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...

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.

Why Children Won’t Write

Why Children Won’t Write

Research shows again and again that support from parents at home from an early age is a key determiner of academic success, but what happens if things go wrong and your child resists help at home? Here are a few tips, distilled from over 15 years’​ experience working with children who’ve lost confidence.

February Wildwatch: The Power of Observation

February Wildwatch: The Power of Observation

At Exeter Tuition Centre our teaching team has been hand-picked for their sensitivity, empathy, dedication, joy of teaching, and insight into what it takes to offer an ideal education. In this Article, Andrew describes how we can all develop our powers of observation...

Ready to try us for FREE?

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