7 Reasons Why Students Underachieve In Maths

Here is a summary of our GCSE results, as a whole:

gcse maths results uk

As you can see, approximately 40% of students fail the subject altogether. 50% of students get an average C/B grade and only 10% score a top A/A* grade. This means 90% of students are underachieving in their maths exams.

So why do a large majority of students underperform in their maths exams? After working closely with a number of students in the past, I’ve identified 7 reason why:

  1. Students are not applying themselves at home: At school, students are engaged, working hard and making progress but as soon as they go home, revision and results both decline. This is due to a lack of guidance at home and not having the right resources. There are many resources out there on the market but most of them fail to provide clear instructions on how to boost one’s grade in GCSE maths. Almost every resource focus on just one aspect of revision; for instance, mastering a particular topic but do not consider the revision process as a whole. Remember, revision consists of several elements and each one of these have to be addressed accordingly to get the best results. My revision program, on the other hand, addresses all of these elements and provides a clear path on boosting one’s maths grade. He/she has to simply complete task 1, 2, 3 and so on and their result will improve.
  2. Students do not follow a scientific approach to their revision: This is crucial if students want to boost their GCSE maths grade. By a scientific approach, I mean students have to track their results as they go along and critically analyse whether they’re making progress or not. The only way a student can measure their progress is via results in practice papers. It’s very simple. If results in past papers improve, they’re making progress. If they don’t improve or they go down, they’re falling behind. There has to be a stronger focus on past papers because this is the only way we can determine a student’s progress.
  3. Students partake in inefficient revision activities: Writing notes from a large textbook is the most inefficient activity a student can partake in and it has virtually zero impact on results. Why? Because it can take you hours to write notes on a section in a revision guide yet you only retain 10% of what you’ve just written. It’s only when you read over the section a second time around, it begins to stick. This is highly inefficient. Students spend too much time on writing notes without dedicating as much time to the application-side of revision. It’s only through application, students will identify their weaknesses, rectify them and therefore, grades will improve. In my revision program, I rewrote the entire syllabus in note-form so students don’t have to worry about taking notes. They just have to read over it and thus, they’ll immediately cut their revision time in half. This will allow them to dedicate more time to the areas that will directly improve their results – past papers and review.
  4. Students are not reviewing their work: At present, students are not reviewing their past papers as much. Answering a past paper without marking it is as beneficial as not doing the past paper in the first place. Why? Because students will never know where they went wrong. If they don’t know where they go wrong, how will they ever address their weaknesses? Consider this scenario. If I gave a student 10 past papers to complete, one after the other, without spending any time on reviewing their work, what will happen? He/she will get the same result in every paper. Hence, no progress. This is because, after each paper, they did not spend any time identifying and rectifying their mistakes. This is why I feel reviewing your work is more important than completing the past papers themselves. Students should review their own papers. They should not leave this duty to their teacher or parent. They must see, first hand, where they’re going wrong and why.
  5. Students do not know how to revise for multiple exams: In this day and age, it is unlikely for a student to take a single maths exam. They have many other GCSE exams to revise for. As students don’t know how to balance-out revision, results decline across the board. Obviously other exams have affected the validity of my program in the past because it was geared towards students taking a single maths exam but I recently added a bonus guide to my program on ‘How To Maximise Your Result in Every GCSE Exam’. This guide contains a set of guidelines for students to follow in order to balance-out revision. Students have to follow them and their results will improve across the board.
  6. Students are focusing too much on the negative aspect of revision: There is no doubt about it. Revision is a tedious process. Students have to do the ‘nitty gritty’ in order to boost results. If they don’t, results will not improve. It’s important not to ‘glamorise’ revision because students will gravitate towards this belief. They feel revision should be fun or they will not bother to do it. How do we overcome the tedious nature of revision? The simple answer is we can’t but what we can do is stress the importance or the euphoria of good results. For instance, how would you feel if you achieved an ‘A’ grade in maths? What would it lead to? Eligibility to study A-levels or get a specific job? In my program, I provide a number of motivational techniques I used to get through revision with ease during my school days. We already know that the theory section of my program is written in note-form and that the student does not have to take any notes themselves. This will immediately cut their revision time in half so they can spend time doing other things they enjoy. By giving away all of the above in my program, students will see why revision does not necessarily have to be a painful experience.
  7. Students are simply confused: I get asked frequently, “Jeevan, how shall I revise? What is the best resource to use?” There are far too many resources out there: YouTube, revision websites, CGP textbooks, MathsWatch etc. ‘They’ say the more resources, the better. I totally disagree. Too many resources are not good for the student. It only causes confusion and confusion leads to poor results. What students need is a simple resource to refer to when learning a new concept or answering past paper questions. That’s why I created: GCSE Maths in Four Weeks. I gathered all the information you need to achieve a top grade in GCSE maths, condensed it right down and presented it in a way which is easy to read and digest. A student simply has to follow it and their maths results are guaranteed to improve. The danger with these other resources (YouTube, revision guides, MathsWatch) is there is little application on the student’s part. Reading and watching videos endlessly does not lead to better results. Continuous application through the use of a pen and paper does.