The Subject of Mathematics
Mathematics, and after GCSE, is divided into two sections, which are known as Pure and Applied Mathematics. Pure Mathematics (known more recently to students as Core Mathematics) comprises of the traditional areas of calculus, algebra, geometry and trigonometry. The modules take specific strands of Mathematics and “apply” them to real life situations. Physics and Engineering students will use the techniques of Mechanics, whereas Statistics will be used by Social Sciences and Medicine. Decision Mathematics underpins some of the operations used in ICT and Business Modelling. As well as the many and varied applications it supports, Mathematics is a highly regarded subject in its own right and provides an essential foundation for many university courses. Mathematics graduates enjoy a very high level of employment across a wide range of careers.
The Skills Required to Study Mathematics at A-Level
Mathematics beyond GCSE requires dedication, determination and focus. You should have enjoyed Mathematics at GCSE and be genuinely interested in furthering your knowledge of the subject. It can be demanding at times, both in terms of complexity of the problems to be solved and the volume of content that is to be covered. As such, Mathematics at A Level is not an easy subject – not only is a good grade required at GCSE, but an ability to manipulate the GCSE material is essential (simultaneous equations, quadratic equations, coordinate geometry and transformations, for example). Nonetheless, we cater for a range of abilities at A Level, and can provide supplementary support throughout the year, if necessary. Students who make the most of the opportunities this subject has to offer are often able to apply their study skills, independence of thought, and analytical approach to university life and beyond.
The Mathematics Faculty at Tupton Hall School is extremely proud of the achievements of its students. A 100% pass rate at A2 Level Mathematics has been achieved for the last three years, due to the commitment and hard work demonstrated by both students and staff alike. Since the introduction of A* grade three years ago, 12 students have achieved this prestigious grade across Mathematics and Further Mathematics. Additionally, each year a number of our students take part in the UKMT Mathematics Challenges – individual and team events, and have the opportunity to progress to national level competitions, according to their ability. All students follow the AQA modular course. Students are required to complete three modules for an AS Level qualification and a further three for A2. Each module is equally weighted, all being assessed by a ninety minute examination.
A Level Mathematics
To study Mathematics at A Level it is essential that you enjoyed Mathematics at GCSE and that you are genuinely interested in furthering your knowledge of the subject. Students must be prepared to demonstrate high levels of commitment to their studies, both in class and independently to be successful and make satisfactory progress at A Level. Students who chose to study Mathematics at A-Level complete four modules of Core Mathematics and two out of the three Applied Modules. Initially students build on the Mathematical skills covered with the Higher GCSE Syllabus, focusing on their skills in algebraic manipulation, quadratics, simultaneous equations, co-ordinate geometry and trigonometry. These concepts underpin the whole course and are relied upon as new areas of Mathematics are introduced through the study of calculus, polynomials, functions and further Trigonometry. All students are required to study two applied modules from Statistics, Mechanics and Decision Mathematics. All the applied modules utilise the skills and understanding developed in the Core Mathematics element of the course, requiring the student to interpret and analysis real life applications of Mathematics.
A Level Further Mathematics
For a small number of students who are passionate about the subject and who also have considerable ability, the option of studying Further Mathematics is possible. Students who study Further Mathematics should be genuinely interested in Mathematics and its applications. Although this is an entire A Level in its own right, it can only be studied in addition to A Level Mathematics, as it extends many of the concepts contained within that course. The structure of the Further Mathematics course is similar to that of Mathematics. Pure Mathematics modules involve studying Complex Numbers, Differential Equations and Matrices. The Applied Mathematics modules are continuations of those studied for Mathematics. The Further Mathematics course will develop Mathematical skills beyond those required for A Level Mathematics. Students will gain more of an insight into how Mathematics is used in different areas, for example the application of complex numbers to the design of aerofoils and the use of Coding Theory in transmission of data over the Internet. They will improve their understanding of fundamental Mathematical concepts, which will be essential if they go on to study the subject at university. Hopefully students will gain an appreciation of Mathematics as a subject in its own right and will develop the ability to recognise elegance in Mathematical proof. The subject is very demanding but is potentially very satisfying, as well as being an extremely worthwhile qualification for any potential engineer, scientist or anyone thinking of reading Mathematics at university. Anyone who is considering reading Science or Engineering at Cambridge or Oxford is recommended to take Further Mathematics.
Due to the nature and complexity of the Mathematics covered, a minimum requirement at GCSE is a grade B (or equivalent) and grade A (or equivalent) for Further Maths. Students below this academic level will find both the topics taught and the pace of the course too challenging. A summer study pack is also expected to be completed before starting the course. This is aimed at refreshing key skills that have been taught at GCSE as well as ensuring a good work ethic from our prospective students.
The Use of Mathematics beyond A-Level
Mathematics is universally highly regarded, although some employers require or expect other specific qualifications. The skills developed through the study of Mathematics at A-Level are transferable, as well as specific. For any degree with a numerate component, A Level Mathematics is highly valued due to the development of analytic and logical skills of the A Level Mathematician and it is acknowledged that the generic skills developed in A Level Mathematics are very valuable. For those students who go onto pursue a course with a high Mathematical content at a competitive university, there is evidence that studying Further Mathematics at A-Level is highly regarded and stands students in good stead.
For more information speak to Mr Walton or Miss Pye.