The Nature of the Course
The A Level course in Mathematics is a valid choice for those who wish to study Mathematics for its own sake, and for those who will find it valuable as an aid to the understanding of other subjects that they are taking in the Sixth Form. In particular, those who are intending to study Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography or Economics should remember that these subjects may make use of Mathematics, at school or in higher education. In addition, the development of logical thought that Mathematics fosters, is useful in many other subjects.
The content will include Pure Mathematics, Mechanics and Statistics, with a greater emphasis on modelling, problem-solving and reasoning than previously. There will be no coursework in the new A Level examination. To succeed at this level, students will need to enjoy the challenge of solving difficult problems that require a determined and systematic approach. The most important requirement is that students should be enthusiastic about learning and practising mathematics and that they should be reasonably confident in their ability. The teaching styles will not be dissimilar to those used at GCSE level. Students explore new concepts and develop appropriate methods of solution. Students then practise applying these learned techniques in order to solve problems. Homework will normally be set each lesson and it is essential that pupils keep up to date with work, seeking help to sort out any difficulties as they arise.
The Mathematics Departments at both Stamford School and Stamford High School offer a number of lunchtime and after-school support sessions for Sixth Formers. Leading up to the summer public examinations Saturday morning revision help sessions are also offered, to support students in preparing for their A Level.
In addition to the scientific calculator, which students have used up until now, it is highly recommended that students obtain a graphical, programmable calculator (approx. £80). Many aspects of the course are taught through the use of graphical calculators and they are an invaluable aid for checking solutions to problems.
Skills Demanded and Developed
When studying Mathematics in the Sixth Form students use many skills; in particular, basic numerical and communication skills are important and a good grasp of algebra is essential. Computers and calculators will be used widely throughout the course, and provide ample opportunity to learn how to exploit their potential and to improve ICT skills. Homework is an important part of the course, enabling students to consolidate their learning. It is set regularly and may require students to seek assistance outside of lessons in order to make the necessary progress. All students are given individual access to the MEI website which contains a wealth of resources to support them; students are encouraged to utilise this useful learning tool in addition to the set homework.
Careers and Higher Education
Mathematics is useful in many careers; the wealth of future possibilities can be seen on: www.mathscareers.org.uk which is a website produced by The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, The London Mathematical Society and The Royal Statistical Society. Competence in numeracy is regarded as an advantage in most careers so an A Level in Mathematics could help you progress in your chosen occupation. Careers in research and development, statistics, engineering, computing, accountancy, actuarial work, architecture, and management services, may require qualifications in Mathematics. The skills associated with solving problems – logical thinking, breaking the problem down into its constituent parts, presenting a reasoned solution - are also highly valued by employers.
Strong A-Level Combinations
Possible Further Study and Degree Courses
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