A Level Maths (Reformed), September 2017 onwards
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 gives students the skills 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.” - Stefan Banach
Alongside the general entry requirements to Sixth Form, students must achieve at least a Grade 6 in GCSE Maths and have at least a grade 5 in two Science GCSEs.
During the Mathematics A Level students will study three specific areas, pure mathematics, statistics and mechanics. These will examined in three papers, the first two of which will focus on the pure content and the third will cover both statistics and mechanics. Each paper is equally weighted meaning that pure mathematics represents two thirds of the course, with the rest being split between statistics and mechanics.
The topics build upon GCSE knowledge but explore more advanced and challenging branches of mathematics. A toolkit of mathematical techniques will be developed for use in more and more sophisticated scenarios and in the applied modules. Statistics applies mathematical modelling to a range of situations including probability, correlation, and natural distributions of data. Students will be taught how a series of analytical tools that will then be applied to a ‘large data set’, i,e, a collection of data that students will have access to prior to the exam. The world of forces, movement and energy is studied in the mechanics section. Finding centres of gravity, coefficients of resistance and rates of acceleration gives much opportunity for practical lessons where predictions can be tested and formulae applied to real-world systems.
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.
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.
As the course is delivered as separate modules, it is vital that students keep their notes organised and accessible. They should have individual folders for each module, sorted into chapters. Notes and assessment should be filed in the correct place, along with any revision material the student has sourced themselves. Even in the unlikely scenario that a student has no specific homework to complete, they could benefit greatly from making sure their notes are in order and reviewing previous chapters.
- www.mymaths.co.uk has an excellent series of lessons and online assessments on the A Level topics.
- www.mathsnetalevel.com breaks down each module into topics then offers tutorial videos, exam questions, marked answers, and timed assessments.
- www.khanacademy.com a huge series of interconnected video tutorials from primary school maths right through to degree level.