Mathematics & Further Mathematics

Head of Department: Mr M H Nicholson
Exam board: Edexcel
Qualification name: Mathematics – Further Mathematics
Qualification codes: 9MA0 – 9FM0

NB: This course specification is awaiting accreditation.

What you will study
AS and A Level Mathematics have 100% prescribed content as set by The Department for Education and Ofqual. This means that the specifications from all exam boards are identical. Studying Statistics and Mechanics is compulsory at both AS and A Level. Further Mathematics has 50% (all Pure) prescribed content and the rest is optional. AS and A Level are now separate qualifications.
In the Lower Sixth students study AS Mathematics. Two thirds is Pure including sections on algebra, trigonometry and calculus. One third is Mechanics and Statistics including sections on kinematics, forces, Newton’s laws, probability, statistical distributions and hypothesis testing. In the Upper Sixth students complete the full course, extending their study on sections covered in the AS course.
Students opting to study Further Mathematics complete the full A Level Mathematics course in their Lower Sixth and are taught in their own block. Their Further Mathematics 50% compulsory Pure sections extend into complex numbers, differential equations, matrices, polar coordinates, hyperbolics and further calculus and algebra. The remaining 50% is a choice of optional modules on further pure, further mechanics, further statistics and decision mathematics.

How you will be assessed
AS

Paper 1: Pure
A two-hour paper (worth 100 marks)
Paper 2: Statistics and Mechanics
A one-hour paper (worth 50 marks)
A Level
Students are assessed with three papers that include questions on the AS course material.
Paper 1: Pure
A two-hour paper (worth 100 marks)
Paper 2: Pure
A two-hour paper (worth 100 marks)
Paper 3: Two sections, one each on Statistics and Mechanics
A two-hour paper (worth 100 marks)
Further Mathematics
Students must take four 90-minute papers (worth 75 marks each)
Papers 1 and 2 cover the compulsory 50% Pure sections
Papers 3 and 4 cover the optional Decision and Further Pure, Mechanics and Statistics sections. This allows for ten different routes.

Why choose Mathematics or Further Mathematics?
Studying Mathematics at A Level can be very rewarding and, at the same time, very challenging. Mathematics has a full and varied use in the wider world. The value of Mathematics, and its acceptability for degree courses and careers, is almost without parallel amongst A Level subjects.

Course requirements
Grade A in GCSE Mathematics is the usual minimum standard required to begin a GCE course in the subject. It must also be stressed that achieving a grade A at GCSE does not necessarily mean that success at GCE will follow and some students may still struggle with the jump in standard. Confidence with algebraic techniques is crucial.
Very able mathematicians may wish to study Further Mathematics and they should have achieved an A* in GCSE Mathematics. Entry to the Further Mathematics course is in the Upper Sixth after students complete an accelerated A Level Mathematics course in the Lower Sixth (taught separately). Students therefore need to state their intention to study Further Mathematics from the start of Sixth Form.

Related subjects at Sixth Form
Mathematics may be combined with many other A Level subjects and is a popular choice for many. Traditionally, students taking an A Level in a science subject, in particular Physics, would be expected to take Mathematics. The subject can also be very useful for students studying Economics, Business Studies, Geography and Computing.

Where could this lead?
Studying Mathematics encourages an ability to think logically and employers are keen, therefore, on candidates who have achieved A Level in the subject. Success in Mathematics requires an ability to master complex and difficult problems, a personal characteristic that gives mathematicians an advantage when learning new skills. Employers know that graduates who have studied Mathematics have well developed problem-solving skills.
Further Mathematics is essential for students wishing to apply for Physics and Engineering at top universities, and students without it may be asked at interview why they have not taken the course. It is also highly desirable for those intending to read Mathematics at university.

Further important information
A progress test is taken during the first assessment period to check for a student’s suitability to continue with the course. All papers must be taken in the same exam sitting and so the option of retaking papers is eliminated unless the whole course papers are retaken.
Practice away from the classroom is crucial to gain a high level of success. To help towards this, the department provides Mathematics tutorials every weekday (except Wednesdays) from 4pm-5pm.