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What's Further Maths A Level like?

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Got a question about Student Finance? Ask the experts this week on TSR! 14-09-2014
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    Yes, I know there's more Maths but I wanted to know how people studying it felt about it. I've looked at some past paper's and Further Pure Maths looks really challenging (near unreadable ). Well, A level Maths in general looks tougher, but it really does interest me.

    How do you feel about studying Further Maths at A level? (by the way I might be doing OCR in the college I'm going to)

    Also, I'm doing French and History as my other A levels (yes, I know it's basically a death sentence, but I'm just so hardcore! :cool:) So any opinions on those subjects would also be helpful (History is Edexcel, I'm guessing French is AQA).
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    I don't think it's much harder than normal Maths at all. If you were fine with normal Maths then you should be fine with Further too. I did M1, M2, S2, S3 and FP1 / FP2 and none of them have been particularly hard, FP2 looked like gibberish to me at first but it's not so bad - to be honest, I prefer it to C4 as that tends to require a lot of memorising of trig identities etc and integrals / differentials.
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    It's just more maths essentially. :P
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    As long as you don't pick silly modules like myself, its very easy. It does require a reasonable amount of work though, can't just sail through it on pure ability.

    Avoid M3, M4 at all costs. FP3 too tbh.

    (I may have thrown away my chances at meeting my Oxford offer by doing those modules :/ )
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    (Original post by Xarren)
    As long as you don't pick silly modules like myself, its very easy. It does require a reasonable amount of work though, can't just sail through it on pure ability.

    Avoid M3, M4 at all costs. FP3 too tbh.

    (I may have thrown away my chances at meeting my Oxford offer by doing those modules :/ )
    Tbh, a person should only do further maths if he really like maths otherwise he should opt for another subject. So if he does choose further maths, then he should go for the most interesting modules, like FP3, M3, etc. These aren't difficult just require a bit more work.
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    (Original post by raheem94)
    Tbh, a person should only do further maths if he really like maths otherwise he should opt for another subject. So if he does choose further maths, then he should go for the most interesting modules, like FP3, M3, etc. These aren't difficult just require a bit more work.
    I was a bit too cocky and assumed I could learn M3 and M4 within 3 days before the exam. Oh how wrong was I xD.
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    (Original post by Xarren)
    I was a bit too cocky and assumed I could learn M3 and M4 within 3 days before the exam. Oh how wrong was I xD.
    It takes a long time and practice to grasp some mechanics concepts. Did you used 3 days for revision or preparation from scratch?
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    (Original post by Fool In The Rain)
    I've looked at some past paper's and Further Pure Maths looks really challenging (near unreadable )
    As did the year 7 work when you were in primary school.
    As did the GCSE work when you were in year 8/9
    As did A level when you did GCSE

    Maths, in the main, is simply adapting to new challenges. I personally feel that too many students say "Further Maths is no jump" after they have done S1 and FP1 in the first half of year 12.

    Make no mistake the 2's/3's modules, regardless of board, are designed to be harder. Its all about whether you have (i) The ability (ii) The work ethic/desire (iii) time and (iv) resources/support to make it worth it.

    I find some of the content so rewarding yet if a student doesnt have the 4 elements above it can be a waste of an A level of a case of obtaining a lower grade than you could have in another subject.

    IMO gaining a D or lower in AS or A2 Further Maths is a good enough reason not to take it.
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    (Original post by raheem94)
    It takes a long time and practice to grasp some mechanics concepts. Did you used 3 days for revision or preparation from scratch?
    A bit of both - I was familiar with the concepts from physics, hence I assumed I'd find it very easy. Now I'm hoping I've managed more than 40UMS each, otherwise I'm ****ed
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    (Original post by kozo)
    As did the year 7 work when you were in primary school.
    As did the GCSE work when you were in year 8/9
    As did A level when you did GCSE

    Maths, in the main, is simply adapting to new challenges. I personally feel that too many students say "Further Maths is no jump" after they have done S1 and FP1 in the first half of year 12.

    Make no mistake the 2's/3's modules, regardless of board, are designed to be harder. Its all about whether you have (i) The ability (ii) The work ethic/desire (iii) time and (iv) resources/support to make it worth it.

    I find some of the content so rewarding yet if a student doesnt have the 4 elements above it can be a waste of an A level of a case of obtaining a lower grade than you could have in another subject.

    IMO gaining a D or lower in AS or A2 Further Maths is a good enough reason not to take it.
    I don't completely agree with you.

    (i) Ability
    Do A-Level content really needs ability? :confused:
    Most of the questions are straight forward questions, these don't require ability. Ability is more tested in STEP questions.

    (ii) work ethic/desire
    This is the most important thing.

    (iii) time
    If you have the desire then you can do it in less time as well, most of the units can be completely self-studied in less than 10 days.

    (iv) resources
    I feel the book is more than enough for preparation for A-Level maths/further maths.
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    (Original post by Xarren)
    A bit of both - I was familiar with the concepts from physics, hence I assumed I'd find it very easy. Now I'm hoping I've managed more than 40UMS each, otherwise I'm ****ed
    Which board are you on?

    I did edexcel M3 in jan, though i made some very silly mistakes in the exam
    I haven't done M4 nor am i going to do it, but will be taking FP3 exam this month.
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    (Original post by Xarren)
    I was a bit too cocky and assumed I could learn M3 and M4 within 3 days before the exam. Oh how wrong was I xD.
    me too, i did some STEP questions and thought that A Levels were below me, hope it works out better for M5

    and OP, dont worry, it only looks hard, looking at all those formulas for further maths in the formula booklet is scary- but if you're already good at C3 and C4 it should be easy.

    EDIT: the downside is, there are only about two girls in the entire class
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    (Original post by blacklistmember)
    me too, i did some STEP questions and thought that A Levels were below me, hope it works out better for M5

    and OP, dont worry, it only looks hard, looking at all those formulas for further maths in the formula booklet is scary- but if you're already good at C3 and C4 it should be easy.

    EDIT: the downside is, there are only about two girls in the entire class
    I go to an all boys. There are no girls in the class xD.

    The UMS had better be nice. If I marked my paper correctly (From memory) I need above 96 UMS on FP2 to meet my oxford offer. I did mark myself as harshly as possible though.
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    (Original post by Xarren)
    I go to an all boys. There are no girls in the class xD.

    The UMS had better be nice. If I marked my paper correctly (From memory) I need above 96 UMS on FP2 to meet my oxford offer. I did mark myself as harshly as possible though.
    there are marking schemes for FP1, M3 and M4 on this site
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    (Original post by blacklistmember)
    there are marking schemes for FP1, M3 and M4 on this site
    Yeah, I used those to work out that 96ums requirement.
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    (Original post by raheem94)
    I don't completely agree with you.

    (i) Ability
    Do A-Level content really needs ability? :confused:
    Most of the questions are straight forward questions, these don't require ability. Ability is more tested in STEP questions.

    (ii) work ethic/desire
    This is the most important thing.

    (iii) time
    If you have the desire then you can do it in less time as well, most of the units can be completely self-studied in less than 10 days.

    (iv) resources
    I feel the book is more than enough for preparation for A-Level maths/further maths.
    After teaching both for some years let's look at the national cohort. The regular students on her are not representative of that cohort.

    The number of pupils capable of starting A level maths (based on all pupils starting equally in year 7) is not high. From memory about 1 in 5 or 6 get an A or higher by the end of GCSE. There is, IMO, the first requirement.
    You then have a vast range of students of students starting AS with a number not making it to the end of AS. From experience this is about 1/5 to 1/4 of pupils. You then have those who can't cut it at AS and obtain D grades and below.
    When you filter all those through there has to be some level of ability to complete an A level in maths. This number is a relatively low % of the original year 7 cohort.

    Your suggestion of a unit in 10 days is again reserved for very capable students. It happens but its certainly not common.
    We are given from September to May to teach C1/C2/S1 on 4 hours per week plus an expected minimum of 5 hours in the pupils own time.
    Your suggestion is that these 3 could be done in September. This is simply not the case for the national cohort.

    Your suggestion of self study again is based on your own experience. This is simply not the case for many students. I would say its a very small minority who want to go it alone.

    The idea that all can pick up a book and use that as there only resource is again basing this on your own, limited, experience.

    I understand that you may be doing well in your A level but your suggestions are very much based on your own or your friends (whether it be on here or at school) experiences and not that of a teacher/school who has put years of mixed ability pupils through the system.

    Heck, how on earth are around 15-20% of pupils failing modules (this is edexcel data) every session?
    Answer? ability, drive and desire, quality of teaching/resources are all huge factors.

    I mean no ill feeling in my post but feel there is a world of A level beyond good students who are able and motivated. I know very few students who would be happy to help in a maths forum at 7/8am in the morning
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    (Original post by kozo)
    I mean no ill feeling in my post but feel there is a world of A level beyond good students who are able and motivated.
    Good post, after being on TSR for a while you tend to forget that it isn't representative of most students. I can see the point of the view that Maths and FM aren't particularly hard for someone motivated. I have self studied and can attest that some modules can be learnt from the book in just over a week, especially the applied ones. I learnt S2 from the textbook over a period of about a month with about 4-5 hours per week, so about 20-25 hours counting time spent doing past papers before the exam.

    But what I think raheem94 is forgetting is that we're talking about A level here. Relative to other A levels Maths IS harder and more time consuming. When I think about the other A levels I did, I spent far, far less time on them. Infact, they were an absolute joke in comparison (Computing, Business, Graphics). Sure there are other hard A levels e.g Economics or Science but the point is the majority of subjects are far easier than Maths and FM.
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    It is fun, I do D1 which isn't that hard, I do FP1 which is more difficult but not too hard, just work and you'll do fine!

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