# How to do an AQA GCSE Maths Past Paper

If you are doing AQA maths GCSE and want to improve your grade massively you need 2 things:

– Excellent subject knowledge

– Brilliant exam technique

Here I’m going to cover exam technique.

I’m going to start with the Higher Non-Calculator paper, find it here.

You’ll find that these exams usually follow the same format:

Questions 1 to 4: Multiple choice, easy, but also easy to slip up if you’re rushing or stressed.

Questions 5 to 14: Fairly simple, big chunky marks, easy if you’ve put the work in.

Questions 15 to 20: Generally involve a bit more problem solving, tests deeper knowledge of maths.

Questions 21 to the end: Level 8/9 questions, I will show you how to master these in due course.

–> Exam TIP: Before you start your exam, have a quick read through every page. Put a small dot in pencil next to any question that you feel you might struggle with. Smile when you see one you think will be manageable.

It literally says: Here are 2 right angled triangles. Circle the correct value of y.

Say what?

When I read this question and if I was doing this exam for fun, I would be tempted to write something like ‘y could be anything’.

But, I’m assuming they meant to also add in something like: Triangle 2 is an enlargement of triangle 1.

So yes, this question is to do with the topic of enlargement. I personally think it’s ambiguous and maybe they are trying to throw you off at the first question.

If that happens in your real exam: Leave it and come back to it later when you’ve completed some questions as you will be in a better frame of mind and find it easier to spot the patterns in the numbers.

In this case if we look at the 2 lengths of the bases of the triangles, you can see it increases from 10 to 15. This means that triangle 1 is 2/3 the size of triangle 2.

10 divided by 2 = 5

5 multiplied by 3 = 15.

ALWAYS MULTIPLY OR DIVIDE.

So, this means the other side which is 6 on the smaller triangle can be calculated as:

6 divided by 2 = 3.

3 multiplied by 3 = 9.

If you found this question confusing or are unsure how to enlarge numbers with fractions you need to practice the following topics:

– Fractions

– Multiplying fractions

– Percentages

– Times tables

Question 2:

Work out the value of (1 and 2/3) ^2

The options they give you are very tricksy, particularly if you are rushing or stressed out.

Be careful to square the entire fraction and not just the 2/3 part!

Change the fraction to a top heavy fraction: 5/3

and then square the top and bottom numbers: 25/9

Change back to a mixed number and the answer you get should be 2 and 7/9.

Practise your fractions and times tables if you found this question confusing.

Also learn the first 20 square numbers by heart: