How similar is the style of A Level Maths to GCSE?

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SuperiorVenaCava
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Hi,

Just been wondering what exactly makes A Level Maths such a step up from GCSE and the main differences between them. I understand maths is maths but would I be right in saying there are less 'word' problems at A Level maths and more just raw numbers (which I like) than at GCSE? If so are there more differences/defining features of A Level maths and how hard would it be to understand the concepts? I understand that it is completely subjective on how difficult we find maths but say for an A* at GCSE, what grade is likely with hard work?
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yusyus
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(Original post by SuperiorVenaCava)
Hi,

Just been wondering what exactly makes A Level Maths such a step up from GCSE and the main differences between them. I understand maths is maths but would I be right in saying there are less 'word' problems at A Level maths and more just raw numbers (which I like) than at GCSE? If so are there more differences/defining features of A Level maths and how hard would it be to understand the concepts? I understand that it is completely subjective on how difficult we find maths but say for an A* at GCSE, what grade is likely with hard work?
in the old spec yes pure modules are less wordy but applied ones can still be wordy, not sure about new spec
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computernerd1001
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I'll let someone else detail how different the two are, considering I'm not the best person for that, but do remember that you'll be on the linear spec whereas anyone who is year 12 or above would have done the modular specification. Just a heads up!
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SuperiorVenaCava
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(Original post by bruh2132)
in the old spec yes pure modules are less wordy but applied ones can still be wordy, not sure about new spec
I've heard the new spec means we are required to take applied ones grrr:unimpressed:
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yusyus
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(Original post by SuperiorVenaCava)
I've heard the new spec means we are required to take applied ones grrr:unimpressed:
pretty much always had to take applied ones unless u were taking pure maths as an A level, you could take a look at a spec paper for your board on their website btw
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SuperiorVenaCava
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(Original post by bruh2132)
pretty much always had to take applied ones unless u were taking pure maths as an A level, you could take a look at a spec paper for your board on their website btw
Hahaha I feel silly not thinking to do that! How do you think that someone who got an A* in Maths would do if they kept a similar aptitude? Would it result in a higher or lower grade because I've heard Maths is that much harder at A Level
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yusyus
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(Original post by SuperiorVenaCava)
Hahaha I feel silly not thinking to do that! How do you think that someone who got an A* in Maths would do if they kept a similar aptitude? Would it result in a higher or lower grade because I've heard Maths is that much harder at A Level
well for me I kept at the same pace(got an A*) and was failing at the start of AS(C's and D's but once it clicks it gets pretty easy(now predicted an A*), you will have to work though- again not sure about new spec
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SuperiorVenaCava
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(Original post by bruh2132)
well for me I kept at the same pace(got an A*) and was failing at the start of AS(C's and D's but once it clicks it gets pretty easy(now predicted an A*), you will have to work though- again not sure about new spec
That's interesting and hopefully I can maintain the same sort of grade towards A Level and I'm willing to put some very hard work in :afraid:
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cheesedrew
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in gcse you might give 15 to 20 questions. more room for error. in a level you might only have 7 or 8 questions. mess up one question and you could drop up to 3 grades. it does happen.

my experience from the old spec
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Ze Witcher
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(Original post by SuperiorVenaCava)
Hahaha I feel silly not thinking to do that! How do you think that someone who got an A* in Maths would do if they kept a similar aptitude? Would it result in a higher or lower grade because I've heard Maths is that much harder at A Level
Hi, I got an A* in A-level maths (finished this year) and only got an A in GCSE (1 ums off an A* - peak )

From what i've been told from my A-level teacher, who was also teaching the new syllabus for GCSE maths (1-9 grading system), you guys effectively had the 'easier' topics from C3/C4 (not sure if it was C4, can't remember) which we didn't have when we're were doing GCSE. So in other words, you'll probably have a better preperation for A-level maths then us old spec people
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BTAnonymous
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I sat Edexcel GCSE Maths

I am currently sitting AQA A level Maths


Huge difference in terms of the wording. GCSEs were very 'English-ly' whereas A level is more 'Math-sy'.

Layout difference was a big shock to me at first. Loads of spacing for working (which suits my thinking perfectly as I NEED to write down all my thoughts)

There are less topics to learn in A level however the topics are a lot harder and link together significantly more than GCSE where you learn one topic and it doesn't correlate much to any other topics in the syllabus.

You could get away at GCSE Maths pretty easily if you did a few past papers. With A level maths, it's not as hard as people make it on here (everyone f***ing exaggerates it like it's solving the cure to cancer) but you do need to think veeerryryyyyyyyy logically and think outside the box a little. Some questions may not click straight away like GCSE so you need to sit there for a minute and think; don't panic which is where I went wrong in my first AS exam.
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SuperiorVenaCava
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(Original post by Ze Witcher)
Hi, I got an A* in A-level maths (finished this year) and only got an A in GCSE (1 ums off an A* - peak )

From what i've been told from my A-level teacher, who was also teaching the new syllabus for GCSE maths (1-9 grading system), you guys effectively had the 'easier' topics from C3/C4 (not sure if it was C4, can't remember) which we didn't have when we're were doing GCSE. So in other words, you'll probably have a better preperation for A-level maths then us old spec people
Yeah I've seen the old spec papers and I shrivelled thinking about what the jump from GCSE to A level must have been like for you guys. Congrats on the A* tho:bunny:
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Ze Witcher
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(Original post by SuperiorVenaCava)
Yeah I've seen the old spec papers and I shrivelled thinking about what the jump from GCSE to A level must have been like for you guys. Congrats on the A* tho:bunny:
Cheers

Honestly, the jump from GCSE to AS (in my opinion) isn't that big. The more noticible jump is from AS to A2 - that's where **** gets real.
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8Greenorange
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Is anyone aware what it means when it says mechanics and statistics? The teacher at school told me you do both but one group does it in the first year and then second. Appreciate if anyone knows thanks 🙏🏼
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Misaki24
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Can i do a level maths with grade 6?
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Andrew Dainty
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At GCSE I got an A* in maths. Honestly I didn't find the transition between GCSE and A-level difficult, and many of the concepts in C1 (easiest module) are very simular to GCSE, so it felt more of a review. The style of questions are slightly different though, as the questions are more focused on functions and manipulation of algebra, and less of basic computation of numbers. At AS I was so excited to learn more complex maths that I started to learn C3 and C4 (A2 modules) before my AS exams, but this lead to me neglecting C2 and S1 (Harder AS modules) past papers, which resulted in me getting a B (2ums from an A) at AS. Just a heads up in case you make the same mistake as me.
This year I got an A* in maths, and an A* in further maths (I took AS and A2 this year) so even if the first year doesn't go as well as you would like, you progress naturally through the second year and the course doesn't seem to get more difficult, in my opinion.
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SuperiorVenaCava
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(Original post by BTAnonymous)
I sat Edexcel GCSE Maths

I am currently sitting AQA A level Maths


Huge difference in terms of the wording. GCSEs were very 'English-ly' whereas A level is more 'Math-sy'.

Layout difference was a big shock to me at first. Loads of spacing for working (which suits my thinking perfectly as I NEED to write down all my thoughts)

There are less topics to learn in A level however the topics are a lot harder and link together significantly more than GCSE where you learn one topic and it doesn't correlate much to any other topics in the syllabus.

You could get away at GCSE Maths pretty easily if you did a few past papers. With A level maths, it's not as hard as people make it on here (everyone f***ing exaggerates it like it's solving the cure to cancer) but you do need to think veeerryryyyyyyyy logically and think outside the box a little. Some questions may not click straight away like GCSE so you need to sit there for a minute and think; don't panic which is where I went wrong in my first AS exam.
Ahaha very well put. Glad to hear that its less Englishy and hopefully I get accustomed to the style quickly
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SuperiorVenaCava
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(Original post by Andrew Dainty)
At GCSE I got an A* in maths. Honestly I didn't find the transition between GCSE and A-level difficult, and many of the concepts in C1 (easiest module) are very simular to GCSE, so it felt more of a review. The style of questions are slightly different though, as the questions are more focused on functions and manipulation of algebra, and less of basic computation of numbers. At AS I was so excited to learn more complex maths that I started to learn C3 and C4 (A2 modules) before my AS exams, but this lead to me neglecting C2 and S1 (Harder AS modules) past papers, which resulted in me getting a B (2ums from an A) at AS. Just a heads up in case you make the same mistake as me.
This year I got an A* in maths, and an A* in further maths (I took AS and A2 this year) so even if the first year doesn't go as well as you would like, you progress naturally through the second year and the course doesn't seem to get more difficult, in my opinion.
That is so relieving, thank you! I'm happy to hear that algebra plays a larger role because it is honestly my favourite aspect of maths
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SuperiorVenaCava
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(Original post by cheesedrew)
in gcse you might give 15 to 20 questions. more room for error. in a level you might only have 7 or 8 questions. mess up one question and you could drop up to 3 grades. it does happen.

my experience from the old spec
Thanks for the heads up, would you say that because there are less questions, it grants us greater flexibility on time allowance, e.g would I be able to think about the question longer before answering it than GCSE where we have to work relatively quickly?
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cheesedrew
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(Original post by SuperiorVenaCava)
Thanks for the heads up, would you say that because there are less questions, it grants us greater flexibility on time allowance, e.g would I be able to think about the question longer before answering it than GCSE where we have to work relatively quickly?
Sadly, no, you do not get more time to think. The truth is, the people who do get the A* will not get it by fluke. By that I mean there's no question or doubt whether they get an A or they might get an A*.
These people know what question 1 will be before they've even turned the page, they will look at the numbers and figures given by the question, without even reading the question, and begin working through it. Although maths and especially further maths can be tricky, there is method and technique to every topic and question type, that will become second nature after repetition and tedium.

If you do find yourself reading a question for more than 40 or so seconds and have no clue what's going on, well, it's not a good sign at all. You start to panic, maybe skipping the question saying to yourself you'll come back to it later only to realise an hour has passed and you're no where near completion.

However not all is doom and gloom. Do the past papers again and again, understand why and where your errors occur, and you will get the top marks
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