Maths

Head of Department: Mrs J Perry: jperry@kingalfred.somerset.sch.uk

 

What do I need to know?
You will be expected to have achieved at least a grade C in your GCSE and you need to have sat the higher exam.


What will I learn?
Maths at AS and A level is a course worth studying, not only as a supporting subject for Physics, Biology, Geography and Economics, but in its own right. It is challenging but interesting. It builds on work you have met at GCSE, but also involves new ideas. It serves as a very useful support for many other qualifications as well as being a sought-after qualification for the workplace and courses in Higher Education.

While following the course you will be expected to:
• Use mathematical skills and knowledge to solve problems
• Solve quite complicated problems by using mathematical arguments and logic. You will also have to understand and demonstrate what is meant by proof in mathematics.
• Use mathematics as an effective means of communication.
• Simplify real-life situations so that mathematics can be used to show (a) what is happening and (b) what might happen in different circumstances.
• Use the mathematics that you learn to solve problems that are given to you in a real-life context.
• Acquire the skills needed to use technology such as calculators effectively, recognise when such use may be inappropriate and be aware of limitations.
• Develop an awareness of the relevance of mathematics to other fields of study, to the world of work and to society in general.

 

What exams will I need to do?
The course is modular. The AS comprises of three modules and the A2 requires a further three modules. The intention is that you will have completed all three AS modules by the end of year 12.
In year 13 you will sit one module in the January and then complete the A2 in June.

Combinations for AS Level
C1 + C2 + M1
C1 + C2 + D1
Combinations for A Level
C1 + C2 + C3 + C4 + M1 + M2
C1 + C2 + C3 + C4 + D1+ D2
The Core modules C1 - C4 are pure mathematics.
M1 and M2 are Mechanics modules and D1 and D2 are Discrete (Decision) modules.
Each exam is a single paper, C1 is non-calculator.

 

Pure Mathematics
When studying pure mathematics at AS and Advanced GCE you will be extending your knowledge of such topics as algebra and trigonometry as well as learning some brand new ideas such as calculus. If you enjoyed the challenge of problem solving at GCSE, using these mathematical techniques, then you should find the prospect of this course very appealing.
Although 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.
Mechanics
When you study mechanics you will learn how to describe, mathematically, the motion of objects and how they respond to forces acting upon them, from cars in the street to satellites revolving around a planet. You will learn the technique of mathematical modelling; that is, turning a complicated physical problem into a simpler one that can be analysed and solved using mathematical methods.
Many of the ideas you will meet in the course form an almost essential introduction to such important modern fields of study as cybernetics, robotics, biomechanics and sports science, as well as the more traditional areas of engineering and physics.

 

Discrete Mathematics
When you study discrete mathematics you will learn how to solve problems involving networks. You will study a range of methods or algorithms, which enable such problems to be tackled. Many of these problems and their algorithms are of recent origin.
Ideas on this course have many important applications to such different problems as the design of circuits on microchips to the scheduling of tasks required to build a new supermarket.

 

What could I go on to at the end of my course?

AS Level Mathematics
An AS in mathematics is very valuable as a supporting subject to many courses at both A level and degree level, especially in the sciences, geography, psychology, sociology and medical courses. There may also be the opportunity to study Further Maths which could be important to students with particular career choices or those wishing to study mathematics at degree level.
A Level Mathematics
This is a much sought-after qualification for entry to a wide variety of full-time courses in higher education. There are also many areas of employment where a Mathematics qualification would be viewed very favourably.


Higher Education courses or careers that either require Mathematics A level or where one would be beneficial.
• Economics      • Medicine
• Architecture    • Engineering
• Accountancy   • Teaching
• Psychology      • Environmental studies
• Computing       • Information and
                             communication technology

If you wanted to continue your study of mathematics, you could follow a course in mathematics at degree level or even continue further as a postgraduate and get involved in mathematical research.