Maths GCSE. Recommendations requested for on-line providers

Written by David Carter on 23 May 2017

Hi. I'm new to the forum and would welcome your advice.  I have managed to get a long way in my career without having a GCSE in maths.  However, I now feel the time is right to go for it.  I want to do it quickly and on-line.  Can anyone recommend a provider or a route which might be suitable.








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Hilary Cooke

Submitted on 24 May, 2017 - 11:59

Hi David,

Welcome to the forum and I love your question! That's because I am so curious about what is behind it and if there is another question that is the real one :-) 

So to answer your stated question...there are lot of providers on-line so a bit of internet searching would unearth the right one for you. Have a look and choose one that you feel comfortable with in terms of time and cost and also what sort of learning community and support is offered that you like the look of. There are loads - really. Some offer GCSE certificates and some are awarding digital badges, so you might want to consider something like that instead / as well as a paper certificate - if the physical outcome is important to you.

The underlying question is more interesting - and probably says more about me than about you - but I'll float it anyway...

I am wondering (quietly to myself so I don't require an answer) why you really want to do it?  As you say, you have managed to get a long way without it, so what is the actual itch that needs scratching? 

Of course it may be practical because it is a gap in your CV that you need to fill in order to move your career on - fair enough and very logical.

Or, it may be a gap in your head that you think you need to fill in order to stop feeling "less than" - fair enough, and very psychological.

I only ask because I confess that I never ever managed a maths GCSE after several attempts at school and spent years feeling like a a bit of a thicko - because that's how I was "supposed" to feel for my lack of ability to toe the conventional line. (My school days were pre Sinclair and his enormous pocket calculators and involved log tables, slide rules and other instruments of torture to add to the general disgrace.)

Nowadays, I can take a P&L or balance sheet apart at 40 paces in a wide variety of commercial settings, create a set of killer stats or ratios in anything that interests me and have a PhD in something far more useful for earning a living. 

I know for me, that the uncomfortable feeling of not having achieved enough was my driver for doing more - and always will be.

So my point is - scratch away at the itch of further learning and education while you still have breath in your body - but scratch in the right place for you and for who you are. 

Good luck and happy searching (and scratching!)




Submitted on 24 May, 2017 - 16:28

Great question David and good answer Hilary.  I can't help on the provider David.  I echo Hilary's post.  It rings bells for me.  I also thought I was thick because my Maths teacher wasn't great.  Only three in my class/his class passed their exams and he retired early afterwards.  As a kid I felt like a failure.  It took me a long time to shake that limiting belief out of my head. That was despite being excellent at A levels stats which was part of another course I was doing.  I am also good at budgets, spreadsheets, interpreting data and other Maths based skills.

I did go and do my Maths again.  I passed after a year of evening classes.  For me, I needed to ask questions, challenge, understand and I needed the discipline of going every week so I couldn't have done it online. 

I did it for myself.  I don't even list anything below my professional qualifications on my CV anymore.  I did it to prove to myself that an underperforming teacher, who probably should not have been teaching or needed some help themselves, could not cast a cloud over me any longer.  I ticked a box, scratched the itch and can enjoy doing other things instead.  I still haven't completely cracked it despite lots of numerical reasoning tests which continue to open that experience in some small way despite it being years ago. 

I hope the sharing, helps you to decide what's best for you.  Good luck with making that decision and, if you go ahead, finding the best method/provider for you.



Submitted on 25 May, 2017 - 11:27

I asked my friend who is a maths consultant, but her field is primary education so she wasn't really able to help.  However, she did say that the exam/assessment itself will need to be formalised/supervised and is unlikely to be available online.  Local colleges offer exam/resit dates at different times of the year, so it might be worth registering to take the exam and then also asking the college about recommended online courses.


Submitted on 26 May, 2017 - 09:58

As a former maths teacher was interested to read this thread. My problem seems to be the other way round from what some have said. I did O and A level maths, did maths in my first year at university and as my main subject at teacher training college. I went on to teach maths for three years. At school I loved the traditional maths syllabus - algebra, calculus, Euclidean geometry. When I came to teach it I ended up teaching the modern maths syllabus - probability etc, which I didn't enjoy (was given bottom set third year in my probationary year - thanks for that!). Also, my main subject at Uni was Psychology which obviously involved a lot of stats. I found it incredibly boring and hence could never fully get to grips with it. In 'real life', although I'm good with numbers, I seem to have a mental block with anything to do with finance. As a freelancer I pay an accountant to deal with my accounts, though feel guilty about it as I think I should be able to do it myself. So, although I've got all the bits of paper, I've been useless at applying it to real life (apart from the occasional mental arithmetic, watching Countdown and doing sudoku)

Hilary Cooke

Submitted on 11 June, 2017 - 10:59

Hi David,

I hope that I didn't divert attention and get off the point of your question by asking my own!

Can I check in with you to ask if you got a helpful answer to your question? 

I'd love to know....

Best wishes



Submitted on 12 June, 2017 - 10:18

Following on from what Hilary says, I realised afterwards that my post was about me-me-me and didn't really proffer any suggestions (was mainly trying to make the point that it doesn't always help with life skills). I do hope you've found the right path for you.

Best wishes