Mathematics and Further Mathematics

Contact Teacher: Miss H Coxhead, Head of Mathematics

Exam Board: 

Mathematics OCR Mathematics B (MEI) H640
Further Mathematics OCR Further Mathematics B (MEI) H645

Why study Mathematics?

“We all use maths everyday;
to predict the weather,
to tell the time, to handle money

But maths is more than formulas and equations.
It’s logic
It’s rationality It’s using your mind to solve the biggest mysteries we have.”
(Numb3rs, 2005)

Without mathematicians, modern society would not exist: imagine a world with no science, no engineering, no medicine, no architecture…

But the image of mathematics has changed dramatically over the past 10 years as the beauty in mathematics has been revealed by plays on Broadway such as Copenhagen (where the central character, as he began to understand quantum theory, was so overwhelmed by its pure mathematical structure that he was too excited to sleep and had to go rock climbing), Proof and Q.E.D. (where the theoretical physicist Richard Feynman talks about the wondrous way in which mathematics is at the root of any meaningful interpretation of nature). Television has got into the act too with the 2005 series Numb3rs.

The ongoing theme is that mathematics is all about solving real problems and mysteries. So if you want to use your mind to solve the biggest mysteries we have, then studying mathematics is probably a wise choice.

A Level Mathematics

Core content:
All units have an emphasis on using technology and the modelling cycle to solve problems.

Pure Mathematics
In this unit you continue to develop branches of the subject such as algebra, geometry and trigonometry. You will build on skills which you already have and develop further skills for solving interesting and important problems of more realistic kinds than are possible at GCSE level. You will meet a new branch of mathematics called calculus which is a very powerful tool for solving problems and is an essential part of many university courses.

Statistics
You will explore large data sets and use probability to model and solve real world problems.

Mechanics
You will look at how the world works by looking at topics such as kinematics and projectiles.

How the course is taught and assessed

The content is split between two teachers. Lessons will be a mixture of theory and practice. Technology will be used to investigate the theory and the use of technology will be assessed in the exams.

You will sit three papers:
Paper 1
Pure Mathematics and Mechanics
Paper 2
Pure Mathematics and Statistics
Paper 3
Pure Mathematics and Comprehension

A Level Further Mathematics

Core content:
Pure Mathematics
This involves lots of new and exciting concepts such as complex numbers and Mathematical induction which are probably two of the most exciting and powerful concepts you will ever meet. If you want to prove that you can find the square root of a negative number or that all horses are the same colour or even that all men have one leg then this course is for you!

Applied Mathematics
The remaining units are options and will be agreed by negotiation but may involve statistics, mechanics and numerical methods.

How the course is taught and assessed

The content is split between two teachers. You will sit three or four papers depending on your options: Paper 1 – Core Pure Mathematics
The other papers will examine the optional units.

Entry requirements

A-level Mathematics is a big step up from GCSE and there is a strong emphasis on algebra at this level. Students must have very good skills in algebra if they are to succeed on this course. A grade 7, 8 or 9 at GCSE indicates that they have the skills in algebra necessary to study the course. It may be possible to study Maths A-level with a grade 6 at GCSE, following a discussion with your Maths teacher about your skills in algebra.

For A-level Further Mathematics you will need to have achieved a grade 8 or 9 in Mathematics and have a strong overall GCSE profile.