If you enjoy mathematics and thrive on a challenge then A-level further mathematics is an opportunity to explore new and more sophisticated mathematical concepts and topics.
Further mathematics is a second A-level and is essential for studying mathematics at some universities and desirable for natural sciences at Oxbridge. It is also desirable when looking to study any sort of engineering degree or computer science. Further mathematics introduces some of the topics that will be met at university making the transition to a mathematics-rich course much easier. Whilst most universities do provide ‘catch-up’ for students who have not studied further mathematics, completing the work at A-level is a clear advantage, especially when much of the knowledge is ‘assumed’ at universities.
It is studied alongside A-level mathematics and broadens and deepens the mathematics from the single A-level course by studying extra topics beyond the scope of the single A-level in mathematics.
Like A-level mathematics, it involves a combination of both pure and applied topics. The pure modules are of a higher standard than those in the single A-level whilst the applied modules take the topics further but are not necessarily more difficult.
The applied modules include statistics and mechanics and also decision mathematics, a relatively new branch of mathematics that investigates many real life practical problems by studying algorithms, networks and linear programming.
Further mathematics enables students to distinguish themselves as able mathematicians in the university and employment market. A grade 8/9 (A* grade) at GCSE is essential, but even then, students will find it challenging! There has been an increase in the number of students taking the subjects nationally in recent years demonstrating an appetite for mastering challenging techniques and solving more complex problems.
The following information is based on the Pearson Edexcel specification:
If girls choose to study A-level further mathematics, they will be examined at the end of Year 13 and take 4 papers – 2 further pure papers and 2 papers on two of either more further pure, further statistics, further mechanics or decision mathematics. All examinations will be 1½ hours long and out of 75 marks each.
This is a challenging A-level and not for the faint-hearted. For anyone up to the challenge be prepared for extra hard work and intense fun!
Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics; I can assure you mine are still greater.