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# Why is A-level maths SO much harder than every other A-level? Watch

1. It's not.
2. (Original post by Maths is Life)
two words - it's not
three words - for some people.

You should go into a maths qualification with the determination.

It seems from your paragraph you excel at essay writing as I do not.

I got an A* in A level maths and treated it as enrichment because I enjoyed it.

On the other hand I didn't enjoy writing essays in economics as much as learning the theory. I got a B.

It's a simple statement/fact that mathematicians know.
You do not revise maths
- YOU PRACTICE IT.

my advice would be to understand everything and complete past papers as fast as you can.

- The only reason you are given 90 minutes per unit is to check answers.
3. (Original post by RDKGames)
Then without any offense, maths isn't for you. If you genuinely do not understand why you do anything in the subject, and cannot get to grips with it, then it's not something you should continue to do at any higher education course. If you need it for your course at uni, at least make sure you understand whatever it is concerning your course. Try and go for a B and you'll be fine.
Spoiler:
Show
Differentiation finds the rate of change of one variable with respect to another throughout a given function.
Oh i know that then, you worded it funny, but it finds the gradient, thats the thing, i know that, but i dont know why the gradient is relevant and how differentiation fundamentally works. I get that its a formula of some sort or whatever.
I want to go on to do economics, Maths in economics makes entire sense, as the letters mean something and they aren't just referred to as a 'number'. I need context to understand fully.
4. (Original post by Bulletzone)
I'm finding AS Maths nice, but Psychology ..... (I dropped that faster than the Prices at sports direct)
Same I had to drop history ASAP Lool. What subjects do you do?
5. (Original post by lw8)
One thing you can do is get 100%, i'm still convinced no examiner has ever given 100% in an essay based subject, in maths you're right or you're wrong, for people that are good at it, it's easier to get higher.
Sorry your wrong here I know because despite original A levels that were not great I did actually get 100% in an essay based exam. It was general studies exam so not exactly worth much or a boast. I mean to give you an idea everyone had left the exam hall early because they could not be bothered with it. I remained because I was told General studies can make a difference (yes by getting you into a crud uni instead of having to work hard next time and learn from your mistakes)

The exam invigilator really wanted to watch the football England were playing that day, and he was missing the game. He actually said to me it was wrong for me to take the full time if I did not need it. I can understand his frustration but that was well bang out of order. Anyway they asked a really stupid essay type question and well I spent a lot of time explaining in detail why it was a really stupid question obviously in politer terms and they must have thought hmm yeah maybe he is right because i did in fact get 100% for that exam. if it can happen in one exam it can happen in others etc so your wrong here.

Also a guy in my politics class managed to get 100% in a few politics exams and the teachers were asking him to get his script back to see how he did it because they didn't know how to write an essay to get 100%.

I accept it is much harder and much rarer to see 100% for essay based subject but it does happen. I know from personal experience.
6. (Original post by lw8)
I don't understand why they make it so hard.
I got AAD in my AS (i'll be retaking and getting a B but thats besides the point).
For the 2 As, i didn't revise, it was fairly easy to keep up with the notes and be confident on writing essays for every topic.
Maths however; i did at least 8 extra hours a week from February to May (the exams), and still only got a D overall (58.7%).
AS levels are insultingly easy if its not maths (and some sciences, like chem/physics/computer science).
OK, I would point to your revision technique. Did you do all of the past papers (I'm talking back to 2005)? But the most important question is: did you mark them yourself? If the case is that you didn't, then that is where you can improve to get an A, never mind a B. In terms of comparing Maths to other subjects, Maths is one of the few remaining A Levels where the AS is still a compulsory component of the entire A Level. If you're doing other subjects where this is not the case, then you had the wrong priorities last year and your school/sixth form/college has wasted your time. In terms of difficulty, it's subjective. I believe that the languages are the hardest A Level, purely because the average class size is about four!
7. (Original post by Maths is Life)
Hmm - maybe your teachers are really mean, intimidating, condescending?

I'm doing OCR physics in one year after failing AQA physics in which one excuse is to blame my awful physics teacher.

tbh regardless of your wealth, when you've had to resort to a tutor you know your teachers aren't doing there jobs properly...

When you do ask for help - do not be afraid to interrupt the teacher and ask them to explain further on a topic they deem simple/easy to understand.

Funny sidenote to the statement making mistakes today.

- We sometimes train/practice for the maths challenge and I make mistakes like 25 - 6 = 16.............and 2 x 3 = 5
That'd be a bit harsh, they are decent teachers and great people, just struggle with 1 on 1 teaching to less knowledgeable students, which is understandable.
8. (Original post by Rajive)
9. (Original post by Luke7456)
Sorry your wrong here I know because despite original A levels that were not great I did actually get 100% in an essay based exam. It was general studies exam so not exactly worth much or a boast. I mean to give you an idea everyone had left the exam hall early because they could not be bothered with it. I remained because I was told General studies can make a difference (yes by getting you into a crud uni instead of having to work hard next time and learn from your mistakes)

The exam invigilator really wanted to watch the football England were playing that day, and he was missing the game. He actually said to me it was wrong for me to take the full time if I did not need it. I can understand his frustration but that was well bang out of order. Anyway they asked a really stupid essay type question and well I spent a lot of time explaining in detail why it was a really stupid question obviously in politer terms and they must have thought hmm yeah maybe he is right because i did in fact get 100% for that exam. if it can happen in one exam it can happen in others etc so your wrong here.

Also a guy in my politics class managed to get 100% in a few politics exams and the teachers were asking him to get his script back to see how he did it because they didn't know how to write an essay to get 100%.

I accept it is much harder and much rarer to see 100% for essay based subject but it does happen. I know from personal experience.
General studies is an anomaly Getting 100% is still extremely impressive btw, kudos.
100% in politics is unbelievable.
10. I realise you asked WHY is it so much harder. Well, that depends on the individual because it's subjective. Some people are just naturally stronger at maths. Some aren't. But don't let that fool you. There's a good TEDx video talking about why people think they're bad at maths. It's not that you're bad at math, but maybe you're not as strong at it as in your other subjects. On the other hand, it could be a range of factors from early math development, current teaching, lack of work (no offense just an idea), and yeah. I know that some maths modules are pretty hard, whereas others are just easy. Like A2 maths is hard, but C1, D1, S1, stuff like that isn't too hard. Surely though, if you put your mind and heart to it, and work smartly, you can do much better, like most things in life.
11. (Original post by 04MR17)
OK, I would point to your revision technique. Did you do all of the past papers (I'm talking back to 2005)? But the most important question is: did you mark them yourself? If the case is that you didn't, then that is where you can improve to get an A, never mind a B. In terms of comparing Maths to other subjects, Maths is one of the few remaining A Levels where the AS is still a compulsory component of the entire A Level. If you're doing other subjects where this is not the case, then you had the wrong priorities last year and your school/sixth form/college has wasted your time. In terms of difficulty, it's subjective. I believe that the languages are the hardest A Level, purely because the average class size is about four!
Yes, was getting 95%+ consistently in C1, 65%+ in C2 and 60%+ in S1.
Finished with 58% C1, 60% C2, 58% S1.
12. (Original post by Maths is Life)
When you've had to resort to a tutor you know your teachers aren't doing there jobs properly...

When you do ask for help - do not be afraid to interrupt the teacher and ask them to explain further on a topic they deem simple/easy to understand.
I'm sorry but you're fundamentally wrong. The student is the only person responsible for their grade, they sit the exams. They are provided with exam administration and venue, and teaching with the student needs to use as you said, but the teacher has no responsibility to force the students to get good grades.
13. (Original post by Rajive)
I'm really lazy.
I do maths, further maths, economics.
My sixth form do a level maths in one year and FM ditto in year 2.
tbh I would've more than happy to take Additional FM but literally no where offers it - especially since I do WJEC.

This year I do FM, Economics, Physics (without the practical qualification overall and an AS grade).

I literally asked to pick up Physics a couple days ago. - I feel like it's going well so far other than that I have no idea what some of these letters mean.

I failed A levels to begin with - I had a growing interest in physics and it's funny how the teachers are saying it's like I'm doing 5 A levels but lots of people do 5 A levels.

I don't have the option to do an EPQ.
14. (Original post by Kiritsugu)
I realise you asked WHY is it so much harder. Well, that depends on the individual because it's subjective. Some people are just naturally stronger at maths. Some aren't. But don't let that fool you. There's a good TEDx video talking about why people think they're bad at maths. It's not that you're bad at math, but maybe you're not as strong at it as in your other subjects. On the other hand, it could be a range of factors from early math development, current teaching, lack of work (no offense just an idea), and yeah. I know that some maths modules are pretty hard, whereas others are just easy. Like A2 maths is hard, but C1, D1, S1, stuff like that isn't too hard. Surely though, if you put your mind and heart to it, and work smartly, you can do much better, like most things in life.
I dont believe people are 'naturally' good at things, theres something fundamentally wrong with that belief, its all based off experience. Like you said 'early math development' is huge. The thing is, i couldn't have had more than that, all through primary school i was the best in maths, but as soon as they started bringing letters into the situation everything i ever thought i knew about maths was suddenly wrong, it confused me beyond belief, however i managed to let my mental maths ability and common sense carry me to getting a B at GCSE. This is the thing, whilst some may claim i am 'naturally' good at maths, i don't respond well to certain questions, as i was taught maths with pure numbers, once you get to A-level, that goes out the window.
15. i guess maths can be a hate it or love it kind of subject, if you ask me a-level maths is 'insultingly easy' compared to other a-levels. i did maths/fm and 2 other a-levels, and it felt like maths and fm were 2 free A*s and i only had 2 a-levels to study for lol. whereas some others absolutely hate maths yet can ace subjects that i'd never touch with a 10 ft pole, like history. i'm sure many others have felt the same way, it's all subjective really.
16. (Original post by lw8)
one of my best 'natural' skills is mental maths
Arithmetic is almost entirely useless though unfortunately and not a good indicator of if you will handle actual maths
17. (Original post by lw8)
Oh i know that then, you worded it funny, but it finds the gradient, thats the thing, i know that, but i dont know why the gradient is relevant and how differentiation fundamentally works. I get that its a formula of some sort or whatever.
I want to go on to do economics, Maths in economics makes entire sense, as the letters mean something and they aren't just referred to as a 'number'. I need context to understand fully.
Differentiation fundamentally is basically taking a limit, that's all really. You learn this in FP1.

For any given function, , the gradient at is found by

which can seem familiar to your normal change in y over change in x formula, because that is exactly what it is, only generalised. Of course, this wouldn't make sense for anyone who isn't familiar with taking limits, understand why it works and where it is derived from.

Normal maths doesn't really touch upon this either, so differentiation is all new to everyone without really having been stemmed from any previous knowledge.
18. (Original post by lw8)
Yes, was getting 95%+ consistently in C1, 65%+ in C2 and 60%+ in S1.
Finished with 58% C1, 60% C2, 58% S1.
Ok, so you bombed C1 and weren't that great in C2 or S1 (not wonderful for economics if you're getting low S1 scores) you do realise that the score out of a hundred is not a percentage? The score you get out of 75 [I'm presuming you did Edexcel by the way] corresponds to a UMS mark (standardised) out of a hundred which is the number you get on results day. Did you do all the papers? Timed? And marked yourself?
19. (Original post by 04MR17)
I'm sorry but you're fundamentally wrong. The student is the only person responsible for their grade, they sit the exams. They are provided with exam administration and venue, and teaching with the student needs to use as you said, but the teacher has no responsibility to force the students to get good grades.
I agree with you. But there's no excuse for poor teaching, teachers should only go into a job in teaching if they know they can make a difference to students lives and improve their grades, going through a quick power-point and handing them a textbook does not benefit anyone. Teachers definitely have a responsibility for grades, some students however do seem 'unteachable' but in that case the teacher should make it their goal to change this person, they aren't just here to teach subjects, they should change their students lives. That's what a true teacher would do, not just someone thats their for the salary.
20. (Original post by 04MR17)
I'm sorry but you're fundamentally wrong. The student is the only person responsible for their grade, they sit the exams. They are provided with exam administration and venue, and teaching with the student needs to use as you said, but the teacher has no responsibility to force the students to get good grades.
Fundamentally lol... sick guy.

Some teacher's pay will probably depend on their student's grades.

Last year a maths teacher got sacked for that reason.

I do understand what you're saying.
However this is student room.
TSR has created a stereotype in which you know what that is.

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Updated: September 26, 2016
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