The AS course consists of three modules: two in Pure Mathematics and one in Statistics; the A2 course also consists of three modules: two in Pure Mathematics and one in Decision Mathematics. Each of the modules count equally towards your final grade at AS or A Level. There is no coursework element. Examinations are 1½ hours long. A calculator (including graphical) can now be used for all examinations, except for the introductory C1 module. C1 is a non-calculator examination.
GCE A level Mathematics is a course worth studying not only as a supporting subject for the physical and social sciences, but in its own right. It is challenging but interesting. It builds on work already met at GCSE, but also involves new ideas produced by some of the greatest minds of the last millennium.
Whilst studying Mathematics you will be expected to:
Use mathematical skills and knowledge to solve problems. Solve problems by using mathematical arguments and logic. You will also have to understand and demonstrate what is meant by proof in Mathematics. Simplify real-life situations so that you can use Mathematics to show what is happening and what might happen in different circumstances. Use the Mathematics that you learn to solve problems that are given to you in a real-life context. Use calculator technology and other resources (such as formulae booklets and statistical tables) effectively and appropriately; understand calculator limitations and when it is inappropriate to use such technology.
Pure Mathematics C1, C2, C3 and C4
Pure Mathematics extends knowledge of such topics as algebra and trigonometry as well as learning some brand new ideas such as calculus. It also includes coordinate geometry in the (x,y) plane, sequences and series, exponentials and logarithms and vectors.
The statistics unit deals with how to analyse and summarise numerical data in order to arrive at conclusions about it. The range of probability problems studied at GCSE are extended using the new techniques learnt in the pure mathematics units.
Decision Mathematics D1
In decision mathematics, how to solve problems involving networks, systems, planning and resource allocation is learnt. The studies focus on a range of methods, or algorithms, which enable such problems to be tackled.
A GCSE grade A or above is required in Mathematics. In order to progress into A2, a grade D or above is required overall as well as a D grade in both of the Core modules (C1 and C2) and where this is not the case you will need to re-sit AS modules alongside the A2 course.
A willingness to work hard throughout the course is also important. We will expect a good attitude to be displayed at GCSE. The ability to work accurately with algebra and trigonometry is essential and a good understanding of probability and statistics will help, although key ideas will be revised at the start of the course. For every hour taught in lessons, students are expected to spend at least an hour in private study.
A Level Mathematics is highly regarded by employers and universities as evidence of the ability to think logically, analytically and precisely. It is a much sought after qualification for entry to a wide variety of full-time courses in higher education. There are also many areas of employment that see Mathematics as an important qualification and it is often a requirement for the vocational qualifications related to these areas. Higher education courses or careers that require A Level Mathematics or are strongly related include; Economics, Architecture, Medicine, Engineering, Accountancy, Teaching, Psychology, Physics, Computing and Information and Communication Technology. The Statistics module will be very beneficial for anyone going on to study subjects such as Geography, Sociology, Biology or Psychology, which involve analysing data.
Select Maths if you are good at it in Year 11 and enjoy it.
Enjoy the challenge but you will need to work hard.
The support from teachers inside and outside of lessons is great, use it.
It benefits the sciences, making them easier.