Please also check out my guide (only my personal views) on “How to make the most of math websites” in this article which follows this list of top ten websites.
I couldn’t order these one to ten, they all have different strengths, so I chickened out and here they are in no particular order:
This site is unique. It’s run by Cambridge University and the aim is to “enrich the mathematical experiences of all learners”. There are sections for teachers and students and covers Key Stage 1 right through to A Level. If you’re looking to be spoon fed a syllabus this is not the site for you. If you’re looking to be challenged and stimulated, this site sets the standard.
NRICH (askNRICH) has an excellent forum. Students of all ages may ask questions. Quoting the forum’s blurb:-
“If you have a question about a particular mathematical problem, or about mathematics in general, Ask NRICH is the place to be.
Our team will do their best to help you. They are not here to give you answers to questions, but they will help you to make sense of the mathematics involved and to use what you know to think your way through the problems yourself.
They are very quick and friendly! Most questions get a useful reply within the day.”
This is probably the most well known resource but it’s still very good. There are separate sections for KS1, KS2, KS3, GCSE and higher math. The website is well designed, easy to follow and makes good use of graphics. At the Maths GCSE level, each topic has a revision, activity and test section.
This is mainly a pay site but there are many free Math GCSE resources:- Revision Presentations, Revision Quizzes and Revision Sheets. I like these materials because they are very clear and require interaction to complete.
This site is free to use and the main focus is Maths GCSE. There are many videos, practice questions and revision cards. There are two things I particularly like; the simple but very effective presentation and the use of Symbaloo.com to group the videos by GCSE grade ( for example these are all the GCSE Grade C videos – http://www.symbaloo.com/mix/gcsemathsgradec)
Another free site. There are many (over 2,800!) Maths GCSE and A Level videos plus exam questions with thoroughly worked solutions. I think it would be fair to say that it’s aimed at students who would expect to get grade B or higher at Maths GCSE.
Nearly 1,000 videos covering KS3, GCSE and A Level Maths. This site is maintained by two teachers with help from two young web developers/designers. The videos are clearly used by the site’s owners to help their students. Perhaps because they cover everything from KS3 to A Level, I think the videos have a friendly and accessible feel to them. I think this might be my favorite maths website– a full, detailed review to follow– watch this space! Here’s my full review of Hegarty Maths.
Probably the most famous tutorial videos. The academy is perfect for USA students but for UK students there’s no easy way to map the videos to KS1, KS2, KS3, GCSE etc. It’s still a pioneering, fantastic resource but I would suggest (if you’re studying outside the USA) you need to have a firm understanding of what you need to learn (i.e. your detailed syllabus) to get maximum benefit.
Yet another labor of love by a UK Maths teacher. Mr. Barton is the curator of UK Maths online resources. He has sections for teachers, parents and students. Mr. Barton is also the Secondary Maths Advisor for the TES (Times Education Supplement).
I know this website is not free but it is very widely used by schools. Typically it’s paid for by schools to support pupils– so for many children (including mine) it works out to be free. The site is professional and I’m sure it will be a great help to teachers, parents and pupils. In my opinion the only thing it lacks is a personality– the sort of interest and identity provided by the use of videos on some of the other websites listed here.
David Smith is yet another example of a Maths teacher providing a superb free service. The site covers GCSE and A level maths and, in my opinion, is the easiest maths website to navigate. For example, Maths GCSE is split between Foundation and Higher Sections and for each topic there is a video, lesson notes (pdf to complement the video) and an exercise section which has about 10 questions and fully worked answers. Logical, well presented and thorough. Then there are exam questions and the same format is followed; a video and pdf’s with notes and transcript of questions and answers.
How to Make the Most of Maths Websites
When I started investigating how I could help my children with their Maths GCSE’s I was amazed to find so many great free maths websites. Some of the websites are written by full-time Maths teachers and it’s clear that they are real labors of love. The best websites have well produced videos and support materials such as notes and test questions.
I could have included a number of other websites, choosing the “best” websites is, of course, highly subjective. I considered the following factors to make my choice:
- Good quality, easy to understand videos
- A clear structure to make it easy to understand the content of the website.
- Up to date material, well maintained.
- Authority and relevant experience of the website owner.
- Free! I’ve only included websites that are wholly free to use OR where substantial sections are free to use.
Using Maths Websites
Because there are so many free resources, it’s tempting to think you could rely on them to get you through your exam. In my opinion that would be a big mistake. As far as I can see none of these websites clearly map their material to give total confidence that all the topics required for any specific exam board are 100% covered. For example, a website may have excellent Maths GCSE material but if you are due to sit the AQA Maths GCSE, how do you know that website covers all the topics required by AQA? In addition you may be targeting a certain grade– anything up to A star, how do you know where to focus?
Use Your Teacher
There is no substitute for a teacher to guide you through your studies. A teacher will help you to understand your whole syllabus, which topics you need to study and which topics you need to focus on to get your target grade. If you have access to a teacher make sure you get your money’s worth!
Find a Teacher?
What if you don’t have a teacher? Perhaps you’re a mature student. You might be surprised by the help that’s available. Maths and English are known as “Skills for Life” and the government is keen to ensure that as many people as possible have these skills (up to and including Level 2 or GCSE) so there may be help available. Click here to find out more about government help with numeracy and maths GCSE.
Use a Textbook
If you don’t have a teacher, in my opinion you should use a textbook which is recognized by your exam board. So if you’re going to sit AQA Maths GCSE you need to get a textbook which specifically covers the AQA Maths GCSE. You also need to make sure that the textbook is up to date and covers the current syllabus.
Shop Around, Mix and Match
Once you understand what you need to learn (either from your teacher or from your recognised textbook, see above) you can seek out the best websites that work for you. The following list of my personal favourite ten maths websites only scratches the surface. There are many to choose from and it’s an ever growing list. Obviously you don’t have to stick to one website, you can mix and match. You choose videos at one website, pdf downloads at another and a forum at yet another. All websites have their strengths and weaknesses.
Interactive and Proactive
I’m sure that most people learn Maths most efficiently by actually solving Maths problems. Pause videos and try questions yourself rather than just watch them all the way through. Some websites provide forums to ask questions, for example NRICH (see above) has an “Ask A Mathematician” service. As NRICH is run by Cambridge University, I’m sure you’re likely to get some helpful answers!
Summary of How to Use Maths Websites
- Understand what you need to learn, preferably with a teacher’s guidance but, if not, by using a textbook approved by your exam board.
- Shop around and mix and match. Find websites that work for you. Use different websites for different topics and services.
- Be proactive and interactive. Try to solve maths problems before you’re shown the solution. Join forums and ask questions.
What do you think?
Have I captured the top ten maths websites? Are there any glaring omissions from my list?
Please reply below to let me know about your favorite websites.