Preparation for Maths Equivalency Exam

1. What's in the Maths Equivalency Exam and should I sit Foundation or Higher?

The Maths equivalency exams and associated support courses are benchmarked on the Pearson Edexcel GCSE Maths (Specification 2015 first certification 2017)

What is the difference between GCSE foundation and higher maths Equivalency Exams?

Foundation Maths equivalency exam content – refer to pages 5-11 for a summary and page 3 for weightings. A less detailed summary of content outlined in the Maths equivalency test foundation guide. The foundation paper has max grade awarded is a 5 (B), and you’d need a higher number of correct answers than if you sat a higher paper. However, whilst some questions are present in both exams, there is a greater focus on number and ratio than the higher paper and the questions are easier. Those that are less confident generally choose to sit the Maths GCSE foundation exam.

Higher Maths equivalency exam content -refer to pages 12-20 for a summary and page 3 for weightings. A less detailed summary of content outlined in the Maths equivalency test higher guide. The higher paper gives grades from 3 – 9. These exams have some of the same questions as the foundation but have a greater focus on algebra, and  geometry and measure than foundation and include more difficult questions. Higher papers are generally sat but more confident students seeking the highest grades.

These are both 2-hour Non- Calculator Mathematics examinations. The topics covered, time allowed, range of questions types, difficulty, assessment objectives and weightings are the same as in a calculator exam. In addition, the strategies and methods used are similar, however the numbers tend to be easier to calculate.

Whilst the above provides a detailed outline of the examination content, it may prove simpler to follow the suggested revision books, as they thoroughly an accurately cover all examinable material. (See also practice exams)

Who should sit this GCSE Maths equivalency Exam?

You require a GCSE Maths equivalency for entry into a higher education courses that accept GCSE equivalencies (typically teacher training for QTS, midwifery and nursing).

Where can i sit the GCSE Maths equivalency Exam?

You can sit the exam in the exam centre, ONLINE or in school (conditions apply).

Need to sit GCSE Maths Equivalency in Birmingham?

From Thurso to Truro we have you covered. If your school can meet the Equivalency Test requirements it is possible to sit your exam in your supporting school.


2. Where can I find support?

  1. Purchase GCSE Maths Revision books NB Below are listed for your convenience. Any books supporting the current AQA specification will be fine, no bespoke special material is required. Books below can also be purchased as E-books and delivered within minutes.

These Maths revision books cover all examinable material and there is no need to spend more money on further resources. You can click on or copy and paste the ISBN links below. The books are inexpensive and essential to your successful preparation for the GCSE equivalency exam. (NB. available new or second hand online)

Foundation Mathematics Equivalency Exam

Higher Mathematics Equivalency Exam.

  1. Use the GCSE Mathematics Examination practice exams provided through the AQA links at the bottom of this page. These include relevant marking schemes for higher and foundation.
  2. Use BBC Bitesize GCSE Edexcel Maths. This includes revision materials, videos, tests, practice tests and useful links to improve your knowledge, understanding and skills of the assessment objectives.
  3. Coaching on how to best respond to each specific question can be found on You Tube.  This is extremely useful in developing your skills in successfully answering each question.  Eg. type in the search maths GCSE Edexcel foundation paper 1 (non-calculator) or higher paper. Note your exam is half an hour longer and question number may not map perfectly.
  4. After you make an exam booking you will receive an invitation to a regular free online revision sessions. Note these sessions do not replace the above resources and should be seen as complementary to these resources.
  5. However, after reviewing the revision material you feel you require some support and /or you are short of time, it is advisable (although not compulsory), that you use one of our Maths revision courses. These are specifically designed to assist with the GCSE Maths Equivalency Exam. There are a variety of options using experienced teaching professionals who have successfully helped people like you. This is preferable to sitting an exam ill prepared and being unsuccessful.

Additional Online Revision Resources are Listed Below

Where can I find Maths Equivalency Exam Practice papers?

  • The recommended revision books above include practice maths exams with marking schemes.
  • Past Edexcel GCSE Maths examination papers with the marking schemes going back to 2017 are available here. (labelled F for Foundation and H for Higher)
  • Although the length of these exams is shorter, the content, time allowed per mark and difficulty are similar. Both the non-calculator and calculator exams will provide useful practice (the numbers tend work out neater in the non-calculator exams). It is prudent to do some practice with the same strategies and methods without the calculator (non- calculator exams) before sitting your 2-hour non calculator maths equivalency test.


3. What are the Maths Equivalency Exam Grades?

How is the Mathematics Equivalency Exam Graded?

The 2-hour Foundation and Higher mathematics equivalency exams have 100 marks available in 26 to 28 questions, covering the material outlined in the guide and supported by the suggested revision books.

The Foundation Maths Equivalency Exam Grades 

The foundation equivalency qualification will be graded and certified on a scale of 1-5.

Foundation Tier Maths Equivalency Exam Grade Boundaries are as follows:

  • Grade 4 (55% to 74%) Grade 5 (75% to 100%)

The Higher Maths Equivalency Exam Grades

The equivalency qualification will be graded and certified on a scale of 4-9.

Higher Tier Maths Equivalency Grade Boundaries are as follows:

  • Grade 4 (25 to 34%)   9 mark band 25 to 34 marks inclusive
  • Grade 5 (35 to 43%)   9 mark band 35 to 43 marks inclusive
  • Grade 6 (44 to 54%) 11 mark band 44 to 54 marks inclusive
  • Grade 7 (55 to 68%) 14 mark band 55 to 68 marks inclusive
  • Grade 8 (69 to 82%) 14 mark band 69 to 82 marks inclusive
  • Grade 9 (83 to 100%) 18 mark band 83 to 100 marks inclusive

The Previous Paper Equivalency Grade Boundaries

For those who have already been studying the past intermediate book, the exam provides a similar challenge and we will continue to offer you this exam throughout 2020. You receive the same Equivalency Certificate.

Maths Equivalency GCSE Grade Boundaries (OLD vs NEW GCSE grades)
Higher Paper C -,C, C+ (all are 4)(41-55) / B-,B, (5) B+(6)(56-70)/ A-, A, A+,(7); (71-85) / A*-, A* (8) A*+, (9) (86-100) 
Foundation Paper – B-, B, B+(5)

Highest grade on this Foundation Maths Equivalency Exam is a B

75/100 (75%)
Grade C (4) 55/100 (55%)

When will I get my  GCSE Maths equivalency Exam Results?

Results are returned to you within 10 working days via email (NEED IT SOONER – check out our FAST TRACK within 48 hrs service). You will receive an official A* Star GCSE Maths Equivalency Certificate sent to the address you registered on this website, with an anti-fraud personalised security code directly linked to your results.

A* Star Equivalency Testing has been the leader in delivering Equivalency Tests since 2002 and this Maths equivalency exam and certificate is accepted by most training providers. However, as there are hundreds of existing providers, new providers and policies can be subject to change, we advise candidates to always check with their proposed provider as we do not offer any refunds.

The Day of the Maths Equivalency Exam
Please get to venue 20 mins before to register and bring Photo ID (Passport or License) to  present before gaining access to the Maths equivalency examination room.

Please be advised that the Maths equivalency exam paper remains the property of A*Star Equivalency Testing. Candidates are not permitted to take their exam paper, pictures of or photocopies of the paper. And as such by agreeing to our terms and conditions you agree to the above.

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