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Should I do core maths or normal maths A level in my gap year?

Hi guys currently I am doing media studies, business and graphics. However, I really want to do computer science at university and have regretted my a level subjects :frown:

I was already on planning on taking a gap year after year 13 (I am currently transitioning into year 13) so I thought I could either do A Level maths or core maths to help me get ready for those courses.

The thing is if I did a level maths it would be insanely difficult to get ready and such in 2 years especially how I only got a 5 in GCSE maths.

The other option would be to do core maths but that would be a hassle to sort out as I am already confused on how to sit those exams and how to even revise for it. However I could sit the exams this year during year 13 which would save me loads of time during my gap year where I could get a job and make extra money for travelling or going to uni.

The last option for me would be to just revise gcse maths higher in year 13 and during gap year revise a level maths for a year unofficially to get me ready for comp science.

This sounds like a more viable option for me especially how I found more than 8 courses that do not require any maths A Level and are pretty decent unis ( I don't care about going to top Russel group unis). So guys, what would you recommend me to do I am super confused and any guidance would be appreciated. Stay safe :smile:
Reply 1
I remember starting a level maths not knowing how to solve a quadratic so i think any1 can do it.

I'm pretty sure i did the OCR core maths back in GCSE and as far as im aware its normaly only ever a replacement for GCSE maths (even though its a level 3 qualification).

A 5 in GCSE maths isn't bad. Everything you need in a level maths you will learn. I remember quite a few things in GCSE maths we half learned / never learned, which I cba to revise and luckily never needed them. Therefore, I probably wouldn't recommend taking it.

A level maths is doable. For mechanics - do past papers <--- there are a limited number of Qs and the same Qs seem to appear every year. Pure <--- madasmaths has tones of prac Q. Maths and physics tutor have the past papers.
(edited 6 months ago)
Reply 2
So would you recommend me to take it then? Is it worth the two years I'm gonna take out for my gap year?
Reply 3
Considering, a level maths is pretty much a must for most CS courses (I would double check cause i dont know how high ur aiming), I would do a level maths. The trick is don't slack off / have a timetable. It isn't crazy hard just try and stick with it.
Reply 4
Yeah I mean I already found like 10 courses that don't require it and emailed/called those unis and they said it would be taught in the course so maybe it worth not doing it. Really conflicted right now lol
(edited 6 months ago)
Reply 5
Original post by Clivierx
Yeah I mean I already found like 10 courses that don't require it and emailed/called those unis and they said it would be taught in the course so maybe it worth not doing it. Really conflicted right now lol


Do you but at least for uni application / doing the degree, core maths and GCSE wont teach you what you need to know.
Reply 6
Wont they teach me all the basics and such inside of the uni course?
Reply 7
Original post by Clivierx
Wont they teach me all the basics and such inside of the uni course?


Depends on how indepth they go with algorithms because it can get really complicated. I doubt they willl teach maths for a 3 year degree. A foundation year course will likely teach you the fundamentals.

Having looked it up a foundation year seems like a rly good option as it will teach you the fundamentals. However, some do require a relevant a level subject like: cs, maths, fm and physics.
(edited 6 months ago)
Reply 8
Original post by Clivierx
Hi guys currently I am doing media studies, business and graphics. However, I really want to do computer science at university and have regretted my a level subjects :frown:

I was already on planning on taking a gap year after year 13 (I am currently transitioning into year 13) so I thought I could either do A Level maths or core maths to help me get ready for those courses.

The thing is if I did a level maths it would be insanely difficult to get ready and such in 2 years especially how I only got a 5 in GCSE maths.

The other option would be to do core maths but that would be a hassle to sort out as I am already confused on how to sit those exams and how to even revise for it. However I could sit the exams this year during year 13 which would save me loads of time during my gap year where I could get a job and make extra money for travelling or going to uni.

The last option for me would be to just revise gcse maths higher in year 13 and during gap year revise a level maths for a year unofficially to get me ready for comp science.

This sounds like a more viable option for me especially how I found more than 8 courses that do not require any maths A Level and are pretty decent unis ( I don't care about going to top Russel group unis). So guys, what would you recommend me to do I am super confused and any guidance would be appreciated. Stay safe :smile:


Like JaCey04 I started A Level maths not knowing how to solve a quadratic and I've just finished the course with an A* so it is entirely possible you could do it. Imo A Level maths is very different from GCSE maths and this is a good thing (at least I think so)

I'm not sure what core maths is but from the research I've just done (in about 10 seconds) I'd recommend doing an AS Level in year 13 officially for the following reasons

You could get a predicted grade to use with A Level Maths when applying for CS in your gap year (Your school won't be able to give you a predicted grade without some kind of evidence of your ability in A Level maths which you could use AS maths as)

You would only need to take 1 year off to do the A Level since you would've already done the year 1 content (AS is the first-year content) during year 13.
Reply 9
I would say you should go back and do A level maths. There's no such thing as too late when it comes to university, but you need to hit a minimum bar to be accepted even to a foundational course. An A Level in some kind of STEM is that bar.

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