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When learning mathematics, you are always building on the knowledge and skills you have already acquired. This continues to be true in the Sixth Form and, in addition, you will need to be able to apply standard techniques to new situations and to select the correct method to solve a particular problem. The feeling of achievement that comes from finally solving what at first seems to be an intractable problem is unique to the subject.

A Level Mathematics can be studied in combination with any other subject and is a particularly good complement to the sciences, economics or geography. However, wherever your main interest may lie, if you are good at and enjoy mathematics, it is worth considering pursuing the subject in the Sixth Form. The analytical and problem-solving techniques which are developed at this level are valued in many disciplines and are highly regarded by employers.

Course content

  • Pure Mathematics, which extends the algebra and trigonometry met at IGCSE/GCSE (or equivalent) and introduces topics such as calculus.
  • Mechanics, in which the motion of objects and how they respond to forces acting upon them are modelled mathematically.
  • Statistics, which extends the handling data topics and probability from IGCSE/GCSE to include the use of statistics when testing hypotheses. 

Assessment

Students follow the Linear A Level course. We follow OCR specification A.  Assessment will be by 3 examinations, all taken at the end of the two year course.  The papers will be of equal weighting (100 marks each), and will last 2 hours each.

The content will be as follows:

Paper 1    Pure Maths

Paper 2    Pure Maths and Statistics

Paper 3     Pure Maths and Mechanics

FAQs

What support is available for students doing Maths in the Sixth Form? 

Plenty! There will be timetabled sessions of support - normally at lunchtime, although this is broadened as we approach exam time in the Spring Term. You will find, too, that staff are more than happy to provide support at other times, outside of lessons, either in person or by email. It is important that you are honest and keep talking with staff about how you are getting on. Support is also given to students who are preparing for aptitude tests, as part of their university application. Such tests include STEP, TMUA and MAT.

What enrichment opportunities are there in Maths? 
All students who take Maths take part in competitions throughout the two years of their course. These include the UKMT Senior Maths Challenge (and any subsequent rounds if students qualify), the Maths Olympiad for Girls, the BEBRAS Challenge and the UKMT Senior Team Maths Challenge. Students are encouraged to take an active part in the MEI RITANGLE Competition. There are regular, timetabled, lunchtime sessions of Maths enrichment. These help students to prepare for the competitions referred to above, as well as simply giving the opportunity for healthy mathematical discussion. In addition to these, there are opportunities, on an occasional basis, for students to take part in educational visits of a mathematical nature.
Do you think I am suitable for A Level/Higher Level IB Maths? 
If you have achieved, or anticipate that you will achieve at least a grade 7 at GCSE/IGCSE Maths, then you have the necessary ability to consider Maths courses in the sixth form. Most important is to think about why you want to take a Maths course. It may be a necessary qualification in order to allow you to follow your chosen career path. The most important thing, however, is to enjoy the challenge of tackling Maths problems, and to be prepared to spend hours working with Maths.
Is there any flexibility about grade requirements for A Level/IB? 

Not really - if you have taken GCSE/IGCSE, the requirements are:

7 or above for Single A Level

8 or 9 for Further A Level or Higher Level IB

Standard Level IB is considered by the Sixth Form Admissions Team on an individual basis.

If you have not taken GCSE/IGCSE, then applications are considered on an individual basis.

How many teachers am I likely to have for Maths? 

Single A Level - normally two teachers. This would be one for Pure and Statistics, one for Pure and Mechanics.

Further A Level - normally three teachers. This would be one for Pure and Statistics, one for Pure and Mechanics and then a third for Pure Maths, including much of the Further Pure Maths content.

Am I at a disadvantage if I haven’t done Additional Maths in Year 11?
 
It is an advantage if you have taken Additional Maths, or at least if you have met some of the content, without necessarily taking the exam. Having a previous knowledge of some topics, such as differential and integral calculus, exponentials and logs, and the binomial expansion, certainly gives you a head start. That said, these topics are taught in Year 12 with no prior understanding assumed, so Additional Maths is not a requirement for A Level (Single or Further) nor Higher Level IB.
What is the main difference between GCSE and A Level Maths? Is A Level a lot harder?
 

The main difference is in terms of the pace at which you are expected to tackle problems. For example, algebraic manipulation needs to be performed more quickly than in Year 11, whilst avoiding errors, thus allowing students to move on to the more challenging part of the question. 

Clearly, some concepts which you will be introduced to are more difficult than you have seen before, however it is the nature of the problems which you will find hard. Questions are often quite “open”, so that students need to decide which method might be appropriate, in order to move forward.