Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
Turn on thread page Beta
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Quivai)
    As someone who has been self-teaching A Level maths for the sake of learning, I really hate the Edexcel specification for calculus. It skips over so many proofs and concepts that a deep understanding is all but impossible unless you go out of your way to learn from other sources. In addition, the order that material is presented makes things needlessly more difficult.

    As an example, you are introduced to the number e early on in C3 by being shown the derivatives of 2^x, 3^x, etc. and being told that because of a noticeable pattern, there must be such a number as e. The problem with this approach is that at this stage, you don't even know how to even derive 2^x or 3^x. Moreover, deriving them requires you to use logs in base e, making the entire proof circular.

    Another example is the fundamental theorem of calculus. The Edexcel textbooks simply skip over it, giving only an extremely brief explanation on how to find definite integrals. So you're left wondering just why taking the definite integral of a function will magically find the area under a curve.

    To compound matters, the Americans teach calculus in a completely different order, and teach concepts we don't need to know for A Levels, such as discontinuous functions and taking limits from both sides. So when you try turning to internet resources focused on the American curriculum, you'll occasionally find you're expected to have knowledge of things you either haven't learnt yet, or won't learn for A Levels.

    All in all, calculus as taught by Edexcel is extremely frustrating if you like understanding things.
    Do you know if this is the case for other exam boards too?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by cheeriosarenice)
    Do you know if this is the case for other exam boards too?
    I don't know, to be honest. I've been focusing entirely on the Edexcel syllabus because those are the textbooks I have on hand.
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    you will become a Math Boss if you love proofs
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    WJEC examines first principles for differentiation I know.
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    Looking at derivations really helps with understanding and actually learning about maths, but IMO too many schools are focused with getting good exam grades instead of actually learning the concepts so you just get people who regurgitate what is given in the textbook and have no idea what to do when they need to think about something (Last year's 'terrible' C3 exam is a good example of this)
 
 
 
Reply
Submit reply
Turn on thread page Beta
Updated: April 20, 2014
Poll
“Yanny” or “Laurel”
Useful resources

Make your revision easier

Maths

Maths Forum posting guidelines

Not sure where to post? Read the updated guidelines here

Equations

How to use LaTex

Writing equations the easy way

Student revising

Study habits of A* students

Top tips from students who have already aced their exams

Study Planner

Create your own Study Planner

Never miss a deadline again

Polling station sign

Thinking about a maths degree?

Chat with other maths applicants

Can you help? Study help unanswered threads

Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups

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

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