Should I attempt further maths A-level Watch

indiapaige
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Hi! I start a-levels in a few days but am still very unsure on whether to take further maths alongside my other options of maths, economics and english literature. I got a 9 in maths GCSE and an A* in further maths GCSE.
I wasn't considering it until I came out with very good GCSE maths results and also did some research into oxbridge economics based courses (eg. economics and management) and saw that 90% of applicant had further maths.
Is it worth adding a whole other a-level worth of workload to make for a better oxbridge application?
I also must add I am good at maths but I am not naturally GREAT. I only got such good grades because of the time and effort I put into improving. Is maths and further maths at A-level similar in the way that as long as i put in the time and effort I will be able to get a very good grade (hopefully A/A*) even if im not naturally very gifted in maths ?
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wattm056
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congrats on your GCSEs results!
I've just finished alevels, and the was my college did further maths was we did single maths in one year and the did the further maths the following (so we took one alevel early). whereas i know a college near me does both exams at the end of secon year. i can only speak for the way my college did it.
at the start of first year- me being a bit like you- i felt overwhelmed as I was in a class of people who got 9s and a*s in maths and further maths without having to try (they were just that type of person) and some had even done further maths as. that being said, others hadn't even done further maths gcse, so the class was quite spread with super genius and not so much.
i found the workload was okay so long as you constantly work (you can not try for months and hope to pull it out the bag at the end) and the people who were super smart at the start were struggling to get the grades they wanted at the end of the year whereas those who worked all year got the grades.
i got an A in my first year. so I decided to retake (you get to keep your highest grade) and when i retook, I found it so incredibly easy as I'd had a years extra maths. further maths, however, was tough. but again I don't think it's as hard as doing an extra alevel (more like an extra half) - I'm guessing you'll chose stats for economics and that is definitely one of the easier modules!
basically, I'd say it is worth it if you're willing to work for it. give it a go for a couple months (it will be tough at the start) and then decide after Christmas to see if it's worth the extra work. most colleges say that's to late to change, but if you want to, I've never heard of colleges not letting people drop corses.
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lemmens
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(Original post by indiapaige)
Hi! I start a-levels in a few days but am still very unsure on whether to take further maths alongside my other options of maths, economics and english literature. I got a 9 in maths GCSE and an A* in further maths GCSE.
I wasn't considering it until I came out with very good GCSE maths results and also did some research into oxbridge economics based courses (eg. economics and management) and saw that 90% of applicant had further maths.
Is it worth adding a whole other a-level worth of workload to make for a better oxbridge application?
I also must add I am good at maths but I am not naturally GREAT. I only got such good grades because of the time and effort I put into improving. Is maths and further maths at A-level similar in the way that as long as i put in the time and effort I will be able to get a very good grade (hopefully A/A*) even if im not naturally very gifted in maths ?
Further maths at A-level is very challenging and I do think you need some sort of natural ability in order to attain the top top grades. That being said, the majority of where there that grade will come from is the work you put in. The more maths you do, the better you will be. Your GCSE grades are amazing (well done by the way!!) and you should cope just fine with further maths. You sound very hardworking so that coupled with a good problem-solving technique and grounding in maths will help you do really well. The only thing I would say is make sure you like maths - you’ll be doing a heck of a lot of it and seeing as A-levels are much more difficult than GCSE, you need to have a real interest and passion for what you’ll be studying.

Further maths is a great subject to have, it fast became one of my favourites, and it will keep a lot of doors open for you. It will be very good for an economics degree, and still allow you to go down a mathematics route if you change your mind. LSE is an amazing university for econ, and they do some joint courses with maths also which further is recommended, if not essential, for.

Doing further as your fourth subject is sort of like doing 3.5 A-levels as there is a fair bit of continuation from normal maths. That being said, the content and workload is heavy. If things get too much, you could always just take one subject to AS and then drop it for your second year? If by the end of y12 you’ve decided econ is for you, perhaps dropping English would be a good idea unless you’re on track to achieve all the grades you need and are okay.

Best of luck with your A-levels, and if you have any other questions about them, I’m happy to help where I can
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indiapaige
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Thank you for your advice! I spoke to my maths teacher and she said that I could always give it a go and drop it in the first few weeks/months if the workload is too intense. Do you think not taking further maths could be detrimental to uni applications for economics ? Would it be better to takeonly 3 a-levels and potentially get higher grades in those?
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indiapaige
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(Original post by wattm056)
congrats on your GCSEs results!
I've just finished alevels, and the was my college did further maths was we did single maths in one year and the did the further maths the following (so we took one alevel early). whereas i know a college near me does both exams at the end of secon year. i can only speak for the way my college did it.
at the start of first year- me being a bit like you- i felt overwhelmed as I was in a class of people who got 9s and a*s in maths and further maths without having to try (they were just that type of person) and some had even done further maths as. that being said, others hadn't even done further maths gcse, so the class was quite spread with super genius and not so much.
i found the workload was okay so long as you constantly work (you can not try for months and hope to pull it out the bag at the end) and the people who were super smart at the start were struggling to get the grades they wanted at the end of the year whereas those who worked all year got the grades.
i got an A in my first year. so I decided to retake (you get to keep your highest grade) and when i retook, I found it so incredibly easy as I'd had a years extra maths. further maths, however, was tough. but again I don't think it's as hard as doing an extra alevel (more like an extra half) - I'm guessing you'll chose stats for economics and that is definitely one of the easier modules!
basically, I'd say it is worth it if you're willing to work for it. give it a go for a couple months (it will be tough at the start) and then decide after Christmas to see if it's worth the extra work. most colleges say that's to late to change, but if you want to, I've never heard of colleges not letting people drop corses.
Thanks for the advice! I think I will give it a go at the start and see how I feel as my sixth form say that about half end up dropping it at somepoint so there is no harm in doing the same haha. I also know my school give a lot of extra support to further mathematicians and so I should get help if/when needed. Also, you did very well so well done!!!
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lemmens
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(Original post by indiapaige)
Thank you for your advice! I spoke to my maths teacher and she said that I could always give it a go and drop it in the first few weeks/months if the workload is too intense. Do you think not taking further maths could be detrimental to uni applications for economics ? Would it be better to takeonly 3 a-levels and potentially get higher grades in those?
I don’t think it’s be detrimental no, as it’s not a requirement and a passion for economics and aptitude for maths and logical thinking are a lot more important. For example, the admissions test for Oxford isn’t a maths one, it’s a thinking skills one. I’d say you could get into a good university without it, my best friend’s boyfriend is studying econ at Durham without further maths AS or A-level.

That being said, at some other competitive unis like Oxford, Cambridge or LSE it might reduce your chance of getting an offer. Although further isn’t a requirement, it’s considered useful and a lot of, but certainly not all, the successful applicants have it. You’re best off contacting the subject admissions email at the unis you’re interested in and seeing what they say about it.

Definitely try it out for a while and see what you think, you can always drop it if need be. It’s always better to get say A*A*A than AABC, for example.
Last edited by lemmens; 1 month ago
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indiapaige
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(Original post by lemmens)
I don’t think it’s be detrimental no, as it’s not a requirement and a passion for economics and aptitude for maths and logical thinking are a lot more important. For example, the admissions test for Oxford isn’t a maths one, it’s a thinking skills one. I’d say you could get into a good university without it, my best friend’s boyfriend is studying econ at Durham without further maths AS or A-level.

That being said, at some other competitive unis like Oxford, Cambridge or LSE it might reduce your chance of getting an offer. Although further isn’t a requirement, it’s considered useful and a lot of, but certainly not all, the successful applicants have it. You’re best off contacting the subject admissions email at the unis you’re interested in and seeing what they say about it.

Definitely try it out for a while and see what you think, you can always drop it if need be. It’s always better to get say A*A*A than AABC, for example.
Okay!Thank you so much for your advice and emailing the admissions team is definitely a good idea. I’m also going to the Oxford open day in a few weeks and so should be able to speak to the economics department there!
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lemmens
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(Original post by indiapaige)
Okay!Thank you so much for your advice and emailing the admissions team is definitely a good idea. I’m also going to the Oxford open day in a few weeks and so should be able to speak to the economics department there!
That’s no problem, I’m happy to help!! Asking at open days is a great idea, also see if you can try and talk to some current students and see what subjects they did. Best of luck
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