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Self teaching A Level Maths after HL Maths? Watch

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    I currently take the IB and am predicted 43 points with 7, 7 , 6, in HL Biology, Chemistry, and Maths. I have recently had a change of heart with regards to career plans and although I have currently applied for Natural Sciences courses at university, I was interested in instead applying for Economics (a big change, I know).

    However, on researching some universities prospectus for Economics and related courses like PPE at UCL etc, a lot of universities seem to ask for either an A * in A Level Maths or a 7 in HL Maths. Now, I feel I would be able to get a 6 in the HL Maths exam, but it is quite tough and supposedly seen in some cases as more equivalent to A Level Further Maths in difficulty.

    For that reason, when I reapply for Economics I feel I could self-study the A Level Maths Syllabus during that time period, and as the IB HL course is seen as harder, would endeavor to get an A *, meeting the grade requirements of the aforementioned courses if I was unfortunately unable to get a 7 in the IB HL Maths exam at the end of the year.

    However, I was unsure of many details of A Level Maths itself. What boards are good to take? Are there specific modules that you need/ some which are harder or easier? Is it feasible to self study the A Level Maths exam content independently, and would I be able to sit an exam without doing coursework relevant to A level?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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    (Original post by Percypig17)
    I currently take the IB and am predicted 43 points with 7, 7 , 6, in HL Biology, Chemistry, and Maths. I have recently had a change of heart with regards to career plans and although I have currently applied for Natural Sciences courses at university, I was interested in instead applying for Economics (a big change, I know).

    However, on researching some universities prospectus for Economics and related courses like PPE at UCL etc, a lot of universities seem to ask for either an A * in A Level Maths or a 7 in HL Maths. Now, I feel I would be able to get a 6 in the HL Maths exam, but it is quite tough and supposedly seen in some cases as more equivalent to A Level Further Maths in difficulty.

    For that reason, when I reapply for Economics I feel I could self-study the A Level Maths Syllabus during that time period, and as the IB HL course is seen as harder, would endeavor to get an A *, meeting the grade requirements of the aforementioned courses if I was unfortunately unable to get a 7 in the IB HL Maths exam at the end of the year.

    However, I was unsure of many details of A Level Maths itself. What boards are good to take? Are there specific modules that you need/ some which are harder or easier? Is it feasible to self study the A Level Maths exam content independently, and would I be able to sit an exam without doing coursework relevant to A level?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Can't go wrong with Edexcel, no coursework, and can do S1 and S2, perfect modules for Econ at uni. The textbooks are self sufficient, but plenty of videos etc available online.

    HOWEVER you may or may not be able to take this depending on timelines.. the New A-levels are being brought in so this could change.

    Because of this I wonder whether you'd be better off resorting HL and studying stats or Econ, yes, but not take exams for it, just as pre uni prep?
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    (Original post by Percypig17)
    I currently take the IB and am predicted 43 points with 7, 7 , 6, in HL Biology, Chemistry, and Maths. I have recently had a change of heart with regards to career plans and although I have currently applied for Natural Sciences courses at university, I was interested in instead applying for Economics (a big change, I know).

    However, on researching some universities prospectus for Economics and related courses like PPE at UCL etc, a lot of universities seem to ask for either an A * in A Level Maths or a 7 in HL Maths. Now, I feel I would be able to get a 6 in the HL Maths exam, but it is quite tough and supposedly seen in some cases as more equivalent to A Level Further Maths in difficulty.

    For that reason, when I reapply for Economics I feel I could self-study the A Level Maths Syllabus during that time period, and as the IB HL course is seen as harder, would endeavor to get an A *, meeting the grade requirements of the aforementioned courses if I was unfortunately unable to get a 7 in the IB HL Maths exam at the end of the year.

    However, I was unsure of many details of A Level Maths itself. What boards are good to take? Are there specific modules that you need/ some which are harder or easier? Is it feasible to self study the A Level Maths exam content independently, and would I be able to sit an exam without doing coursework relevant to A level?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    So, your last chance to sit the A-level maths exams in its current modular form is 2018, i think resists go onto 2019 but I'm not sure... A-level maths is relatively straight forward to self-teach... Countless free online resources explaining all the core/some applied modules such as Hegarty Maths, Exam Solutions and M4ths.com.... Maths is a progressive subject, anyone can learn it, not anyone can become a maths prodigy, but that's not your goal, learning A-level maths is your goal and I believe literally anybody can do it with enough perseverance. In terms of boards take Edexcel. You'll work at your own pace with this, don't be too hard on yourself if you're taking weeks to get your head around something it took someone else hours to figure out... It's really subjective as to how difficult you'll find it, but if you stick at it and don't quit the moment you don't understand something, you could easily get an A* self-taught, in both Maths and Further Maths, within a year.
    Take it from someone who's currently doing it , It's doable.
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    The others seem to have answered your last paragraph (I agree with SeanFM, Edexcel is the most convenient).

    (Original post by Percypig17)
    I currently take the IB and am predicted 43 points with 7, 7 , 6, in HL Biology, Chemistry, and Maths. I have recently had a change of heart with regards to career plans and although I have currently applied for Natural Sciences courses at university, I was interested in instead applying for Economics (a big change, I know).

    However, on researching some universities prospectus for Economics and related courses like PPE at UCL etc, a lot of universities seem to ask for either an A * in A Level Maths or a 7 in HL Maths.
    Now, I'm not sure but I find it very doubtful that you'd be able to 'mix-and-match' qualifications like that. If you're doing the IB diploma as part of your offer, then I don't think a university (in general) will be willing to swap out one of your IB qualifications with an A-Level one whilst keeping the other IB subjects. Have you emailed whatever universities you're looking at for clarification on this or sorted out some special circumstances for this?

    Now, I feel I would be able to get a 6 in the HL Maths exam, but it is quite tough and supposedly seen in some cases as more equivalent to A Level Further Maths in difficulty.
    As someone who did both: HL Maths is easier than Further Maths (that said: I might have a skewed view, they are both general high-school qualifications and hence overly easy to someone applying for a maths degree).

    For that reason, when I reapply for Economics I feel I could self-study the A Level Maths Syllabus during that time period, and as the IB HL course is seen as harder, would endeavor to get an A *, meeting the grade requirements of the aforementioned courses if I was unfortunately unable to get a 7 in the IB HL Maths exam at the end of the year.
    Right, this comes back to the previous point. The "grade requirements" differ from "offer conditions". If you apply to the university and declare that you are sitting the IB Diploma then your offer won't be "A* in A-Level Maths or xxx in IB" it'll be only "xxx in IB", so getting an A* in A-Level Maths won't mean that you meet your offer.

    [That said: again, I disagree with the fact that the HL Maths course is harder, if anything: it covers less content and the exams aren't really very hard - imo you'd be better off focusing your efforts on exam technique and building up your self-confidence so you can get that 7 in HL - especially timing, from what I remember from two years ago - the only "difficult" part of the exam is the timing (something I find pretty stupid) rather than ditching your efforts in HL and focusing them into learning new content in A-Level maths and practicing A-Level maths, seems rather inefficient to me]
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    First focus on the exam in front of you, not making contingency plans "in case" you don't get a 7. Predicted grades aren't be all and end all (I was under predicted 5 points in IB...) and it's better to put it out of mind, especially since you noted it's likely you'll be taking a year out to reapply for a different subject anyway. Do the exam you have, and if you get a 7 then don't worry, if not THEN start looking at the prospect of picking up A-level Maths/FM.

    Also on a side note, IB HL is probably closer to A-level "Pure" Maths where you do C1-4 + FP1 and 2 (or more realistically FP1 and S1 or something to align to whatever you're doing for the option paper). The C1-4 material largely overlaps with the IB HL syllabus, and IB covers some of the FM topics (matrices, complex numbers, and infinite series iirc, although FM does more than what's in HL over 2 modules, and less in 1, but some other topics as well in each individual module; it's not an exact match). Arguably those are the most important FM topics for university level maths prep, as all the stuff with weird and wonderful coordinate systems and hyperbolic geometry and so on is largely irrelevant for most courses.
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    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    The C1-4 material largely overlaps with the IB HL syllabus, and IB covers some of the FM topics (matrices, complex numbers, and infinite series iirc, although FM does more than what's in HL over 2 modules, and less in 1, but some other topics as well in each individual module; it's not an exact match). Arguably those are the most important FM topics for university level maths prep, as all the stuff with weird and wonderful coordinate systems and hyperbolic geometry and so on is largely irrelevant for most courses.
    Actually, IB doesn't cover any matrices at all (since 2014), nor does it cover (general) infinite series in its core Calculus topic (it does cover it in the options) - unless you mean arithmetic/geometric series in which case A-Level does it in C1/2. You cover complex numbers in FP1 to the same level as you do in IB with the option to do a lot more at FP2.
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    (Original post by Zacken)
    Actually, IB doesn't cover any matrices at all (since 2014), nor does it cover (general) infinite series in its core Calculus topic (it does cover it in the options) - unless you mean arithmetic/geometric series in which case A-Level does it in C1/2. You cover complex numbers in FP1 to the same level as you do in IB with the option to do a lot more at FP2.
    Wow lol, I did IB in 2010 and even maths studies did matrices... :s
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    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    Wow lol, I did IB in 2010 and even maths studies did matrices... :s
    Matrices was recently taken out of IB maths, c. 2014 I believe. They basically stuffed it in the Further Maths topic Linear Algebra instead.
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    (Original post by DotA2Player)
    Matrices was recently taken out of IB maths, c. 2014 I believe. They basically stuffed it in the Further Maths topic Linear Algebra instead.
    Well I mean it is linear algebra but it was probably one of the main draws of IB HL maths vs A level without FM.

    Did they replace it with a new topic or something, or just drop it entirely I wonder?
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    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    Did they replace it with a new topic or something, or just drop it entirely I wonder?
    Pretty sure they just dropped it (and some other minor stuff - like removing circular permutations, for example) and then added minor things here and there, but no new topics on the whole.
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    (Original post by Zacken)
    Pretty sure they just dropped it (and some other minor stuff - like removing circular permutations, for example) and then added minor things here and there, but no new topics on the whole.
    Sounds a lot weaker than it used to be as uni maths prep; that said it was notoriously hard before so, maybe that's a good thing. It's a bit of a shame since much fewer schools do IB FM than A level FM so a lot of IB students won't be as well prepared compared with A levellers for those courses where FM is a implicit or explicit prerequisite (at Oxbridge and Imperial for example...).

    well to get back on topic for OP if you do FM as well as A level maths I think you wouldn't be viewed as a pure retaker and it may be considered in your favour even then
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    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    Sounds a lot weaker than it used to be as uni maths prep; that said it was notoriously hard before so, maybe that's a good thing.
    Speaking from a Cambridge student point of view: neither IB (in the past or now) or A-Level maths is/was anywhere near challenging/hard for a typical Cambridge maths applicant. It's more of an annoying formality to get out of the way so you can focus on STEP. I'm not sure how other students perceive it, but pretty much everybody here at Cambridge agrees with this point of view.
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    (Original post by Zacken)
    Speaking from a Cambridge student point of view: neither IB (in the past or now) or A-Level maths is/was anywhere near challenging/hard for a typical Cambridge maths applicant. It's more of an annoying formality to get out of the way so you can focus on STEP. I'm not sure how other students perceive it, but pretty much everybody here at Cambridge agrees with this point of view.
    I was thinking more in terms of physics/engineering and so on. Cambridge maths is in a whole league of its own and I wouldn't expect applicants to really have issues with it; for mathematically based STEM courses having matrices and complex numbers before starting is handy though.

    The nature of uni maths is such that I doubt anything less than IB FM will be much help (since that at least introduces some of the more formal elements of "baby analysis-calculus" and some basic groups/linear algebra, skimming through the syllabi).

    It's not strictly speaking necessary in either case, as you'll be taught it in first year abyway, but having seen it before means you have more space to focus on other topics which haven't been introduced and/or that the individual may be weaker at.
 
 
 
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