# How to handle level 9 questions like a pro – a guide to the harder questions on GCSE maths past papers part 1

The last few questions in the exam are HARD…if you haven’t done your prep.

The level 9 questions are definitely doable and in this article I will share some tips with you on how to approach them and maybe even enjoy the challenge of solving them.

The reason that the level 8 and level 9 questions are different and appear more difficult is they involve a slightly different way of thinking and an in depth knowledge of the maths topics involved.

If your revision has been inconsistent or only focused on a few topics, you will struggle with the last quarter of the exam.

If you have not practised enough problem solving questions, you will also find the level 8 and level 9 questions harder than they are.

Here is the last question on the June 2019, non calculator paper:

Angle x is acute

Cos x = sin 60 x tan 30

Calculate the size of angle x.

Before I tell you how to do this question, I’m going to share a few hints and tips about approaching this:

Whenever you see trig come up in a  non-calculator paper, it is very likely that you will need to use the common values of trig angles. I have put a table here along with a full list of maths facts you need to know off by heart.

That’s exactly the case in this question.

The second point is that the way the question is written, if you haven’t learnt common trig values and understand how surds work, this question will throw you off.

sin 60 x tan 30 looks very scary if you are inexperienced with trig.

Level 8 and 9 questions are very much ‘Easy when you know how’ ‘Super scary if you don’t’.