A Level Mathematics

 

What is it about at sixth-form level? 

Mathematics can best be described as the formulation and application of both numerical and abstract concepts. This definition, however, barely scratches the surface of a subject that can easily be considered as an art, a language or a science. If you choose to pursue the subject to A level, you will build upon the knowledge you have gained at GCSE but, through the focus on pure mathematics, begin to develop a profound understanding and respect for its power and beauty. Nowhere is this more evident than in the differential and integral calculus developed by Newton and Leibniz in the 17th century. You will examine some of the many applications to which it is put today, such as calculating areas and volumes and models of exponential growth and decay in the natural world. In the mechanics module, you will look at how to create mathematical models of objects in equilibrium and those in motion. You will also consider the mathematics of statistics and probability.

Lower sixth

Much of the first year of the course builds the foundations of the subject, starting with familiar topics from GCSE such as indices, quadratic functions, trigonometry and coordinate geometry. Later the fundamentals of calculus are introduced together with some of its applications. The first year also covers some basic principles of applied mathematics. Mechanics examines the ideas of forces and motion and the applications of Newton’s Laws while statistics looks at ways of analysing data and the concept of probability.

Upper sixth

The second year of the course builds on this knowledge by revisiting the pure mathematics topics in greater detail. Calculus is covered in considerable depth and the emphasis on extended problem solving that draws on a range of mathematical concepts. Various methods of proof are also met which can be used to answer some interesting questions such as why must there be an infinite number of prime numbers. Both mechanics and statistics are explored in depth and consider more advanced techniques such statistical hypothesis testing.

Why study it and what Why study it and what skills does it develop

Maths is a much-respected subject that develops numerical, logical and analytical thinking. It is a prerequisite for the study of maths and disciplines at university that require a high degree of numerical competency, such as Physics, Engineering and Economics. It is highly valued by employers across a wide range of jobs.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

An A or A* at (I)GCSE is required.

How is the course assessed?

AS level

The course is assessed entirely in two written examination papers, which test both pure and applied mathematics. These papers are equally weighted and each is 2 hours in duration.

A level

The course is assessed entirely in three written examination papers, which test both pure (two-thirds) and applied (one third) mathematics. These papers are equally weighted and each is 2 hours in duration. Progression to the second year of the course is determined by a satisfactory performance on an internally assessed exam at the end of the lower sixth.

Reading

Details to be confirmed in light of the on-going OFQAL accreditation process (at the time of going to press).

Edexcel AS and A level Mathematics Pure Mathematics Year 1/AS Textbook + e-book
Published by Pearson, ISBN 9781292183398

Edexcel AS and A level Mathematics Statistics & Mechanics Year 1/AS Textbook + e-book
Published by Pearson, ISBN 9781292183404

Edexcel A level Mathematics Statistics & Mechanics Year 2 Textbook + e-book
Published by Pearson, ISBN 9781446944073

Exam Board and Specification Codes

AS: Pearson-Edexcel 8MA0, A level: Pearson-Edexcel 9MA0

 

Matthew

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
Warwick University (Chemistry)

“I have definitely made the right decision to come to MPW - my grades have gone from averaging Es to straight As. Teaching at MPW is much more personal and I felt like talking to teachers. They are very good and give you lots of support if you do not understand something. My Personal Tutor took me through the UCAS process step by step. We went through my Personal Statement many times to make sure it was completely perfect. I am very excited about my firm choice.”

Gabriel

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
Nottingham University (Philosophy)

As a dyslexic student who initially got CCEE for my AS, I was convinced that I could not achieve any higher. My time at MPW proved me wrong. Initially I was reluctant to move from my local school in York to a college so far away from home, my parents, and friends. At the end of my first year I was overjoyed to find that many hours of hard work and renewed revision techniques had resulted in me achieving three A's in my subjects. I wanted to continue at A2 as I knew it would greatly improve my university prospects and encourage me to work even harder. After two fantastic years at MPW I can emphatically say that going to MPW was the best decision I ever made. 

Andrew

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
University of York (Law) 

“Having a Personal Tutor to discuss ANYTHING with, from my UCAS application to organising my life in general, really did make life at the college more streamlined and in general less stressful.”

Anastasia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
University College London (Economics) 

“Honestly, I could not imagine when I joined MPW that, due to language and adaptation barriers, I would achieve top grades in my first A-level exam sittings. This view changed completely after only a few weeks in the college’s supportive and motivational environment; with teachers who aimed at finding a personal touch with each student and with my Personal Tutor who made my adjustment to the UK education system not only an easy step in my life but, more importantly, an enjoyable one.”

Akmaral

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
University College London (Mathematics and Statistics)

“International students have many aspects to think about, such as accommodation and guardians, but MPW surprised me by having a highly organised and supportive administration. Also, because most MPW Cambridge students are local, as an ‘international’ student, I found this very useful in both improving my English and in giving me a taste of a genuinely ‘English’ college.”

Julia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AABB

Progressed to
King's College London (International Relations)

 “The teachers really helped me overcome any difficulties I came across; they always seemed willing to offer support be it inside or outside of the classroom. I could safely say my teachers inspired me to work hard and aim for the best, sometimes simply by being passionate about what they do.”