Both the mathematics and further mathematics courses build upon the mathematics students will have studied at GCSE. Students will follow the Edexcel syllabus in both Mathematics and Further Mathematics. Both courses are 2-year linear courses, examined externally at the end of Year 13.
What does the course cover?
During this course you will learn to extend your knowledge of algebra, geometry and handling data from GCSE and explore the ways in which mathematics can be applied in the real world.
Pure mathematics: Some of the new topics studied are coordinate geometry, series, calculus and numerical methods. These topics have a high algebraic content and they are an excellent introduction to mathematics at undergraduate level. Branching further into pure mathematics, students will study topics such as logarithms & exponentials, radian measure and modelling with vectors.
Mechanics and Statistics: The applied content of the course introduces students to modelling, visualising situations and the mathematical forces that are in action. Using statistics, you can solve more complex problems based around probabilities, testing hypotheses and using a large data set.
The further mathematics course follows Edexcel entry route C. This route covers all content included in the mathematics course, in addition to a wide variety of further pure mathematics and mechanics concepts.
Further mathematics introduces new topics such as matrices and complex numbers – topics which form the basis of all undergraduate studies. Students who select further mathematics usually go on to study the subject at university.
How is the course assessed?
The A level mathematics course is assessed via 3 written examinations taken at the end of the 2-year course. Papers 1 and 2 cover the entire pure mathematics syllabus with Paper 3 examining applied mathematics. Each paper is worth 100 marks and lasts 2 hours.
The further mathematics course is assessed by means of 4 written papers taken at the end of the 2-year course. Each is 1 hour 30 minutes in length and worth 75 marks. Papers 1 and 2 cover the core content of the course with papers 3 and 4 covering further concepts in pure mathematics and mechanics separately.
What are the entry requirements?
Mathematics is widely regarded as a challenging A-Level. The course begins with the study of algebraic concepts at grade 7 GCSE level and progresses quickly. For this reason, a Grade 7 at GCSE is advised for Mathematics and a Grade 8/9 for Further Mathematics.
What do students who study this course go on to do?
Mathematics is essential for studying the subject itself as well as physics or engineering at university, and for these subjects, further mathematics is highly desirable or even essential at the top institutions. Other courses which benefit from mathematics A-Level include medicine, economics, accounting and other sciences.