whats A-level furthermaths REALLY like?

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vix.xvi
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How hard is it?
How much do you like it?
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identitymatrix
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Hard at first if you're learning in parallel with normal maths. Understand the method then practice and you'll get the hang of it. I really liked it
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Otherdjrj
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Hard but doable if u put in the work
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tundra.x
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(Original post by vix.xvi)
How hard is it?
How much do you like it?
Its difficulty is entirely subjective, as most things are. However, I adhere to a general rule of thumb, that is to say that if you're unable to attain a grade 9 with relative ease in GCSE Mathematics and lack the ethic to refine your Mathematical comprehension through rigorous exercise (if needed), you'd be better off studying a different subject. This mostly pertains to the more difficult statistics and mechanics topics, as they are often harder to grasp immediately.

With respect to enjoyment, it's Maths. If you already feel a sense of gratification upon solving questions, it'll only be amplified.

Just to add, if you intend on studying a Mathematics related course at University, it is highly recommended. c:
Last edited by tundra.x; 4 weeks ago
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Dancer2001
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We did A level maths in the first year, and further maths in the second year. I found the jump from GCSE to A level to be a lot bigger than maths to FM. It’s not loads harder, just more fun.
I found further statistics really easy, even compared to A level statistics, but I struggled with further mechanics (I don’t take physics though).
I just scraped an 8 in GCSE maths, but the first year gave me time to catch up to the people who confidently got 9s, and it was fine by the time we got to further maths.
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vix.xvi
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How would u recommend I should prepare for it? Xx

(Original post by Dancer2001)
We did A level maths in the first year, and further maths in the second year. I found the jump from GCSE to A level to be a lot bigger than maths to FM. It’s not loads harder, just more fun.
I found further statistics really easy, even compared to A level statistics, but I struggled with further mechanics (I don’t take physics though).
(Original post by tundra.x)
Its difficulty is entirely subjective, as most things are. However, I adhere to a general rule of thumb, that is to say that if you're unable to attain a grade 9 with relative ease in GCSE Mathematics and lack the ethic to refine your Mathematical comprehension through rigorous exercise (if needed), you'd be better off studying a different subject. This mostly pertains to the more difficult statistics and mechanics topics, as they are often harder to grasp immediately.

With respect to enjoyment, it's Maths. If you already feel a sense of gratification upon solving questions, it'll only be amplified.

Just to add, if you intend on studying a Mathematics related course at University, it is highly recommended. c:
(Original post by Otherdjrj)
Hard but doable if u put in the work
(Original post by identitymatrix)
Hard at first if you're learning in parallel with normal maths. Understand the method then practice and you'll get the hang of it. I really liked it
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identitymatrix
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(Original post by vix.xvi)
How would u recommend I should prepare for it? Xx
Make sure you're solid at GCSE algebra, then work through a textbook for A Level Maths. Once you've gone through A Level Maths then go through A Level Further Maths. You can find good resources at TLMaths, ExamSolutions, Physicsandmathstutor. Also some good youtube videos to watch are Essence of Calculus and Essence of Linear Algebra, both by 3blue1brown.
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Dancer2001
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(Original post by vix.xvi)
How would u recommend I should prepare for it? Xx
Loads of practice of GCSE algebra. Can you work with algebraic fractions and solve equations with 100% accuracy? How about completing the square? After that, I would focus on graphing loads of quadratics, and try some other graphs if you can do those.
Another thing that might be useful is understanding proof. GCSE proof questions tend to be quite straightforward, but do you understand exactly what you’re showing and why it has to be written out a certain way?
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vix.xvi
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(Original post by Dancer2001)
Loads of practice of GCSE algebra. Can you work with algebraic fractions and solve equations with 100% accuracy? How about completing the square? After that, I would focus on graphing loads of quadratics, and try some other graphs if you can do those.
Another thing that might be useful is understanding proof. GCSE proof questions tend to be quite straightforward, but do you understand exactly what you’re showing and why it has to be written out a certain way?
(Original post by identitymatrix)
Make sure you're solid at GCSE algebra, then work through a textbook for A Level Maths. Once you've gone through A Level Maths then go through A Level Further Maths. You can find good resources at TLMaths, ExamSolutions, Physicsandmathstutor. Also some good youtube videos to watch are Essence of Calculus and Essence of Linear Algebra, both by 3blue1brown.
thanks, will do this
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vix.xvi
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(Original post by Dancer2001)
Loads of practice of GCSE algebra. Can you work with algebraic fractions and solve equations with 100% accuracy? How about completing the square? After that, I would focus on graphing loads of quadratics, and try some other graphs if you can do those.
Another thing that might be useful is understanding proof. GCSE proof questions tend to be quite straightforward, but do you understand exactly what you’re showing and why it has to be written out a certain way?
Do you have to be good at UKMT and stuff like that?
I didn't practice so I didn't do that well in it.
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Dancer2001
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(Original post by vix.xvi)
Do you have to be good at UKMT and stuff like that?
I didn't practice so I didn't do that well in it.
You don’t have to be good at it, it’s a different style of maths, but problem solving stuff is always good practice.
Maths challenge questions help me understand specific topics, and Olympiad papers are good practice for making your answers for longer questions clearer.
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hajima
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Don't let the hysteria that surrounds the subject put you off of it - it really isn't as difficult as everyone makes it out to be.

If you can achieve an 8 in maths GCSE, then you should be fine to take FM A Level; don't worry about doing badly at UKMT or any kind of competition maths, it's completely different to what you'll be facing on a FM A Level paper. Another worry people have is not taking AQA FM GCSE or additional maths OCR - don't worry about that either, most people in my class didn't take them.

Ultimately the only thing that can make you do well is your work ethic. If you are committed to doing well, then you will do well. FM A Level is also a lot more fun than normal maths A Level.
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vix.xvi
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(Original post by hajima)
Don't let the hysteria that surrounds the subject put you off of it - it really isn't as difficult as everyone makes it out to be.

If you can achieve an 8 in maths GCSE, then you should be fine to take FM A Level; don't worry about never having done UKMT or any kind of competition Maths, it's completely different to what you'll be facing on a FM A Level paper. Another worry people have is not taking AQA FM GCSE or additionl maths OCR - don't worry about that either, most people in my class didn't take them.

Ultimately the only thing that can make you do well is your work ethic. If you are committed to doing well, then you will do well. FM A Level is also a lot more fun than normal maths A Level.
thank you this makes me feel a bit better
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vix.xvi
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(Original post by Dancer2001)
You don’t have to be good at it, it’s a different style of maths, but problem solving stuff is always good practice.
Maths challenge questions help me understand specific topics, and Olympiad papers are good practice for making your answers for longer questions clearer.
thanks! this is really helpful
did u mean the maths Olympiad papers? xx they look pretty tough haha
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lhh2003
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I am in year 12 at the moment and after year 13 I plan on taking a third year out. In the summer I plan on taking FM a level and physics a level and doing both in one year. Will this be doable (I have a very good work ethic)?
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hajima
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(Original post by lhh2003)
I am in year 12 at the moment and after year 13 I plan on taking a third year out. In the summer I plan on taking FM a level and physics a level and doing both in one year. Will this be doable (I have a very good work ethic)?
What A Levels are you planning to complete by the end of year 13? Do you mean you're planning to sit physics and FM in your gap year?
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Dancer2001
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(Original post by vix.xvi)
thanks! this is really helpful
did u mean the maths Olympiad papers? xx they look pretty tough haha
If they look hard, try a junior maths Olympiad paper. Some of the questions will be really easy, but there is some proof-type ones where you have to explain your thinking in detail. You can try the harder Olympiads when you find them a bit easier.
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vix.xvi
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(Original post by Dancer2001)
If they look hard, try a junior maths Olympiad paper. Some of the questions will be really easy, but there is some proof-type ones where you have to explain your thinking in detail. You can try the harder Olympiads when you find them a bit easier.
alright will do
thanks again!! have a good day
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lhh2003
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(Original post by hajima)
What A Levels are you planning to complete by the end of year 13? Do you mean you're planning to sit physics and FM in your gap year?
Yeah, I will do about 75% of the AS content over the summer and then will just treat the rest of the content over the normally. Any advise ?
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Pixel_Ninja48
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Alright, I'll give my two cents. I did OCR Additional Mathematics in Year 11, which covered quite a bit of the AS Maths course, so even before joining year 12 I had a good taste of A level normal Maths (if your school doesn't offer Add Maths then certainly have a look at it over the summer after your GCSEs as it certainly helped me hit the ground running in Year 12). I have a friend who is very gifted at maths and hopefully going to Cambridge next year, he did not do Additional Maths as he transferred schools, he told me that the hardest bit for him out of the two years was the very start of year 12.

My school does the whole of the A level maths course in Year 12 and then the whole of the further maths course in Year 13. We ran through the AS level maths and finished it in just over half a term, and then finished the year 2 stuff in just over one term, so we certainly paced it through the material, for the rest of the year we just hit out past papers. I'm not the naturally mathematically gifted kind of person, so after a lesson, I often came out confused or not understanding the material, however, after 30 minutes on youtube it was easy to get a solid understanding of the topic (thanks ExamSolutions!). Further Maths in year 2 it was pretty much the same. I personally don't think there is much difference in the 'hardness' between further maths and normal maths, a lot of the further maths material was taken from the old normal maths A level. Further Maths just adds more topics, more techniques, and generally adds to what you learned in normal maths. I would definitely say that the course is more interesting and gives you a much better appreciation for maths. The difficulty comes with the pace by which you go through the course, we covered almost a topic a lesson and given all worksheets for that topic as homework. So further maths is hard work, but it isn't difficult (if that makes sense?). The difficulty comes where you start to do STEP and olympiad material, where it's based upon A level Maths and Further Maths topics but logically and problem-solving wise it is difficult. Hope that sheds some light on things.
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