Mathematics & Further Mathematics
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A Level Mathematics builds from GCSE level Mathematics and introduces calculus and its applications. It emphasises how mathematical ideas are interconnected and how mathematics can be applied to help make sense of data, to understand the physical world and to solve problems in a variety of contexts. It prepares students for further study and employment in a wide range of disciplines involving the use of mathematics and is highly regarded by employers, universities and colleges for a wide range of courses and careers.
The course consists of three elements, all assessed through examinations.
You will be extending your knowledge and skills in topics such as algebra and trigonometry, as well as learning some brand new ideas such as calculus.
Although many of the ideas are interesting, they also serve as an important foundation for the other branches of Mathematics.
Mechanics is essentially the mathematics of force and motion. You will learn the technique of mathematical modelling – turning a complicated physical problem into a simpler one that can be analysed and solved using mathematical methods. Many of the ideas you will meet will form an introduction to such modern fields as cybernetics, robotics, biomechanics and sports science, as well as the more traditional ideas of engineering and physics.
Statistics involves the extension of ideas of data handling and probability involved in GCSE Mathematics with a view to being able to draw conclusions or answers to questions such as
‘Does drug X reduce heart attacks?’. Many of the ideas encountered have applications in a wide variety of fields such as risk analysis or quality assurance on a production line.
A Level Further Mathematics
If you enjoy Mathematics and are looking for a challenge and a chance to explore new and/or more sophisticated mathematical concepts, then you may benefit from taking Further Mathematics.
This is a rewarding and stimulating course which enables you to distinguish yourself as an able mathematician in the university and employment market, and it will certainly prepare you for the transition to a Mathematics-related university course.
In addition to A Level Mathematics, more pure mathematics is studied, including complex numbers and matrices, plus further work on statistics and introducing decision mathematics which involves the use of algorithms to solve a wide range of practical problems such as the scheduling of complex projects, transport planning and the routing of telecommunication messages.
There is the option to study Further Mathematics as an AS level or the full A Level; both options are available in the second year of your studies and are assessed through examinations.