Fox Corner
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Hello mathematicians,

If you're doing/have done maths or further maths at A-Level or above, me and The Learn Ranger want to know why you picked it, and what you love about it.

You don't have to write loads, but we thought up a few questions to get you going :cookie:


What does maths involve?

How does A-Level differ from GCSE?

How are you assessed?

What skills have you developed?

What does doing maths lead to, either in careers or further education?

Do you have any advice for people thinking of picking maths?

Feel free to answer as many or as little questions as you like. We're thinking about writing a little guide to particular subjects - if we use any of your answers you will be credited Image
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HapaxOromenon3
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(Original post by Fox Corner)
Hello mathematicians,

If you're doing/have done maths or further maths at A-Level or above, me and The Learn Ranger want to know why you picked it, and what you love about it.

You don't have to write loads, but we thought up a few questions to get you going :cookie:


What does maths involve?

How does A-Level differ from GCSE?

How are you assessed?

What skills have you developed?

What does doing maths lead to, either in careers or further education?

Do you have any advice for people thinking of picking maths?

Feel free to answer as many or as little questions as you like. We're thinking about writing a little guide to particular subjects - if we use any of your answers you will be credited Image
What does maths involve?
Fundamentally it's about logic, structure, and pattern; the thing that differentiates maths from all other subjects is that it can claim to have absolute truths, whereas the experimental sciences have only hypotheses that are believed with high probability to be true, and the humanities have only opinions that are believed to be supported by the totality of available evidence.

To be more specific and/or prosaic about it, algebra is very important.

How does A-Level differ from GCSE?
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. Thus having a logical/analytical mind is helpful.

How are you assessed?
In the current A-Level, there are 4 compulsory pure maths modules and then you choose 2 applied maths modules. There are three different "strands" of applied module available: mechanics (forces, momentum, projectiles, etc. - essentially the mathematical side of physics); probability & statistics (fairly self-explanatory, though it should be noted that this focuses much more on probability and hypothesis testing rather than the statistical diagrams - box plots, histograms, etc. - and calculations covered at GCSE); and decision/discrete maths (algorithms, graph theory, logic, linear programming, etc. - useful for computer science). You can do either do one strand to A2 Level or two strands each at AS Level.
Further maths is more complicated, but essentially there are two compulsory further pure maths papers and then you can choose a mixture of pure and applied modules to make a total of 6 units.

In the new A-Level from September 2017, all the exams are taken at the end of the course (it is a linear qualification), and you are expected to do both mechanics and statistics. The precise scheme of assessment differs among the various exam boards, so check their websites for more information.

What skills have you developed?
Problem-solving, data analysis, higher-order reasoning, etc.
I am told that skills such as these are in high demand by employers these days.

What does doing maths lead to, either in careers or further education?
Obviously to do maths/sciences/engineering/medicine/etc. at university, A-Level maths is a requirement
Careers - Research mathematician, statistician, finance/accountancy, IT and computing, education, consultancy, etc.

Do you have any advice for people thinking of picking maths?
This is mostly covered in the sections "What does maths involve?" and "How does A-Level differ from GCSE?"
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RDKGames
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(Original post by Fox Corner)
Hello mathematicians,If you're doing/have done maths or further maths at A-Level or above, me and The Learn Ranger want to know why you picked it, and what you love about it.You don't have to write loads, but we thought up a few questions to get you going :cookie:What does maths involve?How does A-Level differ from GCSE?How are you assessed?What skills have you developed?What does doing maths lead to, either in careers or further education?Do you have any advice for people thinking of picking maths?Feel free to answer as many or as little questions as you like. We're thinking about writing a little guide to particular subjects - if we use any of your answers you will be credited Image
What does maths involve?
Maths at A-Level covers the key 4 (sort of 5, depends if FM is taken) areas of Mathematics (honestly there are so many things! But nothing to be scared of!);

Pure Core - deals with intersections of lines and curves, finding the rate of change of various curves and lines (this is referred to as differentiation; or finding the gradient at a point of a curve), finding the exact area under curves (this is called integration), finite and infinite series (such as what is the value of 1+2+3+4+...+n), many more trigonometric identities that makes the rest of maths much simpler, new methods to integrate and differentiate, sketching graphs, being introduced to new things such as the modulus operation, and much more.

Further Pure Core - Everything from Pure taken slightly further (no pun intended). This deals with limits, general solutions to trigonometric functions (sin(x)=\frac{1}{2} and similar have infinitely many solutions, the answer that the calculator gives is referred to as the 'principal' solution), introduces the complex numbers that opens up many much more sophisticated mathematical doors (including finding out why  e^{i\pi}+1=0), sketching rational function graphs (such as \frac{x+2}{x^2+2x+1}), working with 2x2 and 3x3 matrices (which can be used to transform planes, lines and curves by rotation, reflection, shearing, enlarging, but not translating), more tricks to integrate more complicated expressions, sketching complex numbers.

Mechanics - deals with real life physical situations; pretty much the good part of physics. Here you work with forces, velocities of objects (gets trickier when relative velocity is involved; ie if we both run in the same direction, you would appear running slower to me than to someone who is standing still), power work and energy, circular motion, friction, pendulums and stuff like that.

Statistics - deals with data pretty much all the time. Easily applicable to real life in many sectors of work. Helps finding different distributions, probabilities, mean + standard deviation of data, and all that shiz.

Decision - deals with networks. Very useful within computer science. Helps find the shortest distance between A and B, can be used to apply to real life easily (ie, what path should a truck take to deliver the largest load while covering the shortest distance?), this is mostly full of algorithms to remember, game theory.

How does A-Level differ from GCSE?
Initially it is a big jump from GCSE to A-Level for most students, but pupil get used to it. A-Level tends to be much more general while broadening understand rather than only making you focus on completing a problem rather with a memorised method. An A grade is required for FM and a B for Maths which is a fair enough boundary.

How are you assessed?
Further Maths and Maths are two different A-Levels but they compliment each other well. For each of them, they are assessed with exams specific to the module (Pure Core, Mechanics, etc).

For those doing Maths only, over the 2 years they complete Core 1-4 (2 each year) alongside 2 applied modules (either mechanics, statistics, or decision; one per year).

For those doing Further Maths WITH Maths; the applied modules can be switched around between M and FM in order to maximise the candidate's grade (Maths takes priority over FM) therefore M+FM people might want to do numerous applied modules in order to have backup in case one module exam turns out terrible. Pure Core and Further Pure Core modules stay within Maths/FM respectively as they cannot be moved between the two A-Levels. M+FM people overall complete at least 12 modules over the 2 years (this is why Maths has so many exams) in order to get their Maths and Further Maths grades.

For those doing FM ONLY, they must do FP1, M1 and S1 before choosing what modules to do in their second year.

What skills have you developed?
Problem-solving, logical thinking, data analysis... errrr... not even sure what else really.

What does doing maths lead to, either in careers or further education?
Leads to very science based careers as Maths is the basis for almost all of them. Career wise, anything to do with problem solving and numbers; like accountancy in business. I am due to take Mathematics as my university course this September.

Do you have any advice for people thinking of picking maths?
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 (I think my GCSE paper was pretty much the first 75% all right then absolutely nothing for the other 25% of the paper lol). After failing to get into my History A-Level, I took on Further Maths along with Maths with the help of my teacher because I enjoy the subject and nothing else really interested me (not even sciences). I started from the bottom of my class initially as there were 5 of us but from studying, exploring, being introduced to new mathemtical ideas and ways to approach problems; I have quickly gained a lot of understanding within the subject and became one of the top 2 in my class ability-wise, and have been working to an A* standard in FM. So really, all it takes is practice of doing question's then you'll be good at Maths.

To answer the question; I picked it because I enjoyed the subject and nothing else interesting me enough to take priority over Maths.
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bluemadhatter
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maths is cool tbh

straight forward and anyone can be good at it with practise, that's for AS Maths anyway.
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Zacken
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(Original post by RDKGames)
Maths covers the key 4 (sort of 5, depends if FM is taken)
The way maths is broken up at A-Level isn't how real maths is broken up.

Pure Core - deals with abstract thinking such as intersections of lines and curves, [computation...]
:erm: at bolded. Surely you can see that you've just said "abstract" and then listed down a lot of concrete non-abstract computational stuff taught in core?

Further Pure Core - Everything from Pure taken slightly further (no pun intended). This deals with limits (for 2^x what happens if x tends to infinity?)
That's being a bit generous, it deals with computing limits, not what an actual limit is in terms of its actual definition. As with pretty much every other thing.

What skills have you developed?
Problem-solving, abstract logical thinking, data analysis... errrr... not even sure what else really.
We must have rather different definitions of 'abstract'.
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fefssdf
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The textbooks for A-level maths are incredibly helpful in preparing you for the exams meaning that even if your teacher is slow with the content then you can always work ahead. Also the volume of resources available in terms of past papers, youtube videos ect mean it's very hard to just no understand a topic given the amount of free help available. I feel with maths that if you work hard you will be guaranteed a decent grade which can't be said for english for example where the exam is somewhat unpredictable whereas in maths there's only so many ways that a question can be asked
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RDKGames
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(Original post by Zacken)
The way maths is broken up at A-Level isn't how real maths is broken up.



:erm: at bolded. Surely you can see that you've just said "abstract" and then listed down a lot of concrete non-abstract computational stuff taught in core?



That's being a bit generous, it deals with computing limits, not what an actual limit is in terms of its actual definition. As with pretty much every other thing.



We must have rather different definitions of 'abstract'.
Okay. Edited just for your crystal-clear convenience, princess.
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Student403
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What does maths involve?
Hard to say. I only took A level

How does A-Level differ from GCSE?
Nicer spread of content via exams

How are you assessed?
Page 7 - https://qualifications.pearson.com/c...hs_Issue_3.pdf

What skills have you developed?
I can do many past papers now without getting bored

What does doing maths lead to, either in careers or further education?
If I got 1p for every time I was told "unis love A level maths", I could buy a large bag of Walkers Ready Salted. I am yet to figure out why

Do you have any advice for people thinking of picking maths?
You can ask the best forum on TSR for help whenever you get stuck!
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Gregorius
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(Original post by Fox Corner)
Why did you choose maths?
I didn't choose maths; it chose me.

Do you have any advice for people thinking of picking maths?
Do it.
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Trapz99
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I enjoy it and it's quite easy.

Maths involves solving all kinds of problems.

A level is harder than GCSE.

I'm accessed by Edexcel.

I developed problem solving, analytical, numerical skills.

Well, I want to do maths and economics at university and maths is needed for that.

I'd say start early and do a lot of work at home as well.
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Imperion
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What does maths involve? -I'm not sure I can answer this question :laugh:

How does A-Level differ from GCSE? -I mean, more content and I thought GCSE maths was interesting. Now it's stale and A level stuff is getting pretty formulaic (do not confuse with boring, it's not, I quite like the M and FP modules. Only module worth lynching is C3)

How are you assessed?-Exams... o-o

What skills have you developed?
-I think my thinking and problem solving skills don't compare to what they were a year ago. I also approve of my virtual mathematical toolbox :ahee: My concentration has increased as well... not sure if many are related to maths but I quite find seeing applications of things you do on paper quite interesting
What does doing maths lead to, either in careers or further education? -Not sure how to answer this either...

Do you have any advice for people thinking of picking maths?
-Growth is exponential function :mmm:
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Imperion
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(Original post by RDKGames)
What does maths involve?
Maths at A-Level covers the key 4 (sort of 5, depends if FM is taken) areas of Mathematics (honestly there are so many things! But nothing to be scared of!);

Pure Core - deals with intersections of lines and curves, finding the rate of change of various curves and lines (this is referred to as differentiation; or finding the gradient at a point of a curve), finding the exact area under curves (this is called integration), finite and infinite series (such as what is the value of 1+2+3+4+...+n), many more trigonometric identities that makes the rest of maths much simpler, new methods to integrate and differentiate, sketching graphs, being introduced to new things such as the modulus operation, and much more.

Further Pure Core - Everything from Pure taken slightly further (no pun intended). This deals with limits, general solutions to trigonometric functions (sin(x)=\frac{1}{2} and similar have infinitely many solutions, the answer that the calculator gives is referred to as the 'principal' solution), introduces the complex numbers that opens up many much more sophisticated mathematical doors (including finding out why  e^{i\pi}+1=0), sketching rational function graphs (such as \frac{x+2}{x^2+2x+1}), working with 2x2 and 3x3 matrices (which can be used to transform planes, lines and curves by rotation, reflection, shearing, enlarging, but not translating), more tricks to integrate more complicated expressions, sketching complex numbers.

Mechanics - deals with real life physical situations; pretty much the good part of physics. Here you work with forces, velocities of objects (gets trickier when relative velocity is involved; ie if we both run in the same direction, you would appear running slower to me than to someone who is standing still), power work and energy, circular motion, friction, pendulums and stuff like that.

Statistics - deals with data pretty much all the time. Easily applicable to real life in many sectors of work. Helps finding different distributions, probabilities, mean + standard deviation of data, and all that shiz.

Decision - deals with networks. Very useful within computer science. Helps find the shortest distance between A and B, can be used to apply to real life easily (ie, what path should a truck take to deliver the largest load while covering the shortest distance?), this is mostly full of algorithms to remember, game theory.

How does A-Level differ from GCSE?
Initially it is a big jump from GCSE to A-Level for most students, but pupil get used to it. A-Level tends to be much more general while broadening understand rather than only making you focus on completing a problem rather with a memorised method. An A grade is required for FM and a B for Maths which is a fair enough boundary.

How are you assessed?
Further Maths and Maths are two different A-Levels but they compliment each other well. For each of them, they are assessed with exams specific to the module (Pure Core, Mechanics, etc).

For those doing Maths only, over the 2 years they complete Core 1-4 (2 each year) alongside 2 applied modules (either mechanics, statistics, or decision; one per year).

For those doing Further Maths WITH Maths; the applied modules can be switched around between M and FM in order to maximise the candidate's grade (Maths takes priority over FM) therefore M+FM people might want to do numerous applied modules in order to have backup in case one module exam turns out terrible. Pure Core and Further Pure Core modules stay within Maths/FM respectively as they cannot be moved between the two A-Levels. M+FM people overall complete at least 12 modules over the 2 years (this is why Maths has so many exams) in order to get their Maths and Further Maths grades.

For those doing FM ONLY, they must do FP1, M1 and S1 before choosing what modules to do in their second year.

What skills have you developed?
Problem-solving, logical thinking, data analysis... errrr... not even sure what else really.

What does doing maths lead to, either in careers or further education?
Leads to very science based careers as Maths is the basis for almost all of them. Career wise, anything to do with problem solving and numbers; like accountancy in business. I am due to take Mathematics as my university course this September.

Do you have any advice for people thinking of picking maths?
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 (I think my GCSE paper was pretty much the first 75% all right then absolutely nothing for the other 25% of the paper lol). After failing to get into my History A-Level, I took on Further Maths along with Maths with the help of my teacher because I enjoy the subject and nothing else really interested me (not even sciences). I started from the bottom of my class initially as there were 5 of us but from studying, exploring, being introduced to new mathemtical ideas and ways to approach problems; I have quickly gained a lot of understanding within the subject and became one of the top 2 in my class ability-wise, and have been working to an A* standard in FM. So really, all it takes is practice of doing question's then you'll be good at Maths.

To answer the question; I picked it because I enjoyed the subject and nothing else interesting me enough to take priority over Maths.
I'm pretty sure they didn't tell you to break down A level maths bruh :erm: Plus this is a ****ing huge essay who's gonna read all of it
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Ayman!
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What does maths involve?

I'm not the best person to answer this since I've only done A-level Maths and FM.

How does A-Level differ from GCSE?

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 FM, however, I had to constantly worry about not dropping careless marks.

How are you assessed?

Modular exams marked on 75 which is then converted to a UMS scale.

What skills have you developed?

Trying to be meticulous with work as boundaries are fairly high for the FM units.

What does doing maths lead to, either in careers or further education?

Pretty much mandatory for STEM fields (along with FM), but a nice addition to medicine and arts applications as well (as above - "universities love maths".

Do you have any advice for people thinking of picking maths?

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RamocitoMorales
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(Original post by Imperion)
I'm pretty sure they didn't tell you to break down A level maths bruh :erm: Plus this is a ****ing huge essay who's gonna read all of it
I read all of it.
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Imperion
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(Original post by RamocitoMorales)
I read all of it.
I... I... #Speechless
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RDKGames
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(Original post by Imperion)
I... I... #Speechless
Rekt.


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Imperion
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:getmecoat:
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AlesanaWill
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Some background: I did A Level maths, studied theoretical physics at university and am just about to start a masters in applied mathematics.

What does maths involve?
It depends what level you're studying at! Maths is certainly not numeracy (times tables, etc.) - it is algebra, calculus, differential equations, etc. Maths is a very broad subject - there are lots of different areas depending on your interests.

How does A-Level differ from GCSE?
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).

How are you assessed?
Mathematics is generally assessed by examination, although there is sometimes coursework (often in the form of problem sets) at university level, as well as a project.

What skills have you developed?
Problem solving and logic skills that can be applied to many things in daily life.[/b]

What does doing maths lead to, either in careers or further education?

Outside of academia, a maths degree can lead to careers in business, finance, computer science, economics, intelligence, etc. Within academia, obviously you could go on to do a PhD in mathematics. There is a large crossover with physics - many physics researchers actually did a maths degree, or the other way around.

Do you have any advice for people thinking of picking maths?
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. One of the problems with picking what you want to study at university (for example) is that it's very hard to get a real picture of what the subject is like until you're doing it! It is a difficult degree, so taking it because it is seen as a good degree / will give you good prospects is NOT a good idea. Unless you want to put the work in, you will not succeed at mathematics (this goes for many similar degrees such as physics). This doesn't matter so much at A Level, although you certainly shouldn't take maths if you don't like it. It can be a good supporting A level if you're considering going into any science-based subject or computer science (maths A level is often a requirement if you want to study computer science at uni).
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physicsmaths
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Duno, only thing i liked. Then started to get good at it as a practiced. Rest is history.


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Indeterminate
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I chose maths and further maths at A-level and went on to do a maths degree.

Just because it's a beautiful subject :love:

It also underpins the world we live in and gives you some very useful (and desirable) skills! :yep:
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