The Student Room Group

Retake A Level Maths in my 40s - Advice

I am looking at revisiting A Level maths, having got a C in it in 1999! I mucked around in sixth form and didn’t study very hard, I feel I have unfinished business with it. I previously got an A at GCSE, so feel I am generally capable. Also got a 2.1 in Decision Maths as part of my Business degree.

I am considering starting by revising GCSE maths content then moving up to A Level, self teaching with online resources and CGP/exam board books.

Can you help advise what exam board to target? Looking our local schools they all seem to take Edexcel at A level. My son may well be taking it in a few years time so was thinking it could be useful to focus on the same board.

Also, if I were to start recapping GCSE is it better to also look at Edexcel or AQA? I noticed a lot of schools seem to focus on AQA for GCSE, any reason why?

Most appreciate your advice so I can get going, thanks!
Original post by yoshiblue
I am looking at revisiting A Level maths, having got a C in it in 1999! I mucked around in sixth form and didn’t study very hard, I feel I have unfinished business with it. I previously got an A at GCSE, so feel I am generally capable. Also got a 2.1 in Decision Maths as part of my Business degree.

I am considering starting by revising GCSE maths content then moving up to A Level, self teaching with online resources and CGP/exam board books.

Can you help advise what exam board to target? Looking our local schools they all seem to take Edexcel at A level. My son may well be taking it in a few years time so was thinking it could be useful to focus on the same board.

Also, if I were to start recapping GCSE is it better to also look at Edexcel or AQA? I noticed a lot of schools seem to focus on AQA for GCSE, any reason why?

Most appreciate your advice so I can get going, thanks!

My school did AQA maths at GCSE, AQA maths at A Level. Different schools choose different exam boards, although the content you will learn is similar, the exam would have different style of questions. For example, AQA has paper 1 (pure, 100 marks), paper 2 (pure 50 marks, mechanics 50 marks), paper 3 (pure 50 marks, statistics 50 marks).
Our school used these textbooks at A Level:
https://www.cambridge.org/gb/education/subject/mathematics/level-mathematics/a-level-mathematics-aqa-student-book-2-year-2?isbn=9781316644256&format=PB
https://www.cambridge.org/gb/education/subject/mathematics/level-mathematics/a-level-mathematics-aqa-student-book-1-as-year-1?isbn=9781316644225&format=PB

They have a lot of practice questions
Reply 2
Original post by yoshiblue
I am looking at revisiting A Level maths, having got a C in it in 1999! I mucked around in sixth form and didn’t study very hard, I feel I have unfinished business with it. I previously got an A at GCSE, so feel I am generally capable. Also got a 2.1 in Decision Maths as part of my Business degree.

I am considering starting by revising GCSE maths content then moving up to A Level, self teaching with online resources and CGP/exam board books.

Can you help advise what exam board to target? Looking our local schools they all seem to take Edexcel at A level. My son may well be taking it in a few years time so was thinking it could be useful to focus on the same board.

Also, if I were to start recapping GCSE is it better to also look at Edexcel or AQA? I noticed a lot of schools seem to focus on AQA for GCSE, any reason why?

Most appreciate your advice so I can get going, thanks!


I'd go with Edexcel at A level. I dont like AQA GCSE because of the multiple guess questions which trip people up.

You may find these videos useful to revise GCSE: https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/news-policy/qualifications/a-levels/maths/videos-to-assist-the-transition-from-gcse-to-a-level-maths.html

These might help - do the harder ones: https://www.missbsresources.com/teaching-and-learning/mathspassports

Best A level website to learn from is this: https://www.drfrostmaths.com/courses.php?coid=29
(edited 7 months ago)
Reply 3
Thanks both! @muttley79 would you recommend using Edexcel revision guide for GCSE then? Would avoid those multiple choice qs too.
Original post by yoshiblue
I am looking at revisiting A Level maths, having got a C in it in 1999! I mucked around in sixth form and didn’t study very hard, I feel I have unfinished business with it. I previously got an A at GCSE, so feel I am generally capable. Also got a 2.1 in Decision Maths as part of my Business degree.

I am considering starting by revising GCSE maths content then moving up to A Level, self teaching with online resources and CGP/exam board books.

Can you help advise what exam board to target? Looking our local schools they all seem to take Edexcel at A level. My son may well be taking it in a few years time so was thinking it could be useful to focus on the same board.

Also, if I were to start recapping GCSE is it better to also look at Edexcel or AQA? I noticed a lot of schools seem to focus on AQA for GCSE, any reason why?

Most appreciate your advice so I can get going, thanks!


I would recommend Edexcel for A level and GCSE as the formatting of the papers is better imo and the lack of multiple choice questions is preferable (at least in my opinion). Though as all maths courses at GCSE and A level are broadly the same, you can get away with using just about any resources for GCSE maths and ordinary A level maths (just ignore anything on the large data sets for the exam boards you are not with at A level).

I would make the point that decision maths is not on the ordinary A level any more since the modular system was scrapped and it is now part of the further maths course as an elective paper.

You should be able to find every new spec past paper on the exam board website, some “cheat sheets” on Physics and Maths tutor and some useful videos on Bicen Maths (Edexcel-centric) and TLMaths (AQA-centric).

https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/support/support-topics/exams/past-papers.html

https://www.aqa.org.uk/find-past-papers-and-mark-schemes

https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/maths-revision/

https://m.youtube.com/c/BicenMaths

https://m.youtube.com/c/tlmaths
Reply 5
Original post by TypicalNerd
I would recommend Edexcel for A level and GCSE as the formatting of the papers is better imo and the lack of multiple choice questions is preferable (at least in my opinion). Though as all maths courses at GCSE and A level are broadly the same, you can get away with using just about any resources for GCSE maths and ordinary A level maths (just ignore anything on the large data sets for the exam boards you are not with at A level).

I would make the point that decision maths is not on the ordinary A level any more since the modular system was scrapped and it is now part of the further maths course as an elective paper.

You should be able to find every new spec past paper on the exam board website, some “cheat sheets” on Physics and Maths tutor and some useful videos on Bicen Maths (Edexcel-centric) and TLMaths (AQA-centric).

https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/support/support-topics/exams/past-papers.html

https://www.aqa.org.uk/find-past-papers-and-mark-schemes

https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/maths-revision/

https://m.youtube.com/c/BicenMaths

https://m.youtube.com/c/tlmaths


The OP did not sit modular A level - that came in later so your point about Decision is irrelevant
Original post by Muttley79
The OP did not sit modular A level - that came in later so your point about Decision is irrelevant

No, but they mentioned having a 2:1 in decision maths and I just wanted to be sure they were aware it isn’t something that is in the ordinary A level.
(edited 7 months ago)
Reply 7
Thanks @typicalnerd its useful to mention. TBH, I can't remember much of it, just that I was good at it!
Reply 8
Original post by yoshiblue
Thanks both! @muttley79 would you recommend using Edexcel revision guide for GCSE then? Would avoid those multiple choice qs too.


I wouldn't bother buying anything. Those passports and the transition videos should be enough.

I can aways link some GCSE revision websites or you could do a few past papers.

Ignore the post by TypicalNerd re Modular as that doesn't apply to you.
I'd go with Edexcel, as others have suggested. I wouldn't pay for any resource except for maybe the textbooks, and I would use Dr Frost's presentations to teach yourself :biggrin: They're available here! : https://www.drfrostmaths.com/sow.php?year=A%20Level%202017&term=Main

Good luck!
Reply 10
Thanks all, looking forward to taking a look at these resources further!
Original post by Scotland Yard
I'd go with Edexcel, as others have suggested. I wouldn't pay for any resource except for maybe the textbooks, and I would use Dr Frost's presentations to teach yourself :biggrin: They're available here! : https://www.drfrostmaths.com/sow.php?year=A%20Level%202017&term=Main

Good luck!

Already linked by me several posts above yours!
Original post by Muttley79
Already linked by me several posts above yours!


Whoopsy, missed that, sorry!
Original post by TypicalNerd
No, but they mentioned having a 2:1 in decision maths and I just wanted to be sure they were aware it isn’t something that is in the ordinary A level.


It never was in those days and many schools didn't teach that module even when it was ... the content was very different to degree content as well.
Original post by Scotland Yard
Whoopsy, missed that, sorry!

Just emphasises how good they are - Jamie is a legend!

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