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January 18th, 2014, 04:49 PM   #1
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Maths GCSE in less than a year?

Hey there.

Well, I'm in a bit of tough situation, and one that's really starting to make me anxious.

Bit of background, first. I'm from the UK, 18 years old (19 this June) and have been home-schooled for pretty much all of my primary and secondary school life, right up until I started college at 16. I use the term home-schooled liberally, because I wasn't really schooled anything. Long story short, here I am studying a BTEC in Creative Media at college with no GCSEs to my name except an English (which I'd say is my strongest subject - I was predicted an A-A* on it, though got a B because I ran out of time in the exam).

I'm now studying my Maths GCSE, and I've only just begun to realise that I'm halfway through it already and no closer to getting the grade that I want. I could give all sorts of drivel on why this is, but the short answer is that I've been wasting time. Maths is a subject that's always made me anxious, and coupled with the rest of the coursework on my course, in addition to the knowledge that I had just a year to work my way to a level that it takes most students my age years to, I haven't really done much of it.

The problem is, I want to not only pass, but achieve an A/A*. Given all that I've just posted, I understand this might be a laughable notion by now. The problem is, I wouldn't settle for anything else: I know I can do it, and I want to do it, so badly.

To be honest, I'm not crap at Maths - this year has taught me that, if nothing else. I consider myself fairly intelligent, and don't generally have trouble grasping concepts. What's really worrying me is the time that I've now got to put my head down, and start doing just that. So here's my question.

Based on other students' experiences with the content of the GCSE - and teachers' experience with teaching it - would it be realistic of me to build up to from what is effectively an E-grade level to an A* grade, in the four months or so that I have - for May?

Also, a separate, related question - what's the difference between the Foundation-tier level of the GCSE and the Higher-tier, as far as content goes? That is, once I've reached the highest grade on a Foundation-tier level, assuming I can, roughly how much more work is left to go from Foundation to Higher-tier? Is the content of the Higher Tier course equal to how much there is on Foundation, or is it a lot less - a little bit more built onto Foundation-tier knowledge?

PS. The course is an Edexcel one.

Thanks in advance. I would really really appreciate some honest, informative answers.
Hashim
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May 31st, 2014, 12:47 PM   #2
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Hi Hashim,

I'd advise you not to rush your learning and take your time.

Give yourself another year if required. You're still pretty young.

I remember two students on television (one 31 and the other 33), both very happy as they had successfully completed their maths A level courses, both achieving A grades. Their dream was to work at CERN, therefore they had to complete their maths A Levels.

You know, they were over the moon. You can count yourself lucky, as you're 12 years younger than the guy who was 31.

There's no need to panic. Whatever you do, enjoy it. Enjoy the journey and do things in your own time. Even if you were to get your A Level certificate, let's say at 25 - that would still be a huge achievement.

Rome wasn't built in a day.

By the way, the first A Level books (C1 and C2) are practically maths GCSE books, so you have plenty of time ahead of you.

Last edited by perfect_world; May 31st, 2014 at 12:51 PM.
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June 23rd, 2014, 08:16 AM   #3
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I went from an E grade to doing Practically A* questions all by myself in 3 weeks.
1. use A-level Maths Revision, GCSE Maths, SAT and IB Math Revision Videos from ExamSolutions to work through problems.
2. Download worksheets and go through it Math Worksheets | Free Printable Math Worksheets WORKSHEETS FREE GCSE Maths worksheets from GCSE Maths Tutor
3 .Do past paper after past paper
4. if you're really stuck get a private tutor
5. Its never to late to give up on a dream.
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June 25th, 2014, 12:06 PM   #4
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What are A* questions? Do A* questions exist?

Working on difficult questions is not the same as understanding difficult questions.

You can't become an A* student in the space of 3 weeks if you were previously getting E grades.

Sorry for being blunt.

I admire your enthusiasm, and I'll agree with your points, but your first sentence didn't sound very helpful.

I may pick up Degree material tomorrow and start working on it, but it doesn't mean I'll understand it properly.

Do not get too carried away.

Last edited by perfect_world; June 25th, 2014 at 12:12 PM.
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June 25th, 2014, 12:26 PM   #5
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Nevertheless, well done with your achievements and hard work.

Try using the word 'dreams' a little less to avoid putting pressure on yourself.

It sounds as though you're chasing after something up in the clouds.

Falling from the sky and hitting the ground is never pleasant.

Relax. Mathematics can get boring and repetitive. A job is a job.

Last edited by perfect_world; June 25th, 2014 at 12:34 PM.
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June 26th, 2014, 08:26 AM   #6
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There is nothing wrong with dreaming but then again someone told me you'll always get pessimistic people in life who tell you that it's impossible to do something. The reason i was an E grade student is because i was a lazy bugger, so I learned maths at home. GCSE at maths level is not hard to understand and yes it took me 3 weeks to do A star questions but i put hours of effort into it. Your negative thinking is whats holding you back. I read story on the quite a while ago about a guy named Joshua who was 20 years old or something Who got a U in AS then a C in A2 physics and then went on to study Theoretical Physics at Durham University after doing a foundation year at Loughborough university, he scored the highest marks across all the country just by persevering and not giving in. Ask yourself what do you want out of life and stop being a miserable Kunt.

Last edited by Buster; June 26th, 2014 at 08:41 AM.
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June 26th, 2014, 10:52 AM   #7
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You seemed to have been offended by what I had said.

Why is my 'negative' thinking holding me back? What was 'negative' about what I had said?

Mathematics has made be become more rational and skeptical. It helps me question my flawed beliefs. It has helped me become more composed and centered.

Mathematicians do not dream. Mathematicians observe natural laws. Mathematicians do not come up with mathematical rules, natural laws present themselves and mathematicians simply state the natural laws they have observed using mathematical language.

Mathematics is a branch of science and science is driven forward by skepticism.

Negativity is required in mathematics. Negativity is part of mathematics.

You may not like what is negative, but it cannot be ignored and sweeped under the carpet.

Our brains were hardwired so that we could make distinctions concerning dualisms (hot and cold, day and night, left and right, negative and positive), but philosophically speaking dualisms are mere illusions.

Positivism is an old and outdated philosophy. Being positive can't win you the lottery. It won't increase your chances of winning the lottery. An extremely 'negative' person will have the same chance of winning the lottery as a positive person. Their state of mind cannot affect their chances of winning the lottery.

Do not let mere perceptions and taboos alter your mode of rational thinking.

Einstein and artists shattered the positivist philosophy as they had discovered relativism. Enlightenment thinkers shattered the world of top to bottom heirarchies when they discovered atoms. There is no God that sits on a throne. There is no centre of the universe, like there is no centre to the surface of a sphere. All dualisms can be thought of as perceptions. There was a time when dualism once served us. It allowed us to survive as a species, as the ability to make distinctions was vital for our survival. But now we have evolved.

We can look beyond these divisions.

The possible would not exist without the impossible. The highs would not exist without the lows. The light would not exist without the dark. The I would not exist without the you. The he would not exist without the she. The left would not exist without the right.

Learn not to take people's opinions personally. Each and every individual has a way of seeing the world. All colours are part of the same light.

If you happen to get to the 'top', remember this: It doesn't make you better or worse than anyone else. It's all an illusion. Enjoy it and do not become too obsessed about getting to the 'top' or achieving 'dreams'. Relax and go with the natural flow of life.

Great reads:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Enlightenment

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positivism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relativism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dualism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skepticism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_law

Last edited by perfect_world; June 26th, 2014 at 11:49 AM.
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June 26th, 2014, 01:31 PM   #8
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What do you want out of life? (Try ignoring the marketing slogan)

Mmmm... Let me see... I want a big fat house with a big fat garden and a big fat car. I want a big fat salary. I want everyone to massage my big fat ego. I want a perfect wife and perfect children and perfect friends. I want perfect holidays too. These are the things I dream about every single day. I'm not really interested in learning anything about the universe or mathematics. I just want something out of life. I do mathematics because I want money and materials. I want to be better than everybody else. I actually have dreams about these things - because they cannot exist in the real world.

Or maybe I'll accept the fact that the universe isn't perfect and that the unpredictable can happen; sometimes luck may work for me or against me. Nothing is guaranteed. Maybe that way I'll be able to empathise with those who aren't as fortunate as I am. Maybe that way, when things don't go according to plan - I won't become too frustrated with those around me and start looking for people to blame due to a lack of success. Maybe that way, when the unexpected does happen I won't overreact - as the universe is unpredictable after all.

When I was a kid, I used to sleep beside the Argos catalogue. I had all these dreams - that never took place. One day I found out that they were only dreams. One day I found out that all the little toys that I had wanted weren't so important after all. What was important was the happiness that I could bring to other people's lives and the love they gave me in return. I had discovered what maturity really meant. I had discovered that I can live in peace and tranquility. I discovered that I could enjoy life.

Last edited by perfect_world; June 26th, 2014 at 02:04 PM.
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June 28th, 2014, 01:32 PM   #9
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We went from talking about Maths GCSE to this
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June 28th, 2014, 04:51 PM   #10
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Yes, it is funny.

To cut a long story short, my point was just to take your time and enjoy the journey. I see too many students getting obsessed about the whole situation. Some even break down after putting so much pressure on themselves to succeed. Some stopped doing mathematics altogether.

It's good to have ambitions, but avoid setting yourself such high expectations. And keep your ambitions to yourself to avoid getting yourself into trouble.

There'll be many distractions and obstacles along the journey, so it's always best to stay balanced as things won't always go according to plan.

Good luck!!!

If you don't manage to master mathematics in the space of a day, don't worry. Rome wasn't built in a day either!!

You get good at these things by doing them for years.

Last edited by perfect_world; June 28th, 2014 at 04:54 PM.
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