My Maths Challenge


I’m 5o.  I would say I’m rea­son­ably numer­ate but cer­tainly no great math­e­mati­cian. My 12 year-old daugh­ter has started ask­ing me for help with her Maths home­work and some­times I strug­gle and I have to resort to Google.

Will I be able to help her in 3 or 4 years time? How would I do if had to study Maths GCSE today? So I’ve set myself the chal­lenge of sit­ting Maths GCSE in June 2011 so that I can help my daugh­ter with her home­work and see if I could be a 51 year-old A star student!

I’ll use My Maths Blog to doc­u­ment the ups and downs of my chal­lenge. I aim to update the blog once or twice per week so you can see my progress. I also aim to pass on the most use­ful tips and links that I come across.

In this first week I’ll find out about:-

a) My daughter’s school’s exam board

b) Where I can sit the exam as a pri­vate student

c) The exam syllabus

I think I’ll need all the help I can get! So if you can give me any advice, know some great online resources (free!) or just want to share your maths expe­ri­ences please use “Leave a com­ment” (see below).


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6 Responses to My Maths Challenge

  1. oldmum says:

    I just did this as a 52 year old mum and sat Exex­cel Paper Two today. Just like you I have 11 and 12 year old daugh­ters and wanted to be able to add value to them and update my 36 year old qual­i­fi­ca­tions. I also did AQA Eng­lish a cou­ple of weeks ago. I am inter­ested in what sort of feed­back you are get­ting. The vast major­ity of peo­ple have really sneered at me. Why is this?

  2. admin says:

    Hi old­mum,

    How did you get on with Paper Two? Apart from this blog I’ve only told my fam­ily and obvi­ously they are sup­port­ive. Every­body that has com­mented on the blog has been pos­i­tive. How­ever, I expect I’ll get a few stares when I actu­ally sit the exams. I take my hat off to you for tak­ing Maths and Eng­lish.
    There has been a lot of spec­u­la­tion about exams get­ting eas­ier. My gut feel is that the exams are just as test­ing but because the per­for­mance of all pupils (not just the out­stand­ing ones) is now care­fully mea­sured, results have improved. What do you think?

  3. oldmum says:

    I found the non calu­la­tor paper a lot more straight­for­ward. When I sat my O lev­els in June 1975 there was no such thing as a calu­la­tor paper and all that tap­ping away in the mid­dle of an exam does not come easi­ily to me. I dont think exams are eas­ier at all, the invig­i­la­tors are so much stricter, we were told that if we did not declare any­thing we had apart from rulers and pro­tac­tors etc we wouild be dis­qual­i­fied and you cant even pick any­thing up you drop on the floor. I think tech­nique is very impor­tant today, the ques­tions are all two or three step and require very care­ful read­ing. I think I was on a learn­ing curve and did not quite peak in time so I am already inves­ti­gat­ing retakes in Novem­ber, but as every­one seemed to have found the first paper hard I might have scraped a C. Like you I am doing the same boards as my daugh­ters so I can get there before them! But I have met with a lot of neg­a­tive com­ments. oldmum

  4. We are a group of vol­un­teers and start­ing a new ini­tia­tive in a com­mu­nity. Your blog pro­vided us valu­able infor­ma­tion to work on. You have done a mar­vel­lous job!

  5. another old mum says:

    I am also 50 this com­ing year and try to do A level Maths and Fur­ther maths. My chil­dren 12 and 15 , I try to help them as well as try to improve myself and get a job hope­fully.
    One prob­lem , when I go to try to choose the sub­ject, there are some­thing call Maths Advance sub­sid­i­ang GCE , has to choose dif­fer­ent units, I am not sure whether the mymaths soft­ware has them , will you have any idea? or where can I find out what con­tent those MPC1 MS1A… con­tent are? I have peo­ple tell me bet­ter just do some­things sim­ple rather than go through all these, but I would like to keep my brain work­ing espe­cially after give my chil­dren 16 years of time, I want to have a dream of my own when they go to col­lege. I am still work­ing on get­ting course reg­is­tered , please any tips of where to find and what is impor­tant to pre­pared , thanks

    • admin says:

      Hi AOM

      I really don’t know any­thing about A level maths and I’d hate to give you wrong infor­ma­tion. I did find this link but I think you need an A level in logic and a degree in patience to under­stand it! AQA PDF I sug­gest pick­ing the brains of your chil­drens teach­ers and/or ring­ing one of the exam­in­ing bod­ies (I rang AQA and I found them to be very help­ful and patient) for advice. I really think you need to get the detailed infor­ma­tion you need from the “horse’s mouth”. There is a lot of infor­ma­tion about but lots of it is con­fus­ing plus the courses seem to change every year. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to give you any direct help but up until now I haven’t looked at A level or fur­ther maths at all. Good luck with your studies!

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