An essential part of Mathematics 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 want to understand why, rather than just being able to “do” Mathematics, then through A Level Maths your depth of knowledge and understanding will grow. The exams for A Level Maths are taken after your 2 years of the course and they will be different to what you faced in GCSE as they will test a lot more of your understanding. There are many marks for showing how you got the answer; if you choose Maths you will not have to write essays, but you will need to be able to communicate well in written work to explain your solutions.
The A Level course lasts for 2 years with all exams taken at the end of the second year. Students receive 4 lessons each week and additional work is done out of lesson, some of which is producing worked solutions to exam-type questions.
All external examinations are taken at the end of the 2 year course.
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 Mathematics content builds on the algebra, graphs and trigonometry from GCSE, and introduces new topics such as calculus and exponentials. While many of the ideas you will meet in pure Mathematics are interesting in their own right, they also serve as an important foundation for other branches of Mathematics, 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 “mathematics clinic” sessions are run during the college week and all of the department are available for support at lunchtime.
The Mathematics 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.
STEP is designed to challenge the top students and is offered to all students aiming for a place at the more prestigious universities.
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”.
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