It’s a question that gets asked a lot here on TSR. And that’s <img width="40%" align="right" src="https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/images/cms/snippet/2016-07/Telescope.png" alt="telescope in the future" style="margin-right: 20px; margin-left: 20px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;">understandable – maths forms the basis of lots of other subjects, such as economics, chemistry and physics.


Lots of students are unsure if they’ll be able to handle the complexity of stepping up a level, the workload, and all the exams. We sought some advice from TSR users who are currently taking, or have taken Maths at A-level.

Some students found it very difficult…


“If I had the choice between slamming my penis in the car door and doing it again, I would only be doing maths once :P”
-09HB
“Just horrible. Some people claim chemistry is harder, but maths is by far the hardest A-level. It really does count on how much you enjoy maths and how much work you’re willing to put into it.”
- rimstone
“LOL A Level maths is basically every topic I hate in Maths put in to one whole level of Veteran style questions.”
LearnForYOU
…but other students found it easy:


“I'd say AS Maths is my easiest A level. I have done barely any work for it versus my other subjects.
If you listen and do a lot of questions from the textbook in lessons then you don't need to do revision other than a few papers before any mocks/exams.”
-Pentaquark
“Well compared the GCSE maths, I found AS slightly easier. If you work hard throughout the year and start past papers at around March, there's no reason you can’t get A's.”
- HopelessMedic
<img width="40%" align="left" src="https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/images/cms/snippet/2016-07/Maths_bits&bobs.png" alt="telescope in the future" style="margin-right: 20px; margin-left: 20px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;">
“AS Maths for me personally felt easier than my GCSEs, but the modular structure was new to me (which I actually preferred - one bad exam has less of an effect on your overall grade). A2 wasn't a huge step up either. With Further Maths, however, I had to constantly worry about not dropping careless marks.”
Ayman!
So, what is the jump like from GCSE to A-Level?


“The jump from GCSE to A-Level maths is massive if you're algebra isn't great. Every single module involves algebra at A-Level, even statistics. But to be honest, due to the changes in the GCSE spec in the last few years, I think the step up has been reduced. The first module you'll do in maths is C1, which is the easiest exam you'll ever do if you are good at algebra. The step-up comes in C2, where the level of understanding really does increase. But if you do statistics, the jump isn't very big until the last couple of topics: the normal distribution and discrete random variables. You still do the mean, median and mode; quartiles; box plots, histograms; correlation which is just plugging numbers into a formula”.
- Kennz
“I've only done maths A level so far (nothing from the FM spec) but it is definitely a big step up from GCSE. A major difference is the increase in workload - I have 6 maths exams, each 90mins long, this summer!!


As to why it is harder than GCSE? Because it's so so so different. The first month in September will feel alien to you. You will soon get used to the increased work load however and by October, it should not feel too bad.

As soon as you get to grips with the basics of differentiation and integration, the modules should become progressively more enjoyable. I found C1 by far the most boring but C4 was really interesting because it was significantly harder and more challenging. You'll quickly learn that basic maths is now just assumed knowledge - you will not get marks in an A level paper for every single calculation you do!”
-98Matt
How do they differ from one another?
<img width="40%" align="right" src="https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/images/cms/snippet/2016-07/illustrations-06.png" alt="rubicks cube" style="margin-right: 20px; margin-left: 20px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;">


“Much less focus on real-life applications/context. Questions require strong algebraic and numerical skills, so an A* or A at GCSE is essential. You do need to be able to devise your own methods to work through unstructured problems (especially in the new A-Level from September 2017), and to use mathematical techniques and notation precisely in doing so.”
HapaxOromenon3
“Nicer spread of content via exams”
Student403
“A Level is when you start to find out what "real maths" actually is (although not to the same extent as at degree level). In A Level you are introduced to some of the most important parts of mathematics, such as calculus (differentiation and integration).”
AlesanaWill
“Honestly, it's just denser content within a shorter period of time. You also have a bit more freedom (depending on your school) of what path you want to go down regarding topics. You also get to understand why concepts work as opposed to "this is how you do it". That was the thing I felt was different to GCSE”.
- Slowbro93
Do I need to start revising over the summer?


“Enjoy your summer, you'll have plenty of time to study once term starts. Just relax for a bit, you won't get that opportunity to just do nothing over your holidays till the end of your A-Levels, might as well enjoy it whilst you can.”
- Zacken
Finally, here’s some advice from people who have covered the distance between GCSE and A-Level:


“It's really not so bad as people may make it out to be. I myself have not been amongst the high ability classes (maths wise) and have been expecting to scrape a B grade, but I have managed to get an A from vigorous studying “
RDKGames
“I'd say start early and do a lot of work at home as well.”
Trapz99
<img width="40%" align="left" src="https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/images/cms/snippet/2016-07/Exam_paper.png" alt="exam paper question mark" style="margin-right: 20px; margin-left: 20px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;">
“You should have a love for maths. This doesn't necessarily mean you enjoyed GCSE maths, because that's not really a true representation of what maths is. Take a look at some of the content of mathematics courses at a higher level. You might not understand much, but it might give you a flavour of what it's actually like.”
AlesanaWill
“Be open minded and enjoy the concepts”
Slowbro93
And most importantly:


“You can ask the best forum on TSR for help whenever you get stuck!”
Student403

Are you going into maths A-Level this year? What are you most worried about?


And if you’ve already been through maths or further maths A-Level, what advice would you have for those starting it this year?