The solution is in the question

The good news is that if you know what you’re looking for, the method is usually hidden in the question – or at least a clue to the method, that will help you to get started. But to read the clues, you need to know the lingo. And that means knowing all of the maths vocabulary that might come up on the GCSE. You need to know your expressions from your terms, and your solutions from your evaluations.

What follows is an overview of some of the key vocabulary needed for GCSE Maths, broken down into topics. 


  • Positive, negative, integer, decimal, fraction, proper fraction, improper fraction, mixed number
  • equal to, greater than, less than, greater than or equal to, less than or equal to
  • operation, inverse operation, simplify
  • reciprocal, prime number, factor, factorisation, common factor, multiple, common multiple
  • power, root, square, cube, indices, index notation, standard form, terminating decimal, recurring decimal
  • ratio, percentage
  • significant figures, decimal place, rounding


  • algebraic, expression, equation, inequality, formula, term, factor
  • evaluate, solve, substitute, simplify, manipulate
  • like terms, expanding, factorising, rearranging, subject of equation, equivalent
  • difference of squares, surd, identity, function
  • reciprocal, sequence, triangular number, nth term
  • coordinates, quadrant, gradient, intercept, roots, turning points, quadratic, linear, cubic


  • point, line, vertex (vertices), edge, plane, face, surface
  • centre, radius, diameter, chord, arc, circumference, tangent, sector, segment
  • parallel line, perpendicular line, right angle, bisector, alternate angle, corresponding angle
  • polygon, regular polygon, quadrilateral, equilateral triangle, isosceles triangle
  • square, rectangle, parallelogram, trapezium, kite, rhombus
  • cube, cuboid, prism, cylinder, pyramid, cone, sphere
  • reflective symmetry, rotational symmetry, congruence, similarity, translation, enlargement, scale factor
  • line segment, bearing, scale, vector


  • outcome, frequency, frequency tree, probability scale, random, fair, expected frequency


  • sample, sampling, distribution, population
  • frequency table, bar chart, pie chart, pictogram, scatter graph
  • discrete data, continuous data, grouped data, univariate data, bivariate data
  • mean, median, mode, modal class, range, outliers

If you know what all of these words mean – really know, well enough to be able to explain it to a friend and give an example – then you’re well on the way to a top grade in your Maths GCSE. And remember, if you or your child need help, that’s what we’re here for! Good luck! 

You may also be interested in...

English Placement Test

English Placement Test

English as a Second Language Placement Test Answer Sheet Please enter your name and today's date, and then enter your answers to the multiple choice questions. You do not have to complete the entire test. When you start to find the questions too hard, please stop...

Are Schools the Only Way?

Are Schools the Only Way?

Overcrowded classrooms, staff shortages, social media, exam stress and many other pressures are piling up for all children, and for some the pile is toppling and real harm is being done to their mental health.

Attention vs Will

Attention vs Will

Have you ever wondered why it is that many children can play video games for hours on end, but they can’t seem to concentrate or focus at school even for a minute? As parents there is perhaps nothing more important than teaching your children how to be in control of their own attention. Without the willpower to control their attention, they are at the mercy of external influences. With it, they are the masters of their own destinies.

Ready to try us for FREE?

Can't call right now? Email us instead, or request your free taster using our quick online form.