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 introduces some of the topics that will be met at university making the transition to a mathematics-rich course much easier. Universities do provide a ‘catch-up’ course for students who have not studied Further Mathematics however completing the work at A-level is a clear advantage – especially when much knowledge is ‘assumed’ at universities.
It is studied consecutively with A-level Mathematics, which is completed in year 12, 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 may also include decision mathematics (depending on the students), 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 level 8 (A* grade) at GCSE is essential, although a grade 9 is preferable, 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.
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!
The following information is based on the 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. All examinations will be 1½ hours long and out of 75 marks each.
“Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics; I can assure you mine are still greater.”