To make it clearer where students should demonstrate their knowledge and skills, from summer 2022, the statement ‘You must show your working’ will be applied consistently to questions worth 5 marks or more. Our approach to how students should respond to these questions has not changed, nor has the guidance in our specification or on the front cover of our question papers.
Since the first assessment of GCSE (9-1) Mathematics (J560), some exam questions have asked students to show working. As part of our continuous improvement, we have asked students to do this more often through the life of this qualification.
Showing working is beneficial for students, particularly if they cannot complete a task or if they make a small error. In such cases showing no working would lead to very few marks being awarded.
Most students already show working, even if the question doesn’t specifically ask them to, following the advice in the specification and on the front cover of the question paper.
From summer 2022, to help students demonstrate their knowledge and skills, the statement ‘You must show your working’ will be applied consistently to questions worth 5 marks or more.
The exception to this is questions that cannot be completed without working, where we won’t add the ’You must show your working’ statement. This includes questions that involve large amounts of algebraic manipulation, or where the command word used already carries an expectation that working should be given (for example, ‘Show that…’ or ‘Prove…’).
There is no change to questions worth 4 marks or fewer.
The guidance around command words has also not changed. This is available in our Exploring our question papers assessment guide and command word posters, which you can download from our website.
If you have any queries about this update, please call our Customer Support Centre on 01223 553998 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.