The new A level mathematics course 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 model situations using algebra and other representations, to help make sense of data, to understand the physical world and to solve problems in a variety of contexts, including social sciences and business. All students will be assessed on their knowledge of Pure Mathematics, Mechanics and Statistics.
Students will build on skills from GCSE including those involving surds, indices, quadratic equations, algebraic inequalities and graphical representations. They will learn to use differentiation and integration in various contexts, extend their knowledge of trigonometry, and work with sequences, functions and binomial expansions.
There is a focus on exploring data as well as learning about probability distributions (normal, binomial and discrete distributions). The language of hypothesis testing is introduced to give students a fascinating insight into how statistics can help reach informed conclusions about questions such as whether a medicine is effective or a jury biased.
Mechanics looks at an elegantly simple mathematical model for physical situations: for example, how high does a cannon ball reach if it is fired at a certain angle at a given velocity? How much brake power must be applied to stop a runaway train? The course covers the equations of motion for systems involving constant acceleration as well as applying Newton’s laws in basic situations.
Students will sit two 2 hour papers in pure mathematics and one 2 hour paper covering the mechanics and statistics content. The specification followed and examining body is Pearson Edexcel.
An advanced level course in Mathematics is good preparation for anyone considering a degree in Mathematics, Engineering, Accountancy, Medicine and many more. Mathematics is also a challenging and stimulating subject to study in its own right, opening the door to many careers after completing Higher Education. It is a useful qualification for entry into career areas such as air traffic control, banking, insurance, science of all types and the armed forces.
GCSE GRADE PROFILE
Students who study this subject will ideally achieve at least Grade 7 in their GCSE mathematics. Grade 6 students who complete a GCSE/A-Level transition package over the summer holidays may also be accepted onto the course.
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