Mathematics A Level
Board: Pearson Edexcel
About the subject
The A level course comprises of pure, statistical and mechanical mathematics. The pure content expands upon the algebra, geometry and trigonometry studied at GCSE and introduces new areas of mathematics such as exponentials and logarithms, calculus, and parametric equations. Skill in algebra is particularly important as it underpins all other topics. Mechanical mathematics covers analysing forces, accelerations, and similar ideas to describe what happens in physical situations. Statistical mathematics extends the work done at GCSE to cover ways of analysing and displaying numerical data from small and large data sets, and of drawing conclusions from these. Probability theory becomes a key tool, with new probability distrubutions being studied. Through the A-level, students will move away from simply following methods towards understanding what they are doing. They will be required to problem solve and to prove.
An AS in Further Maths is offered to students in their second year who achieve well in their first year mathematics exams and wish to study more of the subject
Lessons will comprise of a large range of styles and formats. Students will access the content of the course through a variety of media such as preparatory work (online videos or walk-throughs), explanation of the concepts in class by the teacher, or through independent or group investigation. Students will be given the chance to work individually and cooperatively in class to consolidate their understanding, and engage in short and extended problem-solving tasks. Students need to take an active part in their learning, in monitoring their depth of understanding, and in initiating steps to repair weaknesses as well as completing weekly problem sets and preparatory assignments. Regular tests help students to monitor their own progress and the maths department has well-established support structures in place to enhance success.
Subject Combinations and Progression
Mathematics complements many other subjects and is widely recognised as a useful A level for many degrees and in many professions. The mechanical content goes particularly well with Physics and Design Technology A levels and prepares students for eventual careers in Engineering, Design and Physical Science, amongst others. The statistical content complements a wide range of A levels including Psychology, Sociology, Geography and Biology, and provides a good grounding for any career that includes the need to collate, summarise and interpret data.
Subject Modules and Assessment
Three exam papers are taken at the end of the second year, with the questions comprising of a mixture of pure and applied topics. All papers are 2 hours long.
GCSE grade 6 or higher in Mathematics and a grade 4 in an English GCSE is required to take maths at A-level.