What does Mathematics A level involve?
Mathematics involves the evolution of theory to devise techniques to solve numerical problems. The subject is correctly seen as subtle, challenging and rewarding. At AS and A level the subject is split into pure and applied mathematics modules. All courses require you to study Pure (C) components. There are also applied mathematics modules covering Statistics (S) and Mechanics (M).
Pure Mathematics includes topics already met at GCSE level such as trigonometry, geometry and algebra. These topics are taken to a more advanced level and the discipline of calculus is also introduced.
Mechanics consists of topics perhaps previously associated more with Physics than with Mathematics. Students learn about forces, motion, and static equilibrium.
Statistics is a study of the collection, organisation, presentation, and analysis of data from real life problems. The aim is to model for future outcomes using probability theory. Those students wishing to study the Statistics (S2) will learn about statistical decision making through hypothesis tests.
Whom does the subject suit?
Mathematics is a useful subject in supporting studies in the Sciences, Social Sciences, Geography, and Computing. Indeed, it can also be studied for its own sake. It is fun to master sophisticated techniques and the skills acquired in logical thinking can be applied across a broad selection of academic disciplines. If you enjoy problem solving, are good at algebra and have at least an A grade in GCSE Mathematics (or an overseas equivalent) then AS/A level Mathematics could be for you.
Those students who have gained an AS in Mathematics at another school and are looking for a change, can apply to join us for the upper sixth to complete their A level in mathematics.
Further Mathematics is aimed at students who have exceptional mathematical ability (A* at GCSE or an overseas equivalent). Again those students who have completed A level Mathematics and have at least a B grade pass can apply to join the second year of the Further Mathematics course.
Who will teach me?
The mathematics tutors are very experienced teachers, dedicated, and highly qualified (amongst their ranks there are three PhDs, and two published authors). More important than the density of 'egg heads' in our team is our ability to relate to our students. Without exception we have developed ways of forming successful learning relationships with our students alongside a knack of explaining complicated concepts in straightforward terms. We are approachable, supportive and aim to maintain a happy but purposeful learning environment. Once you start studying with us you will soon discover the eclectic nature of the characters within the department. I would hate to spoil the prospective students fun by giving too much away in potted biographies. However, you can be sure that we will all demand hard work!
What can I do with my Mathematics qualification?
Both universities and employers hold an A level qualification in Mathematics in high regard. With the appropriate combination of other AS and A levels, A level Mathematics can lead to a wide variety of options when choosing higher education courses. Typical examples include Medicine, Engineering, Law, Business, Social and Political sciences, Natural sciences, and of course Mathematics itself. Similarly the employment opportunities are equally diverse.
Further Mathematics is strongly recommended for those students who wish to apply to those universities listed in the 'top ten' for such subjects as Engineering, Economics, or Mathematics.
Why study Mathematics at d'Overbroeck's?
Some of the reasons for studying mathematics at d'Overbroeck's may have been made clear to you already. The results achieved by the College in this subject over the years, without wishing to crow, are compelling. However, it is the teachers who make the Mathematics Department special. The friendly and purposeful atmosphere attracts enthusiastic and dynamic teachers who are committed to the college in the long term. This has enabled us to generate a considerable expertise in A level Mathematics teaching. We find that most students thrive in this environment and they are quick to sense that they are valued whatever their academic potential.
Frequently asked Questions:
We hope that most of them have been covered but here are some, which have not been addressed:
How much work is a student expected to do outside of lessons?
In the lower sixth students receive four lessons per week and at the end of each lesson they will be given homework. Each of these will take between 60 and 90 minutes to complete. This will go up slightly in the upper sixth.
How frequently are students tested?
Approximately once every three weeks with 'in class' tests and typically twice a term with formal mock examinations.