This course builds on the knowledge and skills that you acquired during your GCSE. It will increase your understanding of familiar ideas and introduce you to new concepts and techniques. You will apply mathematical ideas in the context of statistics and mechanics.
You will study a combination of pure and applied mathematics. From 2017 onwards there are no optional units, everyone studies the same material; About two thirds of the course is pure mathematics, one sixth statistics and one sixth mechanics. Mechanics builds on Newtonian ideas of motion and forces and is strongly linked to Physics. Statistics allows us to make sense of the world around us through data analysis. The key theme is a continued study of algebra and graphs.
You will use a variety of methods and techniques to help you develop and understand the concepts and techniques used.
During lessons you will:
At the end of the second year, you sit three 2 hour exams that assess all the content covered during the two years of study.
The Statistics element of mathematics supports the study of subjects such as biology, business studies, economics, geography, psychology and sociology. The Mechanics part of mathematics supports the study of physics. However, students do take mathematics with a wide range of other subjects and as such is labelled as a ‘facilitating’ subject.
Mathematics is highly regarded and provides strong support to any application for employment or further study. The applied units in mechanics and/or statistics are necessary for many courses in science and engineering. The statistics mathematics studied at A level is very useful for many courses in the social sciences.
The study of pure mathematics develops logical thinking and a systematic approach to problem solving - attributes which are highly valued in the workplace.
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Q: I’ve heard that A level maths is hard. Is the step up from GCSE really big?
A: The short answer is yes, but that is why mathematics is so rewarding and so well respected as a qualification. Even if you have been good at maths since primary school, it is not possible to be successful at A level without putting in the time and effort. Homework cannot be quickly polished off in half an hour on a Sunday afternoon, it takes time - around 4½ hours each week outside the classroom. Once you have established a system with a good routine of doing some mathematics every day, you can make the step up.
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