A-Level Mathematics

What will I learn?

The study of Mathematics requires an ability to visualise a problem and then use mathematical principles to solve it. It has overarching themes of mathematical argument, language, proof and modelling. It is a hugely rewarding, but demanding subject that generally requires at least a grade 7 at GCSE.

During the first year of study you will engage in both pure and applied mathematics. The pure element begins by building the essential skills required for A-level study and includes topics such as: Indices and surds; Polynomials; Coordinate geometry and graphs. It then begins to address some key concepts and you will go on to study: Trigonometry; Integration; Differentiation; Logarithms. The applied element looks at some of the key ideas in both Statistics and Mechanics, and covers: Representation of data; Discrete random variables; Hypothesis Testing; Motion in a straight line; Force as a vector; Newton’s laws of motion.

In your second year, you will engage in more pure and applied mathematics and undertake three exams to obtain a full A-level in Mathematics. The pure element begins by focusing on methods of advanced maths, building on the knowledge obtained in year 12. It then progresses onto looking at applications of advanced maths. You will study:  Algebra and functions; Trigonometry; Differentiation and Integration; Numerical methods; Differential equations; Vectors. The applied maths element builds on the Statistics and Mechanics studied in the first year, as well as including new topics: Modelling with probability; The normal distribution; Projectile motion; Moments.

How will I be assessed?

There are two examinations in year 12 as part of the AS qualification. If you continue into year 13 then you will sit three examinations which count exclusively towards the A Level. In both years, the pure content makes up two-thirds of the assessment, whilst the applied content makes up a third. There is no coursework requirement for this qualification.

Further Mathematics

What will I learn?

Further Mathematics is a course that fully prepares students for studying maths or other science-based subjects at university. It is an interesting and challenging course and you will learn about many exciting branches of mathematics, both pure and applied.

To study Further Mathematics, you are required to have obtained at least a grade 8 at GCSE. Classes are small, which ensures that all students receive a high level of individual support in lesson time. In addition, the mathematics department prides itself on the additional support it is able to provide its students - support that has meant that students achieve excellent results every year.

During the first year, you will study matrices and complex numbers as part of the pure content of the course. Alongside this, you will topics of statistics, mechanics or decision mathematics.

In year two you will look deeper into matrices and complex numbers, as well as study more advanced areas of pure mathematics, such as further calculus, hyperbolic functions and differential equations, as well extending the applied topics you studied in year 12.

How will I be assessed?

There are two examinations in year 12 as part of the AS qualification. If you continue into year 13 then you will sit three examinations which count exclusively towards the A Level. For your A Level, the pure content makes up two-thirds of the assessment whilst the applied content makes up a third.

Core Mathematics

What will I learn?

The Core Maths qualification is open to all students achieving at least a grade 4 at GCSE and is ideal for those who are unsure about studying A level mathematics but wish to continue their study of the subject. The course will include topics such as analysing and interpreting data, financial mathematics, modelling, critical analysis and statistical methods.

The use of digital technologies, spreadsheet software and computer algebra systems is also an important aspect of the Core Maths course. It will help you to develop your own mathematical thinking and problem-solving skills. Most of the problems will be embedded in the context of other disciplines and real world problems. They have been chosen specifically to support your work in other subjects.

How will I be assessed?

Pupils will undertake two 90 minute exams at the end of the one year course. Both exams will involve the use calculators and will be of equal weighting. No coursework is required for this qualification.

Where might these courses take me?

The AS/A level in Mathematics and Core Mathematics are excellent qualifications. They combine particularly well with Physics, Chemistry and Biology, but also complement the study of Geography, Economics, Psychology and Business Studies as these subjects have a degree of mathematical content.

The subject’s emphasis on problem solving, and refining and improving mathematical models, makes it very ‘transferable’ and suitable for many career pathways. Mathematics plays a vital role in professions such as accountancy/finance, computer modelling and simulation, engineering, insurance, medicine, statistical modelling, sports coaching and teaching.

Most jobs and careers require some element of functional maths; having a post-16 qualification in mathematics can give you the edge over other candidates.