Grade 6 in GCSE Maths.
What will I study?
A Level Maths is very different from GCSE. Students spend two years learning how to solve different types of equations, and studying the link between algebra and graphs.
Is A Level Maths for me?
Because A Level is so different from GCSE, being predicted a high grade (at least a 6) isn’t enough to know it’s the course for you. You could read up on what topics are studied in A Level Maths, but because it’s so different from GCSE you won’t know what most of these topics mean!
The best place to start is to think about what you enjoy about GCSE Maths. Are there certain topics you like doing, or that you’re strongest in?
If you like topics such as factoring and solving quadratic equations, solving simultaneous equations, the Sine and Cosine Rules, and working with surds and negative fractional indices, then A Level Maths is for you!
Who Studies A Level Maths?
Students who take A Level Maths typically take subjects like
• A Level Physics
• A Level Biology
• A Level Chemistry
• A Level Computer Science
• A Level Economics
Where Can A Level Maths Take Me?
Students who take A Level Maths often go on to university, to study degrees in
• Computer Science
The skills A Level Maths will equip you with are highly prized in the work place, and mathematicians find well-paid careers in business and finance, IT, engineering and the sciences.
A Level Maths focuses on algebra and should be taken by students who are successful in GCSE algebra topics such as solving quadratic equations, completing the square and solving simultaneous equations. Students who choose this A Level enjoy solving equations, and want to learn how to solve increasingly challenging equations.
Further Maths is also available at AS and A Level and may be taken alongside AS or A Level Maths. It is perfect for those who may be studying other traditional A Levels such as Physics or Chemistry, or who are considering studying Mathematics at university. In Further Maths you study areas such as: matrices (which are crucial in Physics and computer programming); real, imaginary and complex numbers; mathematical proof and solving differential equations, which are essential to areas of Physics, Biology and Chemistry.
You will begin by revising higher tier GCSE algebra before learning about graphs of functions, in particular: their shapes, transformations of graphs, using differentiation to calculate the gradient of a curve at a point and using integration to calculate areas beneath a curve.
Differentiation and integration are known together as ‘calculus’ and are at the heart of modern maths and science. They are the main focus of study in Maths at A Level and degree level.
Alongside calculus, you will also develop your knowledge of GCSE trigonometry such as the sine rule and cosine rule, to learn how to solve trigonometric equations and prove trigonometric identities. You will also see new topics in algebra, such as logarithms.
You will also study topics in statistics and mechanics. You will build on the probability you saw at GCSE in topics such as tree diagrams, and discover new topics such as the binomial distribution. In mechanics, you will learn how to model the physical world using the concepts of position, velocity, acceleration, mass and force.
Having passed first year, you will extend your work on algebra, calculus, and trigonometry. You will develop your calculus skills to be able to solve differential equations, which are used in areas such as science and economics. You will also begin to see where algebra has its limitations, and where computer-based methods are needed to find approximate solutions to equations.
In Statistics you will learn about the normal distribution, and find out how to test statistical models against real-world data. In mechanics, your work on forces is developed to deal with objects moving subject to friction, and the motion of projectiles.
AS Mathematics is assessed by examination at the end of one year, and A Level Mathematics is by examination at the end of two years. All content studied in your first year will also be assessed at A Level in your second year.
Where does it lead?