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FAQs for IGCSE Mathematics (0580 & 0980)


What do the abbreviations in the mark scheme mean?

Types of Mark

  • M – for a correct method applied to appropriate numbers.
  • A – for accuracy and depends on M marks. Hence M0 A1 is not possible.
  • B – independent of method marks - for a correct final answer, a partially correct answer or a correct intermediate stage.
  • SC marks are given in special cases as mentioned in the mark scheme.
  • FT will indicate the award of follow through marks when the mark scheme allows it.


  • cao – correct answer only
  • dep – dependent on another mark
  • eeo – each error or omission
  • isw – ignore subsequent working
  • oe – or equivalent
  • soi – seen or implied
  • nfww – not from wrong working

What is meant by the term geometrical instruments?

The geometrical instruments required for Cambridge IGCSE Mathematics (0580 and 0980) are ruler, protractor and a pair of compasses.

Will students be given a formula sheet in the exam or do they need to memorise this information?

There is no formulae sheet provided with Mathematics examinations. Students are not expected to memorise complicated formulae but may need to remember simple equations such as the area of a circle or volume of a cube.

Can students write in pencil?

Please refer to section 5.1.6 'Stationery, materials and other equipment' in the Cambridge Handbook. It states:

“Candidates must write their answers legibly in permanent, non-erasable black or dark blue ink”;
Candidates may use pencils for mathematical constructions and graphs. Otherwise blue or black ink should be used as (a) it can’t be altered after the examination and (b) the examiner can see the way the student was developing the question even though the final answer may be incorrect.

Can students use tracing paper in the exam to answer questions on transformations?

Yes, students are able to use tracing paper in all the IGCSE Mathematics papers. You will notice that it is an optional item on the front of the examination paper.

Can students have extra paper for rough work in the exam?

Students should write all their answers and working on the question paper.

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