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Article: What's the difference between GCSE and A level maths? Watch

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    TSR Community Team
    Are you worried about the step up from GCSE to A-Level? Read advice from other students here

    A shout-out to the following people for their great advice in this article:
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    You need to know basic mathematical concepts from gcse cos c1 does start off with a lot of GCSE eg indices and graphs but you learn some of the same concepts but in new detail. The first part of as maths c1 has a lot of GCSE but as you go onto c2 and maybe 3&4 it's very different from GCSE and needs much more practice to understand the concepts
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    If your algebra is decent then the step up from GCSE to AS really isn't that big. C1 and S1 are no harder than GCSE, C2 is slightly harder but as long as you do a lot of past papers you'll be okay. The step up from AS to A2 is far greater imo. C3 and C4 are significantly harder, but as long as you do loads of past papers you'll get a good grade.
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    If you did Further Maths GCSE or Additional Maths FMSQ then there is pretty much no jump whatsoever. It will be more difficult, but it's also a lot easier to get higher percentages.
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    It completely depends upon the person and one question: do you think like a mathematician?

    Personally, I do not. I got a pretty secure A* at GCSE so I decided to continue with it to AS, which in many ways I do not regret. It was completely new and pretty rewarding once you get the hang of something, but this came at a heavy price. I would do double the homework each week, complete every single paper available and get outside help but yet it was the bane of my studies. I really, really struggled. Around exam season, I finally started banging full marks on every past paper, yet when I went into the exam hall and met questions with difficult twists and new intricacies, I panicked. In the end I managed to achieve 86 UMS average across the AS Level, but I never fully understood what I was doing; plus, when I consider Biology (a subject I only really started trying in just before exam season because I was so preoccupied with Maths before this) and the ease with which I achieved over 90 UMS, it reminds me how much effort Maths really did require. I certainly wouldn't have been able to achieve an A* at A2 unless I pushed myself even harder than I did in Year 12.

    But don't let this put you off - there were others in my class that would get full marks on every question after meeting the theory once, and they would only need to brush up on it a few days before the exam. It just made sense to them.

    Make the decision based on your own way of thinking - only you fully understand your own mind. But, even if you do choose a subject that you aren't compatible with, anything is achievable if you push yourself and are prepared for lots of blood, sweat and tears :-) x
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    There's none of the stupid stuff like questionnaires, place value, simple questions like draw a 5cm line (actual foundation question), standard form and common sense questions that you don't have to have ever studied maths to get like at GCSE.
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    (Original post by B_9710)
    There's none of the stupid stuff like questionnaires, place value, simple questions like draw a 5cm line (actual foundation question), standard form and common sense questions that you don't have to have ever studied maths to get like at GCSE.
    Have you seen some of the first few questions on a C1 or S1 paper? They're pretty stupid as well... :-P
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    (Original post by Zacken)
    Have you seen some of the first few questions on a C1 or S1 paper? They're pretty stupid as well... :-P
    Yeah but you have to have studied a little bit of maths to get those questions at least, I mean your average person of the street does not know law of indices, but they could probably draw a line that was 5cm.
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    (Original post by B_9710)
    Yeah but you have to have studied a little bit of maths to get those questions at least, I mean your average person of the street does not know law of indices, but they could probably draw a line that was 5cm.
    Yeah, fair enough, my comment was more in jest and aimed towards things like "Find \sqrt[3]{125}." (Jan 2009) that actually comes up on A-Level papers.
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    (Original post by Zacken)
    Yeah, fair enough, my comment was more in jest and aimed towards things like "Find \sqrt[3]{125}." (Jan 2009) that actually comes up on A-Level papers.
    In my experience the average person on the street has only a vague idea of what a square root is and practically no idea of what a cube root is.
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    I found AS OK but A2 was just ridiculous. I wish I had ended on a high with the B I got at AS and not lived to see the E I ended up getting overall. I personally think if you are doing other science subjects, such as Physics (not so much Biology) you will find it easier. I did French, economics and history which was no help at all.
 
 
 
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