The Mathematics AEA is aimed at the top candidates studying the A-level Mathematics course, regardless of examination board and syllabus. The Mathematics AEA is set by Edexcel, with exam code 9801, although all boards participate in forming the paper and questions. It is accessible to all students but is mainly aimed at those who are predicted an A grade for their mathematics A-level. It is only based on the core of A-level mathematics, i.e. C1, C2, C3, C4; there are no applied mathematics questions nor anything from the further mathematics syllabus (unlike STEP).
It is one three-hour long paper that consists of about seven questions. Questions may be multi-step with confidence building parts or unstructured. Some may be of an unusual nature that might include topics from GCSE and logic based items. Questions may be open-ended.
Seven percent of the marks will be assigned for style and clarity of mathematical presentation. The examiners will seek to reward elegance of solution, insight in reaching a solution, rigour in developing a mathematical argument and excellent use of notation.
The use of scientific or graphical calculators will NOT be allowed and nor will computer algebra systems.
Candidates will be required to remember the same formulae as for GCE Advanced level Mathematics. They will also be expected to be familiar with the Mathematical Notation agreed for GCE Advanced level Mathematics.
Assessment materials and mark schemes will lead to awards on a two-point scale: Distinction and Merit, with Distinction being the higher. Candidates who do not reach the minimum standard for Merit will be recorded as ungraded.
Performance level descriptors have been developed to indicate the level of attainment that is characteristic of Distinction and Merit. They give a general indication of the required learning outcomes at each level. The grade awarded will depend in practice upon the extent to which the candidate has met the assessment objective overall. Shortcomings in some aspects of the examination may be balanced by better performances in others.
Candidates who achieve Distinction will demonstrate understanding and command of most of the topics tested. Candidates who achieve a Merit will demonstrate understanding and command of many of the topics tested.
Performance Level Descriptors
The ability to:
- handle complex mathematical expressions accurately
- exhibit insight and clarity of thought
- adopt effective and imaginative mathematical strategies to produce logically coherent and elegant solutions to problems
- set out formal proofs, generalise and pick out special cases
- detect and correct faulty logic
- cope with unfamiliar and unstructured questions
The AEA in Mathematics has been extended to June 2015, as confirmed by Edexcel here. It is the sole AEA to be available after June 2009 (when the other AEAs were withdrawn), presumably reflecting the fact that the new Mathematics GCE A-level would not be taught until September 2011, and the first new AS exams would be in the 2012 sessions. It will probably be withdrawn after summer 2015.
For More Information
For more information, as well as specimen and past papers, please see: