A Level Mathematics

Core Maths

Exam board: AQA- Mathematical Studies

Entry requirement: Grade 5 or above GCSE.

Students will study solving real life problems, exploring using maths to make financial decisions, critically analysing data and fermi-estimation.

This is a one year course and will be assessed by two exams, equally weighted, 90 minutes and out of 60 marks.

Core maths is a brilliant opportunity for students to utilise their GCSE skills and develop their problem solving skills applying maths to real life problems. We will focus using maths for making financial decisions; looking at taxation, mortgages and loans. We will be analysing statistics looking at how data can be manipulated to mislead and change people’s perceptions. We will look at using estimation to make accurate predictions for seemingly impossible to answer questions.

Core maths has been developed for students, not taking the traditional A-level in maths in order to support their learning in other subjects and use maths competently in their own life. No matter what your next steps are after leaving college having studied Core maths will help you stand out against people with similar qualifications. Core maths carries the same amount of UCAS points as an AS qualification.


Exam board: OCR

Entry requirement: Grade 6 or above GCSE.

The core part of the course will involve studying coordinate geometry, calculus, trigonometry, vectors, functions, sequences and algebra. You will also study mechanics and statistics.

The specification for this course can be found at https://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-and-a-level/mathematics-a-h230-h240-from-2017/#as-level

You will sit the AS exam at the end of year 12, this is two papers core and statistics and core and mechanics. Papers hold equal weighting and are 90 minutes and carry 75 marks.

Then at the end of year 13 you will sit three papers core, core and statistics and core and mechanics. All papers carry the same weighting and are 2 hours and out of 100 marks.

Maths is, by far, the most popular A-level taken in the UK and it is easy to see why: Maths is one of the best subjects to develop your analytical, research and problem solving skills. Universities see a maths as a facilitating subject and therefore beneficial to numerous different areas of study at university. It provides a firm foundation for all scientific, technical, engineering and mathematical careers and a flying start for many other types of career, such as those in finance, medicine, agriculture, teaching, software engineer … etc. The list is endless! Not only this but, on average, people with a maths A-level earn 11% more over their lifetime than those without (source: https://successatschool.org/advicedetails/186/Why-Study-Maths%3F).

Further Mathematics

Exam board: OCR

Entry requirements: Grade 8 or 9 at GCSE

You will study topics such as matrices, complex numbers, roots of polynomials, vectors, polar coordinates, hyperbolic functions and solving differential equations. You will also study two of further mechanics, additional further pure or further statistics.

The specification for this course can be found at https://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-and-a-level/further-mathematics-a-h235-h245-from-2017/#as-level

You will sit the AS exam at the end of year 12. This is three exams; pure core maths then two of Statistics, mechanics or additional further pure. All papers hold equal weighting and are 75 minutes and out of 60 marks.

At the end of year 13 you will sit four exams 2 further core papers and two of statistics, mechanics or additional further pure. All papers hold equal weighting and are 75 minutes and out of 60 marks.

There are many good reasons to take Further Mathematics:

Students taking Further Mathematics overwhelmingly find it to be an enjoyable, rewarding, stimulating and empowering experience. It is a challenging qualification, which both extends and deepens your knowledge and understanding beyond the standard A-level Mathematics. Students who do it often say it is their favourite subject.

For someone who enjoys mathematics, it provides a challenge and a chance to explore new and/or more sophisticated mathematical concepts. As well as new learning new areas of pure mathematics you will study further applications of mathematics in mechanics, statistics and decision mathematics.

Students who take Further Mathematics find that the additional time spent studying mathematics boosts their marks in single A level Mathematics. Any student capable of passing an AS/A level in Mathematics should also be able to pass AS Further Mathematics. Studying Further Mathematics consolidates and reinforces your standard A level Mathematics work, helping you to achieve your best possible grades.  It makes the transition from sixth form to university courses which are mathematically rich that much easier as more of the first year course content will be familiar.

If you are planning to take a degree such as Engineering, Sciences, Computing, Finance/Economics, etc., or perhaps Mathematics itself, you will benefit enormously from taking Further Mathematics, at least to AS level. AS Further Mathematics introduces new topics such as matrices and complex numbers that are vital in many STEM degrees. Students who have studied Further Mathematics find the transition to such degrees far more straightforward. If you decide to study for a mathematically rich degree during year 12, but are not taking AS Further Mathematics it is often possible to start AS Further Mathematics alongside A level Mathematics in year 13.

It enables students to distinguish themselves as able mathematicians in their applications for university and future employment.

Further Mathematics qualifications are highly regarded and are warmly welcomed by universities. Students who take Further Mathematics are really demonstrating a strong commitment to their studies, as well as learning mathematics that is very useful for any mathematically rich degree. Some prestigious university courses require you to have a Further Mathematics qualification and others may adjust their grade requirements more favourably to students with Further Mathematics.

If you are not planning to study for mathematically rich degrees but are keen on mathematics you will find Further Mathematics a very enjoyable course and having a Further Mathematics qualification identifies you as having excellent analytical skills, whatever area you are considering for a career.