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Mathematics (and Further Mathematics)

Why Study Mathematics?

Mathematics is the tool of the engineer, physicist, chemist and economist; this makes both Mathematics and Further Mathematics versatile qualifications, well-respected by employers and both facilitating subjects for entry to Higher Education. Pupils of mathematics become better at thinking logically and analytically. Through problem solving you develop resilience and are able to think creatively and strategically. The writing of structured solutions, proof and justification of results helps you to formulate reasoned arguments. The mathematical skills you learn in A-level Mathematics are of great benefit in other A-level subjects such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science, Geography, Psychology, Economics and Business. Furthermore, studying A-level Further Mathematics is likely to improve your grade in A-level Mathematics.

Entry Requirements

7 in GCSE Mathematics is required for A-level Mathematics.
Further Mathematics is designed to be tackled by the most able mathematicians and should only be considered if pupils achieve at least grade 8 in GCSE Mathematics.

Course Outline

The A-level Mathematics course consists of Pure Mathematics and Applied Mathematics in the ratio 2:1. The Pure Mathematics content covers topics such as algebra, trigonometry, coordinate geometry, calculus and the Applied Mathematics syllabus covers both Statistics and Mechanics over the two years of the course. At the end of the course, you sit three exams of a similar weighting.

A-level Further Mathematics is a stimulating and challenging course that involves the study of a second A-level over the course of two years. In addition to studying the A-level topics in greater depth, additional topics such as Complex Numbers, First and Second Order Differential Equations, Polar Coordinates, Hyperbolic Functions, Motion in a Circle, Statics of Rigid Bodies, Elastic Strings and Springs and Hypothesis Testing in Statistics are covered.

Because of the demands of the Further Mathematics course, consistently high results will be expected throughout the two years, including from mock examinations within the first term of the Lower Sixth.

Course Delivery

The course delivery can be described as a three-stage process that is being constantly repeated. Firstly, you are exposed to a new topic. In the second stage, you practise the newly acquired skills either independently or with the help of your peers and your teacher; this is also the time when ‘knowing’ gradually turns into ‘understanding’. In the final stage, you try to apply what you have learnt into solving real-life problems. You are also given the opportunity to explore further connections between different areas of Mathematics, often resulting in greater insight into the subject.

In order to succeed in this A-level, for every hour spent in the classroom, you are expected to spend the same amount of time practising and consolidating your work at home. Your progress in the course is regularly assessed using end of chapter progress tests.

Higher Education and Career Opportunities

For progression to many courses at university it is important to have strong mathematics skills. For most Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) degree courses, A-level Mathematics is a requirement.

Careers for those with good mathematics skills and qualifications are not only well paid, but they are also often interesting and rewarding. People who have studied Mathematics are in the fortunate position of having an excellent and wide choice of careers.