Mathematics
A level

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:

  • extend your ability to solve equations in more complex situations, learn more about drawing graphs and be introduced to calculus, which is the foundation stone of much advanced mathematics 
  • use computer software such as “Autograph” to investigate series, functions and graphs 
  • investigate practical problems in statistics and mechanics and write reports to explain what you have done 
  • work independently and in groups to tackle problems and then present the solution.

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.

Please see below for careers and labour market information for maths - use the refresh buttons to find out about different courses and careers, and use the left and right arrows to view more detailed information.

You can find the prep work for this course at prepwork.farnborough.ac.uk.

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.

Q:  What if I get stuck?
A:  We know maths is hard and we know students need support. This is why we have already done every homework question on video and put them on our YouTube site. Over the last ten years this has been viewed ¾ million times. If you get stuck or want a quick hint, there are videos available. After every test we make full video solutions available to help students learn from their mistakes. Everyone will get stuck at some point: our aim is to push you a little bit further than you feel comfortable, but support you as we stretch you - that way you make progress and develop into better mathematicians.

Q:  What do you do in A level maths?
A:  A level mathematics builds on the algebra you studied at GCSE. We use the skills you learned solving equations, simultaneous equations and quadratic equations and extend them. Two thirds of the course is pure mathematics, but there is also one sixth mechanics - which links well with physics, and statistics - the study of data.

Q:  What are classes like?
A:  There are between 20 and 24 students in a mathematics class, coming from any one of the 57 schools that sent students here to do mathematics. The chances are you will know nobody in the room in lesson one, but within a couple of weeks you will get to know everyone. In a 90 minute lesson you will enjoy a variety of activities including working in pairs on mini-whiteboards, working in groups on a board on the wall, and working individually to consolidate your learning. Since everyone shares your passion for mathematics, there is a very supportive and productive atmosphere in the classroom.  

Q:  How is mathematics examined?
A:  At the end of the course there are three exam papers, each one is two hours long. Two of the papers are on pure maths and the final paper is on mechanics and statistics. During the course you will prepare for these exams by taking smaller tests and mock papers. There is no coursework, and there is no option in the topics studied.

 

Exam Board

Edexcel Learn More

Entry Requirements

  • You should have at least a grade 7 in GCSE maths.

Employability Skills

  • Develop abilities to reason logically
  • An awareness of the relevance of the mathematics
  • An understanding of basic maths principles
  • Thinking logically

Course Resources

CASIO fx-991 EX 'ClassWiz' calculator