AS Level Mathematics is a very valuable qualification as it is a useful supporting subject to many other subjects at A Level GCE and degree level, especially in the Sciences, Geography, Psychology and Medical courses. There are also many areas of employment that see a Mathematics A Level GCE as an important qualification.
A Level GCE Mathematics opens up a wide range of possible University courses. The subject can be continued on its own, or studied together with a variety of other subjects. Many university courses have considerable mathematical content, and many other courses require mathematical competence. Higher Education courses or careers that require Advanced GCE Mathematics or are strongly related could include:
Accountancy, Architecture, Computing, Economics, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Information and Communication Technology, Medicine, Psychology and Teaching.
Mathematics teaches skills such as logical thinking, problem solving and statistical analysis and these skills are closely aligned to the skills required in the work place.
At 16+ three areas of Mathematics are studied: Pure Mathematics, Mechanics and Statistics. Pure Mathematics continues and develops the study of algebra, trigonometry, functions and vectors, and introduces the differential and integral calculus, co-ordinate geometry and numerical methods.
In Mechanics, students learn how to describe mathematically the motion of objects and how they respond to forces acting upon them. Techniques of mathematical modelling are used in the analysis and the solution of physical problems using mathematical methods.
The Statistics unit covers the collection of data, the graphical representation of data, methods of summary, correlation, regression analysis, probability and discrete random variables. The normal distribution is also covered.
The course followed is the Edexcel Specification for both A Level and Further Maths.
The successful study of Mathematics at this level will require determination, perseverance and a great deal of application. It will not be sufficient to merely complete set assignments and then sit back and await the award of a high grade. Students who are prepared to work hard for understanding can reasonably expect to be rewarded at the end of the course.
To undertake an A Level GCE course, students are required to have attained a minimum GCSE qualification in Mathematics of a grade A (or grade 7) in the Higher Tier although A* (grade 8) is preferable! For Further Maths students are expected to have a minimum of A* (grade 8) at GCSE.
An A Level in Mathematics is not only a sought after qualification, it is a lot of fun. A love of Mathematics can bring out a range of responses in lessons; frustration, humour, surprise and moments where it feels as though it is a great big jigsaw.
While studying Mathematics you will be expected to:
- use mathematical skills and knowledge to solve problems.
- solve quite complicated problems by using mathematical arguments and logic. You will also have to understand and be amused by proof in mathematics.
- simplify real life situations so that you can use mathematics to show what is happening and what might happen in different circumstances.
- use the mathematics that you learn to solve problems that are given to you in real-life context.
- use calculator technology and other resources (such as formulae booklets and statistical tables) effectively and appropriately; understand calculator limitations and know when brain is best!
Students who wish to study the subject in greater depth may also take Further Mathematics as an A Level and the course begins in the Lower Sixth. Those who show significant flair for and ability in Mathematics, and who have derived satisfaction from the study of Mathematics at GCSE should consider this possibility. Potential university mathematicians, physicists and engineers often choose double mathematics, but so too do others such as economists, historians and linguists.
A Further A Level course is studied for those who opt for this route in addition to the regular A Level. Students will study the A Level course in the Lower Sixth, followed by Further Mathematics in the Upper Sixth.
The Further Mathematics AS course comprises again of Core, Mechanics and Statistics but to a higher and more enjoyable level. Students also are encouraged to explore outside the confines of the syllabus and thus it is suited to students who are willing to independently read around the subject.