The Free-Standing Mathematics Qualifications are a group of separate qualifications, that are neither a GCSE nor an A-level. They are meant to bridge the gap between GCSE Mathematics and AS level Mathematics, and are typically taken by students who take their GCSE Mathematics a year early, and study the syllabus for the FSMQ in year 11.
There are currently only two boards for the FSMQ, which are OCR and AQA. Edexcel used to have the FSMQ however they withdrew, with the last exam held in June 2004.
OCR offer two qualifications: 'Foundations of Advanced Mathematics' (which is jointly developed by OCR and MEI) and 'Additional Mathematics'.
- The former, although is labeled foundation, is more of an intermediate level and topics include trigonometry and vectors, statistics and spread, and some more basic calculus. Its specification can be found here: http://www.ocr.org.uk/Data/publications/key_documents/Specificat79090.pdf
- The latter is more in depth with several more topics such as co-ordinate geometry, trigonometric identities, integration and binomial theorem. Its specification can be found here: http://www.ocr.org.uk/Data/publications/key_documents/Specificat13169.pdf
AQA offer a much wider variety of qualifications:
- At foundation level, there are three qualifications: 'Managing Money,' 'Working in 2 and 3 Dimensions' and 'Making Sense of Data'.
- At intermediate level, there are again three qualifications: 'Calculation Finances,' 'Handling and Interpreting Data' and 'Using Algebra, Functions and Graphs'.
- At Advanced level, there are four different qualifications: 'Using and Applying Statistics,' 'Modeling with Calculus,' 'Using and Applying Decision Mathematics' and 'Working with Algebraic and Graphical Techniques'.
AQA Specifications may be found here: http://www.aqa.org.uk/qual/pdf/AQA-6990-6991-6992-6994-W-SP-08.PDF
There are three levels, 1 to 3, which are foundation, intermediate and advanced. The intermediate qualification is roughly the equivalent to GCSE Mathematics, however the advanced qualification is a mixture of AS topics, and is about the same as one AS-module.
Some modules in both AQA and OCR FSMQ may be used towards the AS Use of Mathematics as well.
UCAS points are awarded on achievement in the FSMQ, with 20 points for an A, 17 points for a B, 13 for a C, 10 for a D and 7 for an E. Unlike GCSEs, it is impossible to gain the A* grade, with the highest grade being an A.
Unlike other examinations, for some FSMQs, formula sheets or booklets are not provided, and candidates are expected to recall all formulae in the syllabus.
Additional Maths - OCR - Some Key Formulae:
- SUVAT Equations: