What is A-Level Mathematics?

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.

What you'll do

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.

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, are good at algebra and have at least a grade 7 in GCSE Mathematics (or an overseas equivalent) then A level Mathematics could be for you.

Further Mathematics is aimed at students who have exceptional mathematical ability (grade 8 or 9 at GCSE or an overseas equivalent).

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, 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.