What are the important formulas to remember at GCSE level.

(26 Posts)
ihatethecold Fri 14-Mar-14 17:54:58

My DS needs to revise for a class test in maths.

I am going to write down on a big sheet of paper and stick to his wall all the important formulas.
To help them sink in to his Xbox addled brain.

What formulas do you think I should be including?

Thanks, I think my brain has given up,the ghost atm, I could sleep for England right now.

reddidi Fri 14-Mar-14 18:44:20

No idea what the test might include, but in the GCSE exam paper they are given a formula sheet with most of them.

ihatethecold Fri 14-Mar-14 18:47:51

Thanks, he has written a load down , he is currently year 9.
I will be printing off those links .

Daisyjane12 Fri 14-Mar-14 19:34:47

The formulas are normally at the front of the exam paper

wanderings Fri 14-Mar-14 19:39:58

Many of the more advanced formulae are given at the front, yes. But there are many others which are considered so fundamental that they are not listed at all! Some pupils make the mistake of thinking "I've got the sheet", but there are many others, such as:

Area of circle = pi r squared
Circumference of circle
Area of triangle
Area of rectangle
Area of parallelogram
Volume of cone or pyramid
Volume of cuboid

These, the pupil will have to know by heart.

He should know what he needs to know. They should be in his maths books.

Much better if he writes them down big. People remember more if they are actively engaged in revision, which includes writing it out.

VelmaD Fri 14-Mar-14 19:44:33

They will be given a version of the trig ratios and rules - but need to be confident in manipulating them if they need to find an angle not a length for example. They will also need Pythagoras theory (and again be able to make a the subject not c etc) and some revision of the quadratic formula could be good, so they can apply it as it can be a tricky one.

All the areas and volumes ones are handy to know too - they aren't always given at the front of the papers.

ihatethecold Fri 14-Mar-14 20:08:21

You lot are so clever!

reddidi Sat 15-Mar-14 00:05:09

No, they don't get the fundamental trig rules (sine = opposite / hypotenuse etc.) and need to learn these (SOHCAHTOA). They do however get the volume of a cone and area of a triangle - refer to the sheet I linked.

Other things that need learning and are suitable for a revision sheet or flash cards if you like that sort of thing are the six circle theorems, a² - b² = (a + b)(a - b), the additition and multiplication rules in probability... can't think of any more atm

richmal Sat 15-Mar-14 10:39:41

There is a Letts book called something like A* GCSE in a week. (The only problem I can see in getting it for a teenager is they may think they can leave all revision to a week before the exam). But going through something like that I would think better than memorising formulae.

Logg1e Sat 15-Mar-14 15:05:22

I think it's admirable that you want to support him, but I don't think this is a good way of going about it.

MagratGarlik Sat 15-Mar-14 23:55:34

If you write out the formulae for him and stick them to his wall, you can be guaranteed he will not learn them, or even look at them. You need to find a way to actively engage him in learning. A typical example might be working through material together (with you there more for support than outright teaching), but getting him to take responsibility for looking up the bits he doesn't understand.

Maths, once understood comes with practice. I would equate it to riding a bike - once you know how to do it, the next stage to become really good is to practice it lots of times, until the skill feels natural.

ihatethecold Sun 16-Mar-14 06:59:33

He has done the sheet himself.
He was also interested in the ones he may have missed out that I read from this thread.
Which for him is unusual.

When you say you don't think this is useful log1e
You actually don't say what would be,so you comment is neither.

He hasn't started his gcse's yet but we feel he needs to know these formulas first to assist him in the future.

He seemes to have struggled this year as the work has git more complicated.

ihatethecold Sun 16-Mar-14 07:01:36

Got not git!

Logg1e Sun 16-Mar-14 07:22:10

I'm not sure what you mean, my comment is neither what nor what?

Logg1e Sun 16-Mar-14 07:24:27

Oh, I get it, probably an autocorrect of "isn't either"!

I don't believe that success in mathematics is a case of memorising formulae (even though the formulae sheet is on it's way out).

Oh, I thought that he was doing gcse early or something.

You are doing it the wrong way round. The best way to learn maths is to learn from first principles - to derive the formula so you can see where they came from. Two good reasons for that:

if you forget them, you can work out where they came from.

It means that you can become a mathematician rather than someone who can stick numbers into a formula like a sausage machine, which may just about work for gcse but won't work for a level or maths competitions.

Reading though that he is struggling this year, it's much better to spend time getting him confident on this years work. Maths is like building and if you build onto crumbly foundations it doesn't work.

Which areas has he been struggling with?

MagratGarlik Sun 16-Mar-14 08:06:50

It's good he is doing it himself, in your OP you stated that, "I am going to write down on a big sheet of paper and stick to his wall" and, "which ones should I be including"

Practice using and manipulating the formulae is how they will stick.

ihatethecold Sun 16-Mar-14 09:17:41

I did write that I would do it, but he just got on with it.

He is struggling with algebra. , I know most maths is algebra!
Not 100% sure which part he struggles with because my DH , his dad helps him more than me.

I'm lost when I look at what he has to do. I don't know where to start so I usually use his mymaths website plus bbc bitesize.

I can't explain it to him though.

When I was at school, I could do algebra, it made sense.
Not any more.

He is down for extra maths after school when he starts his GCSE's. .

There is a lot of maths that isn't algebra smile

If you have an ipad he might find app 'dragonbox' helpful. It doesn't look too much like algebra to start with on the face of it, but it follows the strict rules of it and does eventually become more familiar.

richmal Sun 16-Mar-14 09:30:31

I agree with Kitten; it is much better to learn "why" rather than "what". I speak as someone who spent years being bored by learning formulae, using any memory techniques I could.

Now I come to teaching my dd I always try to explain things so she has the background of understanding. It is also more interesting.

If he is writing out formulae he obviously has the interest to work on maths, as well as initiative. Has he tried Khan Academy? That does explanations followed by examples to try.

MostWicked Sun 16-Mar-14 10:36:44

Memorising formulae was invaluable to me when I did Maths and Statistics O'levels (I got As). Yes I understood how to use them, but much of my revision was about memorising details like this.

But learning them in advance is like learning a list of French words with no idea what they mean.

ihatethecold Sun 16-Mar-14 17:49:47

It's not in advance. He has been using these formulas for the past year.
I just want them to sink in.
A bit like times tables at primary school!

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