Maths questions

Don't forget to take a ruler and scientific calculator into the exam.

Maths questions often start with the command word calculate. You need to use numbers given in the question to work out the answer.

When an answer to a maths question is marked:

  • full marks are given for the right answer
  • marks may be given for working, including substitution and rearrangement
  • calculation errors carried forward are worked through to give credit for later working
curriculum-key-fact
Always show working in calculation questions. You can get marks for correct working, even if the answer is wrong.

Take extra care when converting between units.

Make sure you give answers to a suitable number of significant figures.

Maths questions might ask you to plot or complete a graph or table. When you draw a graph, make sure you:

  • plot each point accurately
  • draw a best fit straight line or curve, where appropriate

You may be given a grid with axes labelled and scales already given. Sometimes you may be given an empty grid for you to supply your own axes. When you do this:

  • put the independent variable on the x-axis and the dependent variable on the y-axis
  • choose even scales and make sure that the points cover at least half the given grid
  • label the axes with their quantity and unit, eg time (s)

Sample question 1 - Foundation

Question

Use the information from the table to complete the bar chart.

Dissolved ionMass in mg per dm3
Cl-250
Na+200
NO3-40
Bar graph of mass of dissolved ion

[1 mark]

This question is AQA material which is reproduced by permission of AQA.

Draw a bar in the empty gap for NO3-, to 40. [1]

Sample question 2 - Foundation

Question

A 200 g sample of seawater contains 7 g of salt.

Calculate the percentage of salt in the seawater. [2 marks]

This question has been written by a Bitesize consultant as a suggestion to the type of question that may appear in an exam paper.

Percentage of salt = \frac{7 \ g}{200 \ g} \times 100 [1]

= 7% [1]

Sample question 3 - Higher

Question

The table shows the percentages of copper that can be obtained from the copper ore in two different mines.

MinePercentage of copper in ore
A30
B8

Which contains more copper, 1500 kg of ore from mine A or 6000 kg of ore from mine B?

Show your working. [3 marks]

This question has been written by a Bitesize consultant as a suggestion to the type of question that may appear in an exam paper.

Mass of copper from mine A = \frac{30}{1000} \times 1500 \ kg

450 kg [1]

Mass of copper from mine B = \frac{8}{1000} \times 6000 \ kg

480 kg [1]

6000 kg of ore from mine B contains more copper. [1]

Sample question 4 - Higher

Question

A student is investigating where drinking water comes from in the UK. She finds data on different sources of water, expressed as a total of the water consumed by people living in the UK. What type of graph or chart would be the most appropriate for displaying the data? [1 mark]

This question has been written by a Bitesize consultant as a suggestion to the type of question that may appear in an exam paper.

Pie chart [1]