What is A-Level Further Maths?
Mathematics involves the evolution of theory to devise techniques to solve numerical problems. The subject is correctly seen as subtle, challenging and rewarding. At A level, you will sit papers in both Pure and Applied Mathematics. Two-thirds of the course is pure, exploring many of the topics studied at GCSE including algebra, geometry and trigonometry, as well as powerful new analytical tools such as calculus. The remainder of the course is split between Mechanics and Statistics.
Mechanics consists of topics perhaps previously associated more with Physics than with Mathematics. Students learn about forces, motion, and static equilibrium. You will learn to model the path of a projectile, why some ladders are safer than others and why trebuchets are so much more effective than ballistae.
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 and test hypotheses using probability theory, a tool essential to evidence-based research with applications ranging from predicting the weather to analysing the effectiveness of new medication.
What you'll do
Students on the Maths and Further Maths course complete the Maths A level in the first year, equivalent to the work done by students on a Maths course in two years.
In the second year, students complete their Further Maths A level. Half of the course develops the Pure Mathematics studied in the first year, exploring such mysterious and powerful objects as matrices, polar coordinates, imaginary numbers and eigenvectors. There are a number of options available for the other half; most students will pursue further work in both Mechanics and Statistics but if a student has a particular desire and motivation to focus on one of these, or indeed to take Pure maths even further, we aim to accommodate and support this.
Whom does this 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, have strong algebraic skills and at least a grade 8 in GCSE Mathematics (or an overseas equivalent) then A level Maths and Further Maths could be for you.
What might the subject lead to?
Both universities and employers hold an A level qualification in Mathematics in high regard. With the appropriate combination of other A levels, 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 aspire to apply to high-ranking universities for such subjects as Engineering, Economics, or Mathematics.