Mathematics

A Level

An essential part of maths is the challenge of analysing and solving a problem and the satisfaction and confidence gained from achieving a ‘correct’ answer. However, a big difference between GCSE and A Level is the depth of knowledge and understanding needed.  If you like understanding why, rather than just being able to “do” maths then A Level is for you; there are a much smaller number of topics than at GCSE so your depth of knowledge and understanding is tested.

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Course content

The course develops understanding of:

  • The fundamental theories and concepts of Mathematics
  • The practical applications of Mathematics to other areas
  • Logical problem solving

The course is made up of a combination of pure and applied Mathematics.

The pure Maths content build on the algebra, graphs and trigonometry from GCSE, and introduce new topics such as calculus and exponentials. While many of the ideas you will meet in pure maths are interesting in their own right, they also serve as an important foundation for other branches of maths, especially mechanics and statistics.

The applied content covers;

  • Mechanics including work on forces and Newton’s laws of motion and applies Mathematical modelling to simple problems.
  • Statistics builds on work on averages and probabilities from GCSE and introduces topics such as probability distributions and correlation.

How the course is delivered

You will have one teacher for the course each year.  Lessons include a variety of group, paired and individual work, resources you will draw on include text books, exam questions and jigsaw/domino/card matching activities as well as web-sites.

Support outside lessons is available, both informally and formally.  Regular “maths clinic” sessions are run during the college week and all of the department are available for support at lunchtime and at the end of the day.

Departmental Enrichment

The Maths Department offers a number of enrichment activities:

The Individual Senior Maths Challenge takes place in the autumn term.

The Team Challenge involves our students competing against other maths students both at a regional and national level.

The Advanced Extension Award is designed to challenge the top 10% of students and is offered to all students excelling in their A Level Maths course.

We also run an engineering enrichment aimed at students who want to go on to careers using maths and physics, but are not certain what choice to make.  It is a series of external speakers talking about a variety of careers.  This includes a wide variety of talks, examples include; civil engineering; financial mathematical modelling; operating a production plant; designing and testing artificial body tissues.

We also take a group of students to the Maths Enrichment talks in Leeds each year. These are always very popular and include topics such as “the maths of juggling”, “musical maths”, and “the maths behind the dam busters”.

What can I do now that would help prepare me for this course?

Students who have taken GCSE Maths early may find they need to review what they have learnt at GCSE through the summer, maths skills need to be kept in use.  Many Maths students enjoy extending their knowledge of maths and there are many ways of doing this including;

Use of websites such as  www.nrich.co.uk           www.furthermaths.org.uk

Reading books such as

“Alex’s Adventures in Numberland” by Alex Bellos

“The music of primes” by Marcus Du Sautoy

“Fermat’s Last Theorem” by Simon Singh

“A Mathematician’s Apology” by GH Hardy

“Littlewood’s Miscellany” edited by Bells Bollobas

“The Man Who Loved Only Numbers” by Paul Hoffman

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