Nuffield - Simple + Compound Interest

The task aims to introduce the concept of simple and compound interest and its effect on the amount by which an investment grows over time. There is opportunity to use a spreadsheet to generate answers by using appropriate algebraic formulae.

Mathematical strand

Financial Maths, Algebra and Graphs

Prior knowledge

Previous experience of using spreadsheets and of calculating percentages would be useful.

Relevance to Core Maths qualifications

  • AQA
  • Eduqas
  • Pearson/ Edexcel
  • OCR

Suggested approaches

Students should be asked initially to think about different ways to calculate percentages, with reference to a multiplicative method to give final amounts after interest has been added. Examples of real available savings accounts would be useful too.


In addition to this overview, there are:
• Detailed teacher notes (Word and PDF)
• Student information sheet (Word and PDF)
• Excel spreadsheet worksheet
• Excel spreadsheet worksheet solutions

Relevant digital technologies

Access to an Excel spreadsheet or an alternative spreadsheet programme is required. Calculators and internet access would also be useful.

Possible extensions

Students could be given a virtual sum of money to invest in one of the available savings accounts in order to maximise their return. Reference to ISAs, variable rates and long-term investments should be made.


This is a resource developed by the Nuffield Foundation for the FSMQs and can be accessed at