Mathematics is a fundamental subject; therefore skilled mathematicians are always in demand. A Level mathematics is a facilitating subject and will pave the way for many careers. On its own or in conjunction with other subjects, mathematics has always been highly regarded and many universities offer a wide variety of degree courses involving mathematics either as a subject in isolation or as part of a requirement for other courses.
Summary of course content
The new specification for mathematics is fixed for all students and two thirds of the curriculum is pure mathematics. This will include:
- Algebra and functions
- Coordinate geometry in the (x,y) plane
- Sequences and series
- Differentiation and integration
- Exponentials and logarithms
- Numerical methods
The other third is applied mathematics and is evenly divided between mechanics (particularly useful for students also studying science) and statistics (which readily complements a range of subjects such as economics, geography and psychology). There is an increased emphasis on the use of technology, particularly within statistics where more realistic (larger) datasets are now used.
This is a linear course with three examinations completed at the end of Year 13. Each exam in two hours long and calculators are allowed throughout. The first two papers examine the pure content whilst the third covers applied mathematics. Internal assessments will be completed regularly throughout the course to monitor progress and attainment. There is no coursework element.
How the course differs from GCSE
The new specifications have been designed to build on the new GCSE specification. Results of this include:
• enabling students to acquire knowledge and skills with confidence, satisfaction and enjoyment
• giving students the experience of mathematical activities and develop resourcefulness in problem solving
• enabling students to apply mathematics and recognise its significance to other disciplines
• developing students’ understanding of mathematical reasoning.
Where the course leads
In addition to using expected combinations of maths/science and mathematics/computer science to pursue degrees, students can apply for combined courses including subjects such as music, psychology, management studies and foreign languages. Many students also go on to study medicine, engineering or veterinary sciences.
Special entry requirements
This course is for students who have achieved a grade 7-9 in mathematics at GCSE. Consequently students will be expected to have studied the higher GCSE course and have a high degree or mathematical ability. Students will have to be highly motivated and able to work hard to meet deadlines. There is more to the course than just attending lessons. Students must be logical thinkers, good problem solvers and enjoy a challenge. We want students to enjoy mathematics!