Mathematics at A Level is one of the most rewarding, satisfying and respected subjects available to a student. Extending ideas introduced at GCSE and also introducing totally new ideas, such as calculus and mechanics, it gives a deep understanding of how maths works and allows students to apply maths in a range of different situations. Hard work and practice matter more than natural ability so any student willing to put the effort in can be confident of success on the Mathematics A Level.
“Mathematics is the most beautiful and most powerful creation of the human spirit.”
Automatic entry onto Level 3 courses includes students achieving 4 x GCSEs at Grade 9-4 (or equivalent), alongside a Grade 4 or above in English and Mathematics. Students with English at Grade 3 or below will have individual meetings to determine the most suitable pathway within the Sixth Form.
Alongside the general entry requirements to Sixth Form, students must achieve at least a Grade 7 in GCSE Mathematics.
The A Level Mathematics course is divided into three areas, pure mathematics, statistics and mechanics. The latter two are collectively called applied mathematics. The pure mathematics modules are spread over Years 12 and 13 and give students a toolkit of mathematical skills and knowledge. This reveals the breadth and interconnected nature of the mathematical universe, and highlights the intricate links between the different areas of mathematics. Some ideas will be familiar to the students, such as series, proofs and vectors, but these will be expanded and explored in a variety of different ways. In addition, entirely new ideas are introduced, for instance parametric equations, logarithms and exponentials.
The applied modules (statistics and mechanics) use the skills developed in the pure lessons to analyse complex real-world scenarios involving probability distributions and hypothesis testing in statistics, or resolving forces and moments in mechanics. Students will have the opportunity to model real-life situations and see how well the mathematics predicts the outcomes. This gives a real understanding of the power and limitations of mathematics in real world settings.
As a ‘facilitating subject’ a Mathematics A Level gives students the widest possible range of options in higher education or industry. Strong mathematical skills are essential in a host of careers and an A Level qualification would give a significant advantage to a student. We have had several students go on to study Mathematics Degrees each year, often at the top universities. Other options are degrees in engineering, the sciences, humanities, finance, business and accountancy.
Students will sit assessments at the end of every chapter, allowing close tracking of their strengths and areas for improvement. There are also regular cumulative assessments covering all the topics covered up to that point, preparing students for the final exams.
The external assessments are sat at the end of Year 13 and consist of three equally weighted 2 hour papers. The first two are Pure Paper 1 and 2, and the third is Applied Mathematics (split equally between Statistics and Mechanics). All the papers are out of 100 marks and calculators are permitted in all three.
Students are expected to use an advanced calculator with Matrix, Calculus and Statistical functions. The Casio fx-991 Classwiz is the standard model used by the students.
Ways to help my child succeed
Regular and focused practice is the key to success in the Mathematics A Level. Parents and carers should ask to see assessments and exercises done as homework and make sure the work is clear and neat. Ask the student to explain what they are doing in each step, as teaching others is a powerful method of learning.
Attendance at the Period 6s has a significant positive impact on students’ outcomes. There is a strong correlation between those students utilising the one-to-one support available at these sessions, and those obtaining or surpassing their target grades. Please encourage your child to take advantage of this opportunity to succeed.
The course is delivered in separate modules and chapters, so it is vital that students keep their notes well organised. They should have individual folders for each module, sorted into chapters. Notes and assessment should be filed in the correct place, along with any personal revision material.