Self-teaching Further Mathematics? Watch

yussefsoudan
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Hi there,

I'll be starting A-levels in a week. I'll be taking biology, maths, physics and chemistry. As I'm desperate to apply to Oxbridge, I'm still confused in whether to major in physics or in biology. For biology, my A-levels combination just fits. For physics, it's so useful to have FM. Problem is that there's no nearby college that offers FM.

So I've been thinking to self-teach it to myself, but the thing is that I don't know it's syllabus. The official syllabus on the website is so confusing. I can't understand it. So, if anyone could clarify the FM syllabus for me, that would be great. And if there's any good resources that I could study from.

Also, if you've any other suggestion don't hesitate to write it in a comment.

Thanks!
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zetamcfc
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Does it matter what exam board? As if not then aqa is not too bad, FP1 M1 S1 FP2 FP3 M2 these are the ones that I have done/doing. FP1 S1 M1 M2 have text books which you can buy/borrow and for FP2 and FP3 the textbooks you can download from the aqa website. The books include all the topics for taking these exams and if you took these exams the you would get an A-level in AQA Further Maths. Also you could do some reading into FP4 M3,4,5 S2,3,4 but only in Y13, hope it helps.
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peterith
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Just don't pick CIE Further Mathematics.
A* is almost impossible.
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Old_Simon
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(Original post by zetamcfc)
Does it matter what exam board? As if not then aqa is not too bad, FP1 M1 S1 FP2 FP3 M2 these are the ones that I have done/doing. FP1 S1 M1 M2 have text books which you can buy/borrow and for FP2 and FP3 the textbooks you can download from the aqa website. The books include all the topics for taking these exams and if you took these exams the you would get an A-level in AQA Further Maths. Also you could do some reading into FP4 M3,4,5 S2,3,4 but only in Y13, hope it helps.
Could you link to the FP 2/3 textbook downloads please ?
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zetamcfc
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(Original post by Old_Simon)
Could you link to the FP 2/3 textbook downloads please ?
FP2 http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/subjects...2-TEXTBOOK.PDF

FP3 http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/subjects...3-TEXTBOOK.PDF
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davros
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(Original post by yussefsoudan)
Hi there,

I'll be starting A-levels in a week. I'll be taking biology, maths, physics and chemistry. As I'm desperate to apply to Oxbridge, ...
Thanks!
Why are you "desperate to apply to Oxbridge" if you're only just starting your A levels? See how you get on with your A level subjects, decide what course you want to study, then investigate which institutions offer that course and which ones are regarded as the best (and the answer isn't always Oxford or Cambridge!)

A couple of things you will need to be aware of: you can only apply for one of Oxford and Cambridge in an academic year, so do some checking on the course content to see which one appeals to you most. Also, note that whereas Oxford has specific degrees in Physics, Biology, etc, Cambridge does not - you study something called Natural Sciences which starts off with a broad mix of subjects and allows you to specialize later on. You may find one of these options preferable to the other!
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yussefsoudan
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(Original post by davros)
Why are you "desperate to apply to Oxbridge" if you're only just starting your A levels? See how you get on with your A level subjects, decide what course you want to study, then investigate which institutions offer that course and which ones are regarded as the best (and the answer isn't always Oxford or Cambridge!)

A couple of things you will need to be aware of: you can only apply for one of Oxford and Cambridge in an academic year, so do some checking on the course content to see which one appeals to you most. Also, note that whereas Oxford has specific degrees in Physics, Biology, etc, Cambridge does not - you study something called Natural Sciences which starts off with a broad mix of subjects and allows you to specialize later on. You may find one of these options preferable to the other!
Well, I actually know all of that. That's why I didn't ask any of these questions. But thanks anyway. Thanks for everyone who posted or wanted to help on this thread!
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Blood
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Do you possibly know if there's textbooks for FP1 and D1?
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TenOfThem
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(Original post by Blood)
Do you possibly know if there's textbooks for FP1 and D1?
There are - physical ones that you would need to buy
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zetamcfc
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(Original post by Blood)
Do you possibly know if there's textbooks for FP1 and D1?
There are textbooks which you can buy. FP1 is published by Oxford university press. CGP do an ok one for D! but is more of a revision book (I didn't have a textbook for D1 so I'm not entirely sure).
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Blood
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(Original post by TenOfThem)
There are - physical ones that you would need to buy
(Original post by zetamcfc)
There are textbooks which you can buy. FP1 is published by Oxford university press. CGP do an ok one for D! but is more of a revision book (I didn't have a textbook for D1 so I'm not entirely sure).
Thanks - I've got the Heinemann books for FP1 and D1 (CGP for D1 too) etc but I thought that since AQA had uploaded FP2 and FP3 they'd've done it for other modules, I guess not.
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TenOfThem
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(Original post by Blood)
Thanks - I've got the Heinemann books for FP1 and D1 (CGP for D1 too) etc but I thought that since AQA had uploaded FP2 and FP3 they'd've done it for other modules, I guess not.
They have only ever done online books for FP2 and 3 as the numbers doing the courses do not justify a published version
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Greatthinker
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dragonkeeper999
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(Original post by yussefsoudan)
Hi there,

I'll be starting A-levels in a week. I'll be taking biology, maths, physics and chemistry. As I'm desperate to apply to Oxbridge, I'm still confused in whether to major in physics or in biology. For biology, my A-levels combination just fits. For physics, it's so useful to have FM. Problem is that there's no nearby college that offers FM.

So I've been thinking to self-teach it to myself, but the thing is that I don't know it's syllabus. The official syllabus on the website is so confusing. I can't understand it. So, if anyone could clarify the FM syllabus for me, that would be great. And if there's any good resources that I could study from.

Also, if you've any other suggestion don't hesitate to write it in a comment.

Thanks!
Don't just think about which of biology/ physics your subject combination matches the most - admissions tutors will be looking for actual passion for your subject not just the perfect A levels. I would say that your subject combination would keep open all physics/ biology courses anyway - Further Maths is only recommended, not required (at least for Cambridge, not sure on Oxford) since they understand that not all schools offer it. That said, it is definitely useful for studying Physics at university level - so even if you are unable to properly study for it and take the exams it would still be worth looking through FP1/2 and M1/2/3 if you can.

FM doesn't have a 100% set syllabus - you get to pick the modules that interest you There are a few required modules (for example I think FP1 and FP2 for my exam board - OCR MEI) and you have to take 3 modules for an AS (and hence 6 in total for an A2).
For example, for AS I took: FP1, M1, D1 and for A2 I took FP2, M2 and M3. There are a few rules, for example I think modules with higher numbers (e.g. M3) require you to also take the corresponding modules with lower numbers (e.g. M2, M1) although there may be some exceptions and variations between exam boards (I'm sure I spoke to someone at some point who did FP3 but not FP2 or something...) but generally I would definitely advise doing the modules in the 'correct' order and not skipping any, since they kind of follow on from each other.
There are also rules regarding the number of AS and A2 modules you can take - I think basically three of your modules have to be A2 ones. You can take A2 modules as part of your AS - but since they are generally harder it probably isn't advisable.

If you are considering applying for Physics, my further maths module combination is probably a good one - although I would perhaps chose to switch D1 for DE (differential equations) or FP3 since those would help with degree level Maths/ Physics, whereas I don't know what D1 could be useful for (except being super easy and guaranteeing 90%+)...

One thing you could consider is just taking your four A levels for now, and if you realise that you really want to study physics at university you could pick up AS Further Maths during your A2s (which would be quite easy since AS Maths knowledge will help with FM).

Make sure you check before you start learning stuff or buying textbooks which exam board you will be using - for example if you can find a fairly local school which will let you sit the exams there as an external candidate and they do AQA Further Maths, then you're stuck with AQA. If your own school is happy for you to take the exams there then you will be very flexible with exam boards - but I would recommend using the same one as you are using for Maths, since then you can interchange some modules between them (which can help improve your grades). I think this is possible if you use different exam boards, but maybe more complicated...

There are a few online resources for maths - for example a 'further maths support network' for self-teachers (google it). However, I would say that the best resources are the textbooks - since they explain things very clearly and include loads of exercises for you to practice. Also, when you're revising just do ALL the past papers - these are available for free online along with the markschemes, often going back over 10 years. For maths, exam technique really is key - so for revision I just did past papers for a couple of months and managed to get top grades.

Also, you talk about 'majoring' in a subject - in the UK you usually only take a single degree subject, with no 'minors', so the word 'major' isn't really used.
At Oxford, they only offer single subjects - e.g. Physics OR Biology OR Biochemistry etc.
At Cambridge, all science subjects are taught via the Natural Sciences Tripos - in your first year you take four modules (one of which has to be a maths module) which can be across a broad range of sciences. You then gradually specialise, and end up graduating in a single subject. I guess this is a bit more similar to the major-minor system, and would particularly suit you if you don't know whether you want to specialise in Physics or Biology - since you can switch between the two. Also, admissions-wise if you are worried about Further Maths affecting your chances of getting in for Physics but are still undecided between the two subjects, you can apply for the 'Biological' pathway and still have the option to take physics modules and specialise in that later on if you wish.
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yussefsoudan
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(Original post by dragonkeeper999)
Don't just think about which of biology/ physics your subject combination matches the most - admissions tutors will be looking for actual passion for your subject not just the perfect A levels. I would say that your subject combination would keep open all physics/ biology courses anyway - Further Maths is only recommended, not required (at least for Cambridge, not sure on Oxford) since they understand that not all schools offer it. That said, it is definitely useful for studying Physics at university level - so even if you are unable to properly study for it and take the exams it would still be worth looking through FP1/2 and M1/2/3 if you can.

FM doesn't have a 100% set syllabus - you get to pick the modules that interest you There are a few required modules (for example I think FP1 and FP2 for my exam board - OCR MEI) and you have to take 3 modules for an AS (and hence 6 in total for an A2).
For example, for AS I took: FP1, M1, D1 and for A2 I took FP2, M2 and M3. There are a few rules, for example I think modules with higher numbers (e.g. M3) require you to also take the corresponding modules with lower numbers (e.g. M2, M1) although there may be some exceptions and variations between exam boards (I'm sure I spoke to someone at some point who did FP3 but not FP2 or something...) but generally I would definitely advise doing the modules in the 'correct' order and not skipping any, since they kind of follow on from each other.
There are also rules regarding the number of AS and A2 modules you can take - I think basically three of your modules have to be A2 ones. You can take A2 modules as part of your AS - but since they are generally harder it probably isn't advisable.

If you are considering applying for Physics, my further maths module combination is probably a good one - although I would perhaps chose to switch D1 for DE (differential equations) or FP3 since those would help with degree level Maths/ Physics, whereas I don't know what D1 could be useful for (except being super easy and guaranteeing 90%+)...

One thing you could consider is just taking your four A levels for now, and if you realise that you really want to study physics at university you could pick up AS Further Maths during your A2s (which would be quite easy since AS Maths knowledge will help with FM).

Make sure you check before you start learning stuff or buying textbooks which exam board you will be using - for example if you can find a fairly local school which will let you sit the exams there as an external candidate and they do AQA Further Maths, then you're stuck with AQA. If your own school is happy for you to take the exams there then you will be very flexible with exam boards - but I would recommend using the same one as you are using for Maths, since then you can interchange some modules between them (which can help improve your grades). I think this is possible if you use different exam boards, but maybe more complicated...

There are a few online resources for maths - for example a 'further maths support network' for self-teachers (google it). However, I would say that the best resources are the textbooks - since they explain things very clearly and include loads of exercises for you to practice. Also, when you're revising just do ALL the past papers - these are available for free online along with the markschemes, often going back over 10 years. For maths, exam technique really is key - so for revision I just did past papers for a couple of months and managed to get top grades.

Also, you talk about 'majoring' in a subject - in the UK you usually only take a single degree subject, with no 'minors', so the word 'major' isn't really used.
At Oxford, they only offer single subjects - e.g. Physics OR Biology OR Biochemistry etc.
At Cambridge, all science subjects are taught via the Natural Sciences Tripos - in your first year you take four modules (one of which has to be a maths module) which can be across a broad range of sciences. You then gradually specialise, and end up graduating in a single subject. I guess this is a bit more similar to the major-minor system, and would particularly suit you if you don't know whether you want to specialise in Physics or Biology - since you can switch between the two. Also, admissions-wise if you are worried about Further Maths affecting your chances of getting in for Physics but are still undecided between the two subjects, you can apply for the 'Biological' pathway and still have the option to take physics modules and specialise in that later on if you wish.

THANKS A MILLION! The most useful answer so far.
I just got a couple of questions if you don't mind:

1.Does the further maths M1 module, for example, differs from the M1 maths module? If yes, I'll be taking for C1, C2, M1 for AS maths and C3, C4, M2 for A2. Also, I need to take as much Mechanics modules as I can. So how shall the FM module combination be, relative to the A-level maths module combination.

2.This may sound out of context. But, is the CGP website has updated books? Like, if I looked in the AS biology books, for instance, would I find this year's updated revision guide?

Again, thanks a lot.
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dragonkeeper999
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(Original post by yussefsoudan)
THANKS A MILLION! The most useful answer so far.
I just got a couple of questions if you don't mind:

1.Does the further maths M1 module, for example, differs from the M1 maths module? If yes, I'll be taking for C1, C2, M1 for AS maths and C3, C4, M2 for A2. Also, I need to take as much Mechanics modules as I can. So how shall the FM module combination be, relative to the A-level maths module combination.

2.This may sound out of context. But, is the CGP website has updated books? Like, if I looked in the AS biology books, for instance, would I find this year's updated revision guide?

Again, thanks a lot.
Haha, no problem

1. No - the are exactly the same module, so Maths and Further Maths students will be sitting the same exam. I should probably mention that this means you can't just take the same module twice, once for maths and once for further maths! This is another of the slightly complicated FM rules. With your Maths module combination, you could still take M3 (although the rule regarding needing to take higher number modules after lower number ones may mean that all your M1-3 modules are transferred across to Further Maths or something - I think this happened to some of my friends who took S3 (we did S1 and S2 for Maths)). Since you are doing mechanics already for Maths, you can pick other modules (e.g. stats, DE, FP3, decision, etc.) for Further Maths. If you just want a good grade, decision (D1, D2) and stats (S1-3) were always slightly easier to me than the others - however they were also rather boring and not at all useful for my degree (Natural Sciences). The best modules for NatSci/ Physics would probably be M3 (obviously), FP1-3 (I'm pretty sure at least FP1 and probably FP2 are required anyway, but FP3 is optional but REALLY useful for the first year Maths module at Cambridge), DE (again, really useful for the Maths module, although I think on some exam boards differential equations is incorporated into FP2).

So perhaps you could consider: AS: FP1, M3, D1/S1; A2: FP2, FP3, DE? If you wanted to go for the 'easier' options, substitute M3/ FP3 for S1/D1/S2/D2. Double check with your exam board that these modules are offered and are an acceptable combination - I think they would be for OCR MEI but I have no experience of other exam boards. I think some may offer an M4 module, which would also be worth taking.

2. I never used the CGP revision guides after GCSE - from what I have read from them they would probably only be good enough to get you a B grade, they tend to simplify things a lot. A level is a lot more about learning to apply your knowledge rather than just memorisation of facts. For this reason, exam technique really is KEY - so focus on past papers for revision.
I remember at GCSE CGP would release updated versions of their revision guides every few years or so - so I guess it would be similar at A level.
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yussefsoudan
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(Original post by dragonkeeper999)
Haha, no problem

1. No - the are exactly the same module, so Maths and Further Maths students will be sitting the same exam. I should probably mention that this means you can't just take the same module twice, once for maths and once for further maths! This is another of the slightly complicated FM rules. With your Maths module combination, you could still take M3 (although the rule regarding needing to take higher number modules after lower number ones may mean that all your M1-3 modules are transferred across to Further Maths or something - I think this happened to some of my friends who took S3 (we did S1 and S2 for Maths)). Since you are doing mechanics already for Maths, you can pick other modules (e.g. stats, DE, FP3, decision, etc.) for Further Maths. If you just want a good grade, decision (D1, D2) and stats (S1-3) were always slightly easier to me than the others - however they were also rather boring and not at all useful for my degree (Natural Sciences). The best modules for NatSci/ Physics would probably be M3 (obviously), FP1-3 (I'm pretty sure at least FP1 and probably FP2 are required anyway, but FP3 is optional but REALLY useful for the first year Maths module at Cambridge), DE (again, really useful for the Maths module, although I think on some exam boards differential equations is incorporated into FP2).

So perhaps you could consider: AS: FP1, M3, D1/S1; A2: FP2, FP3, DE? If you wanted to go for the 'easier' options, substitute M3/ FP3 for S1/D1/S2/D2. Double check with your exam board that these modules are offered and are an acceptable combination - I think they would be for OCR MEI but I have no experience of other exam boards. I think some may offer an M4 module, which would also be worth taking.

2. I never used the CGP revision guides after GCSE - from what I have read from them they would probably only be good enough to get you a B grade, they tend to simplify things a lot. A level is a lot more about learning to apply your knowledge rather than just memorisation of facts. For this reason, exam technique really is KEY - so focus on past papers for revision.
I remember at GCSE CGP would release updated versions of their revision guides every few years or so - so I guess it would be similar at A level.

Wow. Thanks a lot for this info!

Just one last enquiry, if you don't mind.
I'm taking the AQA board. So, basically, AQA has 4 FP modules (FP1-FP4) as well 4 mechanics modules (M1-M4).
So, what do you think of AS: FP1, FP2, M3; A2: FP3, FP4, M4?
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dragonkeeper999
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(Original post by yussefsoudan)
Wow. Thanks a lot for this info!

Just one last enquiry, if you don't mind.
I'm taking the AQA board. So, basically, AQA has 4 FP modules (FP1-FP4) as well 4 mechanics modules (M1-M4).
So, what do you think of AS: FP1, FP2, M3; A2: FP3, FP4, M4?
No problem

Definitely try to do as many FP and M modules as possible if you are trying to do the best combination of modules for the degree - so your suggested module combination looks very good to me Again, double check with your exam board requirements but I would have thought that combination would be fine.
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The Clockwork Apple
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(Original post by peterith)
Just don't pick CIE Further Mathematics.
A* is almost impossible.
This is not motivating me haha
I'm doing FM with CIE in the end, and it is very challenging. I hate the fact you have to do the applied modules for both Mechanics and Statistics!
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peterith
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(Original post by The Clockwork Apple)
This is not motivating me haha
I'm doing FM with CIE in the end, and it is very challenging. I hate the fact you have to do the applied modules for both Mechanics and Statistics!
I'm more than happy to help you with any topics for CIE Fmaths
I've done enough past papers haha...
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