Bitesize

The BBC’s GCSE Bitesize programme has been around for some time and with good reason. The website features games, tests and tools for anyone studying for their GCSEs. You’ll find plenty of games available for even the most reluctant learners to try.

While you’re at it, check out the revision content for some of your other GCSE subjects – this could be your one-stop-shop to better grades.

What2Learn

Head to www.what2learn.com and you’ll find all sorts of fun games you can get stuck into. This one, in particular, is well worth a try.

The fractions-to-decimals matching game is a snap-style game to help students who are learning to match fractions with their decimal equivalent. Use it to keep your brain active ahead of an exam, or brush up on old skills by checking out the other games on offer. All you need to do is sign up and you’re away!

InteractiveStuff.org

This site is exactly what it says on the tin – interactive maths games at the click of a mouse. While some of the questions are fairly basic, these kind of quick quizzes are ideal if you’re after a spot of brain training between exams or during a much-needed break from hard-core revision.

Interactive Maths

Head to this site and you’ll find you can easily lose an evening to its well devised content. Well, we say ‘lose’, but really you’ll be picking up some valuable hints and tips ahead of your exams.

Interactive Maths is absolutely choc-full of computer-based resources to complement the work you’re doing in the classroom. Try the website’s bingo game for a fast maths fix.

social

For some, revision is made infinitely better when it’s done with a friend. So thanks to these specially-selected social apps with a focus on maths, anyone who needs a helping hand when it comes to their studies can easily get one.

Take a look at some of these maths-based forums and if you’re stuck on a question or two, maybe you’ll find the solution – and a maths ‘buddy’ for the future too.

Unabie A-level Forums

With a forum for maths, physics and more, this clean, easy to use and helpful app is both supportive and interactive. If you’re having trouble with a question, simply take a photo of it and post it on the site, where a friendly member of the community will help you out.

Maths Tools

A library of technology tools, lessons and activities, Maths Tools is a great, supportive community for anyone who’s not quite achieving the grades in maths they’d like.

The site’s authors regularly suggest useful books to read, as well as what’s hot in the world of maths. Take a look and see if you can’t glean some helpful advice while you’re on there.

Brilliant.org

Learn from like-minded people with Brilliant.org, an app that offers a fun way to hone your problem-solving skills in maths and science.

You can take quizzes and solve problems from easy to very difficult, as well as participate in chats with a supportive community.

practical

Every now and then you’ll want to push any ‘gimmicky’ maths apps to one side and instead just focus on the practical. Well, we’ve got just the thing for you in this section. From online algebra solvers to A-Level course material, you’ll find some useful bits and pieces here.

Mal Math

A problem solver with step-by-step description and graph view, this free app also works offline. Helping you solve integrals, derivatives, algebra and more, it’s ideal for GCSE or A-Level students who want to fine-tune their skills.

Online Algebra Solver

Now, we don’t condone that you use this in place of actually working out a problem on your own – you’ll struggle to use it in an exam without getting ejected from the room and disqualified, anyway – but it’s a great tool nonetheless.

Helping you check your answers to give you the assurance that you’re on the right tracks, this site might just save you lots of time and trouble.

A-Level Course Material

Studying for your a ‘levels? You’ll definitely want to check out this site. It offers chapters on a tonne of maths-based principles and makes for some interesting reading at the very least. Less a tool or app and more a handy portal to some great reading material, take a look if you have a spare hour or two.

Math.com

While it’s a US website, math.com offers all sorts of practical maths tools. From calculators to formulas, tables and converters, you’ll find a load of good stuff here. Make sure you check it out, whatever stage you are up to with your maths.

PhysicalsandMathsTutor.com

A website containing past maths papers and tests, PhysicsandMathsTutor.com has been set up by – you guessed it – a physics and maths tutor. A great resource for anyone taking either subject, the site also combines a handy FAQ section.

The Student Rooms’ Maths Revision Notes

Head to the StudentRoom.co.uk, which is a handy forum in itself but also includes some perfect maths-focused resources you’ll love. Find a maths topic via a long list of them on the site and you’ll be presented with a link to a convenient page featuring revision notes.

A-Level Maths Core

Available from iTunes, this app is perfect for those taking the A-Level Core 1 exam. Comprising revision chapters, quizzes and practical exercises, this regularly-updated app comes with all sorts of valuable interactive material.

online

Test yourself ahead of an exam with these useful apps and websites. Each one is designed to have you feeling calm and confident before your most important exam – maths.

Take a look today and download some of the free papers available on the sites below.

MathsCard

The clever folks at Loughborough University have devised this iTunes app for AS Level and A-Level maths students. The free app contains hundreds of examples of pure maths formulae, along with graphs and diagrams.

Based on the award-winning mathscard fold-out formulae sheet, the app is designed to help students with their maths revision, wherever they are. Such is the power of the Internet that you can even do this on the train or bus home from class.

Swot up on everything from vectors to numerical methods, circle and coordinate geometry, sequences and series, algebra and graphs.

GCSE Maths Revision Pages

Click here for access to useful exam paper demos. The subscription-based service includes three types of exam paper, offering hints and solutions for each question. The site is set up so that randomly generated links to similar questions on supported papers pop up to give you the confidence you need to soldier on through the rest of your revision.

To help you further, the papers are marked with encouraging feedback too. If you need to revise, you’ve found the right place to do so via this ‘maths crazy’ GCSE revision website. For a similarly useful resource, check out the aforementioned PhysicsandMathsTutor.com.

StudyMaths.co.uk

Head to StudyMaths.co.uk and what you’ll get is a useful resource for those about to take GCSE Maths. The site includes everything from a revision notes section to tutorials covering key GCSE maths topics, worksheets and more.

Practise your skills and collect StudyPoints, thanks to handy interactive maths ‘workouts’. There’s also some fun games to play on your own or with friends – you really won’t feel like you’re learning at all when you tap into some of the great features seen on this website.

Year 11 Maths Test

For those getting ready for their GCSEs, this year 11-friendly site pulls together a list of maths-based topics featuring questions under each section.

See how much you know by clicking on a section and answering the corresponding question. Try it on your own or with friends and enjoy a confidence boost ahead of your all-important maths exam.

Conquer Maths

Via ConquerMaths, you can access hundreds of free lessons and tests, as well as video content and more. A proven and effective way for anyone to learn maths, the site offers a free trial for those interested in polishing their maths skills.

Enjoy everything from video lessons to fun activities and tests via adaptive questions that will keep your unique skillset and abilities in mind.

GCSE Maths Revision Questions

This one’s pretty self-explanatory and we bet it’ll fast become your new favourite educational app. Get the results you need in your maths revision by trying this new and revised app today.

Helping you turn your spare time into valuable revision, this app complies with leading UK exam boards to help you feel confident you’re doing the right thing towards your learning.

You can search tests by topic, question type and difficulty to tailor tests to your own needs. Begin with 250 free questions and add more whenever you like – there are 1000+ available per subject!

Collins Revision Apps

Revision apps don’t get much better than these. Giving you the opportunity to revise GCSE maths anywhere, these apps are suitable for the iPhone, iPod Touch and Android from Collins Education.

Helping you to identify trouble areas and suggest further studies, there are also full video tutorials as well as real-life examples. Each will help you revise and practise, as well as progress and get the exam results you’re hoping to achieve.

Each app has been designed to focus on a different GCSE maths topic, covering numbers, statistics, geometry and algebra.

 

visually

While paper-based exams are still the norm when it comes to displaying your knowledge of a subject, there’s a host of ways we can actually retain the information in the first instance.

The fact is, people respond to different methods of learning. While some will like straightforward tests, as featured on sites like PhysicsandMathsTutor.com, others will prefer something more visual when it comes to learning. There’s lots of evidence to suggest that visual-based educational methods – such as taking in facts by watching a video  – is the best way to learn. With that in mind, take a look at this video-based tool we spotted online to help you ace those exams:

BBC GCSE Bitesize Videos

If you’re paying attention (why, thank you!), you’ll know we talked about the BBC’s GCSE Bitesize programme earlier in this guide. Well, we thought we’d alert you now to the site’s video content too.

The videos are split into a number of topics, from mathematical skills like problem solving and reasoning to handling data like graphs and charts. A great free resource, it’s absolutely invaluable for anyone currently getting stuck into maths revision.

And Finally…

When it comes to exams, the very best thing you can do is prepare. Remember that old adage: fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Well, it’s true – and it’s why we’re bringing you some more apps to help keep you on the straight and narrow when it comes to your maths revision.

iStudyAlarm

Got an iPhone or iPad? You’ll definitely want to make use of the iStudyAlarm, which helps you stay focused at all times.

Research shows that studying in 20-minute intervals before taking a 5-minute brain break is the best thing you can do to boost your learning and memory.

It’s easy to use the iStudyAlarm, too. Simply tap the app and the timer will go off after 20 minutes, prompting you to spend two minutes revising what you have just learned. Give it a go and see if it’ll make you more productive.

Exam Buddy

Not got a physical exam buddy? Try a virtual one thanks to this app. The ultimate revision tool, the app will help you revise for just about any exam in an engaging way.

What’s more, all of your notes will be available in the easy to access app. You can make your own maths-based quizzes and email them to friends, and cut and paste from documents and websites. You can also add diagrams, photographs and illustrations.

Evernote

Need somewhere to store your notes and workings out? Evernote should be your go-to app; you can even use it on your PC or laptop.

Helping you get effortlessly organised, the app allows you to sync notes with all your devices, as well as put together checklists and research in one place.

Are you planning on using the tools featured in this guide as complementary learning aids on top of what you’re taking in at school? Or perhaps you simply see these sites and apps as a great way to brush up on skills once learned in the classroom? Either way, there’s plenty of inspiration here for those who struggle with the subject to those fortunate few who can work out complicated sums without a calculator. Start today and who knows where you’ll be in just a few short months?

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