Robert Brooks

Leading Practitioner


GCSE Science Numeracy Questions

From doing a quick analysis of GCSE Edexcel core and additional science foundation past papers, around 20% of the marks link to numeracy, data, equations and calculations. This may be similar, more or less in other exam boards.

Why is this area important?

The average raw mark in Edexcel for June 2015 achieving a Grade C on the foundation core and additional papers was 32/60.

20% of 60 = 12 marks

Have you built time into your curriculum plan for your current Year 11s to ensure they have been taught how to tackle data handling, numeracy, equation and calculation type questions?

Guide students on how to complete the question. Perhaps create annotations on an actual exam question to show them how to answer it:

p2 calculation

Check that students know what the command words mean:


  • Dedicate time in the curriculum plan: Use numeracy exam questions linked to the lesson topic you are teaching.
  • Test students regularly: Use the Show My Homework quiz function to set multiple choice calculation quizzes and for testing knowledge on using the correct scientific units.
  • Check your specification: What are the requirements for your specification? Are there parts you can skip for your foundation tier students because they only appear on the higher paper?
  • Provide students with or get them to bring in calculators: If students are regularly using their smart phones as calculators in lessons, they may not get used to using a scientific calculator for their real exam.
  • Students must show their working and give the correct units!