You are Here: Home >< A-levels

# Further Maths or Biology Watch

1. (Original post by Complex solution)
All the applied modules are interesting (maybe not C1 though, only because it's very simple) but if you want a challenge you'll probably find that in FM.

I'd recommend specialising in mechanics if you get the chance since it tends to 'flow' better from module to module; you can see where each topic fits into the final picture better than with statistics, at least in my experience.
I think covered most of C1except calculus already since I stayed at school even after the exams so I had time for private lesson with my maths teacher. I did binomial thing, introduction to radiants, dot product thing for vector and completing the square thing to sketch a quadratic curve. I don't know if they were C1 topics but I assume so since they were pretty easy to get my head around.

They told me if I'm doing Physics I will do M1 and M2 for standard maths and for FM I will do D1/S1/FP1 then FP2/FP3/M3 for A2
2. (Original post by C0balt)
I think covered most of C1except calculus already since I stayed at school even after the exams so I had time for private lesson with my maths teacher. I did binomial thing, introduction to radiants, dot product thing for vector and completing the square thing to sketch a quadratic curve. I don't know if they were C1 topics but I assume so since they were pretty easy to get my head around.

They told me if I'm doing Physics I will do M1 and M2 for standard maths and for FM I will do D1/S1/FP1 then FP2/FP3/M3 for A2
I'm pretty sure the vector dot product is C4 .C1 is pretty simple ,I screwed up the first time though lol.brain just gave up on me ,But the resit went alright

Posted from TSR Mobile
3. (Original post by C0balt)
I did binomial thing, introduction to radiants, dot product thing for vector and completing the square thing to sketch a quadratic curve.
Assume you'll take Edexcel maths.
Only completing the square comes up in C1 from that list
Binomial expansion is C2, Radians is C2 and vector dot-product is C4 as livealittle mentioned.

Here's what you actually need to revise and be confident in from GCSE to make the transition to A level smooth.

-Solid algebra skills (manipulation, changing subject, algebraic fractions)
-Surds, because most questions expect you to leave your answer in exact form and not in a decimal. Chapter on it in C1.
-Trigonometry, this is extremely important and comes up in every core maths module starting from C1. Mechanics starts using it in M1.
-Solving equations; be it quadratic, linear or simultaneous.
-Know the equations for the volume and surface area or common objects
in maths like cones, spheres, cubes...

I remember that circle theorems was a big thing in GCSE but here you'll only really use it in C2 and FP2.

Don't worry about the calculus part, it is fairly brief compared to the other chapters (in C1 at least, C3 and C4 dedicate huge chunks to differentiation and integration) and the edexcel course introduces it very nicely.

(Original post by C0balt)
They told me if I'm doing Physics I will do M1 and M2 for standard maths and for FM I will do D1/S1/FP1 then FP2/FP3/M3 for A2
Pretty much the same as mine but I had to do S2 instead of FP3 since the class all voted for it.
4. (Original post by Complex solution)
Assume you'll take Edexcel maths.
Only completing the square comes up in C1 from that list
Binomial expansion is C2, Radians is C2 and vector dot-product is C4 as livealittle mentioned.

Here's what you actually need to revise and be confident in from GCSE to make the transition to A level smooth.

-Solid algebra skills (manipulation, changing subject, algebraic fractions)
-Surds, because most questions expect you to leave your answer in exact form and not in a decimal. Chapter on it in C1.
-Trigonometry, this is extremely important and comes up in every core maths module starting from C1. Mechanics starts using it in M1.
-Solving equations; be it quadratic, linear or simultaneous.
-Know the equations for the volume and surface area or common objects
in maths like cones, spheres, cubes...

I remember that circle theorems was a big thing in GCSE but here you'll only really use it in C2 and FP2.

Don't worry about the calculus part, it is fairly brief compared to the other chapters (in C1 at least, C3 and C4 dedicate huge chunks to differentiation and integration) and the edexcel course introduces it very nicely.

Pretty much the same as mine but I had to do S2 instead of FP3 since the class all voted for it.
Oh that's weird... my techer said they were AS topics minus calculus so he kinda said Icovered most of AS but actually I did few AS and A2 then lol. Maybe because my previous school did CIE International A levels so the syllabus is different haha. But I will be doing Edexcel at my next school

Actually I've done some proof by induction with another maths teacher in year 10 while my classmates were struggling to get their head around in similarity stuff. Do you know which module it's from? I forgot pretty much but it is said that my brain remembers it deep down so I think I will start out pretty well in that topic as well. I might be able to find my notes too, hopefully.

Ah thanks for the nice list I'm pretty confident in all of them especially simultaneous because heck I've been doing that over 3 years now *cry* Will simultaneous equation with 3 letters come up? I remember doing that while back in Japan but it never came up in GCSE syllabus.

Well actually I got summer homework from my new school's maths department because there is (huge) step-up or whatever. They are GCSE revision stuff so haven't touched them but I think they're on what you said so I'll work through them later (if I do too early I'll forget lool) maybe after results day ._.

I disliked statistics topics in GCSE so I'm glad I only need to do S1 at most :3

Posted from TSR Mobile
5. Well guys thanks for your help.

In the end I think I will probably take FM.
-Past 15 years I've never thought of being a doctor or anything biomedical/biological, apart from maybe forensic scientist. However I now know I won't enjoy forensics anyway. So if I hadn't past 15 years, it's unlikely that I ever will...I hope

- also I've been watching a lot of scientific videos lately and I stumbled across Walter Lewin's lectures which fascinated me greatly and also Michio Kaku's youtube video Universe in a Nutshell introduced me to String Theory.... and I have realised, perhaps physics is really my passion, I wasn't wrong so many years ago when Iused to think physics was 'cool' and had big bang theory poster in the toilet....

so yeah, probably FM will be better choice here, I suppose. Anyways thanks a lot again guys. I will just do further reading and watching around biology especially around genetics which is quite intriguing and do FM at school...possibly continue it to A2

Posted from TSR Mobile
6. (Original post by C0balt)
Well guys thanks for your help.

In the end I think I will probably take FM.
-Past 15 years I've never thought of being a doctor or anything biomedical/biological, apart from maybe forensic scientist. However I now know I won't enjoy forensics anyway. So if I hadn't past 15 years, it's unlikely that I ever will...I hope

- also I've been watching a lot of scientific videos lately and I stumbled across Walter Lewin's lectures which fascinated me greatly and also Michio Kaku's youtube video Universe in a Nutshell introduced me to String Theory.... and I have realised, perhaps physics is really my passion, I wasn't wrong so many years ago when Iused to think physics was 'cool' and had big bang theory poster in the toilet....

so yeah, probably FM will be better choice here, I suppose. Anyways thanks a lot again guys. I will just do further reading and watching around biology especially around genetics which is quite intriguing and do FM at school...possibly continue it to A2

Posted from TSR Mobile
Glad you could come to a decision.

If you really want to do Physics at a top university, make sure you do the full A2 in FM. Any good Physics degree is intensely mathematical.

This is doubly true if you want to do theoretical high-energy physics a la string theory . . . a lot of people in that area come into it having done Maths undergrad.
7. (Original post by C0balt)
Well guys thanks for your help.

In the end I think I will probably take FM.
-Past 15 years I've never thought of being a doctor or anything biomedical/biological, apart from maybe forensic scientist. However I now know I won't enjoy forensics anyway. So if I hadn't past 15 years, it's unlikely that I ever will...I hope

- also I've been watching a lot of scientific videos lately and I stumbled across Walter Lewin's lectures which fascinated me greatly and also Michio Kaku's youtube video Universe in a Nutshell introduced me to String Theory.... and I have realised, perhaps physics is really my passion, I wasn't wrong so many years ago when Iused to think physics was 'cool' and had big bang theory poster in the toilet....

so yeah, probably FM will be better choice here, I suppose. Anyways thanks a lot again guys. I will just do further reading and watching around biology especially around genetics which is quite intriguing and do FM at school...possibly continue it to A2

Posted from TSR Mobile
If you are maths/physics kind of guy then FM is definitely a good choice!

Posted from TSR Mobile
8. (Original post by C0balt)
Greetings fellow TSRers.

As some of you may notice, I have made two similar threads regarding to this question over the past few months. Each time, I seem to settle on a conclusion but since this is such a huge dilemma for me, I am being very indecisive despite the two threads. Also I had not had enough information about my Sixthform or had not had enough time to think about with my cool head or organise my thoughts due to all the moving, IGCSE exams, leaving my beloved school and the option choice deadline etc. I apologise for making multiple threads and bother you every time.

I am also aware that hundreds of similar thread existed in the past. However, I made another again because I wanted advice for my situation specifically and not general advice.

I would like to believe that now I have enough "information" about myself, and thus I would like to make a new thread with every piece of information that might help me decide.

So as you can probably see from the title, I am considering to take either Biology or Further Maths.

Here are my points that can be considered when you kindly give me some advice

Background info
• ​I will take maths, chemistry and physics for other 3 AS
• I still don't know what degree or career to go for
• Not interested in medicine but not interested in maths degree either.
• Probably either physics or chemistry course at uni, or natural sciences. Might be biochemistry but not sure.
• Predicted A* for both maths and double science (my school didn't offer triple)
• University wise, I'm aiming for as good university as possible for my ability. I'm not sure what I'm capable of, as I can't really compare with other students since I'm top in every class except English, but it's out of the year of SIX PEOPLE so it doesn't tell anything. Let's say one of Russell Group unis, and I have Oxbridge in my sight but heck, I don't know what will happen in A levels so I'm not gonna say I'm aiming for it.
• Just for reference, I got A* maths, A* science, A* Geography, A* French, A Eng lang, C Eng lit, B History for mocks. Don't know about real grades until 14th (CIE IGCSE is earlier than other boards) but I expect similar grades though I hope an A* in Eng lang and a B in lit, A in history lol.

Further Maths (Edexcel)
pros

• I like maths. I like problem solving and I seek challenge.
• It would be more useful if I were to go for physics degree
• Could lead me to computer science/engineering/economics IF I ever wanted to though unlikely
• I'm good at maths according to people at my school
• Probably will get better grades than in Biology
• Might hate currently-beloved chemistry and opt for physics who knows

cons
• My biological knowledge will stop at GCSE level unless I do extra reading
• I'm not really interested in my AS modules though A2 looks interesting. AS: FP1, D1, S1. A2: FP2, FP3, M3
• Can be self taught and the maths department will help me

Biology (AQA)
pros

• I can have more complex knowledge on biology. GCSE level is not sufficient for my curiosity
• I love to know how things work and yeah curiosity and thirst for more knowledge all the way
• I was kind of settled on FM but my work placement for microbiology/spermiology lab - that's what they call themselves but in fact it was medical analysis lab - made me hesitant to stop my knowledge at GCSE.
• Practicals are essential and so doing biology at school would be better than self teaching
• Might hate currently-loved physics and opt for chemistry-biology who knows

cons
• Even though I'm good at all sciences (double award science gives grade based on all three and I get A* every practice exam), Biology was my worst out of the three due to wording etc
• I'm not interested in environment topic (mainly in A2) at all so likely to drop at A2 even though the sensitivity and response topic in A2 is interesting unless I suddenly start to bloom in biology.
• There is a high chance that I get worse grades than Further Maths

Possibilities
(A) Biology AS in Year 12, Further Maths AS in Year 13 possibly as a private candidate if the Year 12 timetable doesn't fit mine. Resulting in 2 AS and 3 A2.

Will cover interesting topics in AS Biology (except classification or some environment stuff) and won't need to do big environment topic in A2. In exchange it is risky as I don't know if I will be capable for self-teaching time wise. I have strong enough passion for maths/biology that I am willing to do so, but I don't know if it's physically possible. Also Further Maths A2 won't be possible to obtain unless I self-teach 6 modules so hard (probably won't happen).

(B) Further Maths in Year 12 drop it next year/continue with it
If I want to why not do 4 A2 (seems to be possible at my sixth form though I assume I need to prove that I can keep up with the workload). Will do the seemingly interesting A2 topics. However I won't be able to have an advanced biological grounding which I'm very hesitant about. What if what I really want to do was Biology? (can't know just with limited knowledge from GCSEs and a few extra videos/articles) Maybe chemistry is sufficient especially for biochemistry which I'm quite interested about, but if I need to catch up later on in uni, it could be too hard? I also like interlinking topics between each subject area and am also good at it.

(C) Biology AS in Year 12 drop it next year/continue with it
If I want I could continue to A2, in case I realise Biology is what I really want during Year 12. Could opt for Option A later on as well. But will miss out with A2 FP modules which seem interesting and missing FM A2 can be disadvantageous if I realise Physics/maths is the way for me during Year 12.

Okay, so I tried to make all the thoughts very organised and easier to read. I hope I didn't miss out anything. Apologies for very long post but I will really appreciate if you read it all and avoid "if you're good at understanding concepts go for FM, if you're good at memorising go for Biology" sort of answer because I heard this thing enough. If you could work out and suggest what would be the best option for me (I'm aware that final decision should be mine) maybe using your experience, I will be very grateful. It is sometimes better to hear 3rd person's opinions as they are often less emotional and objective.

Once again, thank you all for your help.
FM hands down; easier and you don't need to spend hours learning things, just get on with it.
9. (Original post by ClickItBack)
Glad you could come to a decision.

If you really want to do Physics at a top university, make sure you do the full A2 in FM. Any good Physics degree is intensely mathematical.

This is doubly true if you want to do theoretical high-energy physics a la string theory . . . a lot of people in that area come into it having done Maths undergrad.
Yup figured so but not compleetely sure yet so said possibly but even then I am likely to continue 4 judging from my welling motivation lol (hope this continues)

Posted from TSR Mobile

TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

This forum is supported by:
Updated: July 26, 2014
Today on TSR

### Degrees to get rich!

... and the ones that won't

### Women equal with Men?

Discussions on TSR

• Latest
• ## See more of what you like on The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

• Poll
Help with your A-levels

## All the essentials

### Student life: what to expect

What it's really like going to uni

### Essay expert

Learn to write like a pro with our ultimate essay guide.

### Uni match

Our tool will help you find the perfect course for you

### Create a study plan

Get your head around what you need to do and when with the study planner tool.

### Resources by subject

Everything from mind maps to class notes.

### Degrees without fees

Discover more about degree-level apprenticeships.

### Study tips from A* students

Students who got top grades in their A-levels share their secrets

## Study help links and info

Can you help? Study help unanswered threadsRules and posting guidelines

### HEAR

Find out how a Higher Education Achievement Report can help you prove your achievements.

## Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups
Discussions on TSR

• Latest
• ## See more of what you like on The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

• The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.