Further Mathematics is studied as a part of a full time A Level Study Programme.
Further maths is studied alongside AS or A2 mathematics. This means that students have the opportunity to study either 3, 6, 9 or 12 units of mathematics at Gateshead College.
In your study of further maths you develop higher order skills in analysing and interpreting data, finding patterns and drawing conclusions. You’ll learn to approach problems in an analytical and rigorous way, formulating theories and applying them to solve problems. Maths in many ways establishes in you an ability to deal with abstract concepts.
Employers place a high value on these skills so there is significant demand for mathematicians and statisticians. Our further mathematicians have tended to be our strongest mathematicians and have pursued fantastic careers in academia, medicine, banking and engineering.
What does Further Mathematics A Level involve?
Mathematics involves the evolution of theory to devise techniques to solve numerical problems. The subject is correctly seen as subtle, challenging and rewarding. At AS and A Level the subject is split into pure and applied mathematics modules. All courses require you to study Pure (C) components. There are also applied mathematics modules covering Statistics (S) and Mechanics (M) and Decision (D) units
Pure Mathematics (C) includes topics already met at GCSE level such as trigonometry, geometry and algebra. These topics are taken to a more advanced level and the discipline of calculus is also introduced.
Mechanics (M) consists of topics perhaps previously associated more with Physics than with Mathematics. Students learn about forces, motion, and static equilibrium.
Statistics (S) is a study of the collection, organisation, presentation, and analysis of data from real life problems. The aim is to model for future outcomes using probability theory. Those students wishing to study the Statistics (S2) will learn about statistical decision making through hypothesis tests.
Decision (D) maths is a collection of tools that many non-mathematicians use to solve problems. This is a unit which many students do particularly well on.
We have had great success in delivering the Edexcel specification. For students starting in 2015 the A level structure is retained with AS being examined at the end of year 12 and A2 being examined at the end of year 13.
AS Further Mathematicians in Y12 are grounded in the further core disciplines, advanced statistics and introduced to their first mechanics unit. Units FP1, S2 and M1 are examined in the summer.
A2 Further Mathematicians in Y13 pursue the core disciplines further but add to this the application of the subject to real life logistical problems in decision maths and mechanics. Units FP2, M2 and D2 are examined in the summer.
Who does the subject suit?
Further Mathematics is a useful subject in supporting studies in the Sciences, and Computing. It can also be studied for its own sake. It is fun to master sophisticated techniques and the skills acquired in logical thinking can be applied across a broad selection of academic disciplines. If you enjoy problem solving, are good at algebra and have at least an A grade in GCSE Mathematics (or an overseas equivalent) then AS/A Level Mathematics could be for you.
Those students who have gained an AS in Mathematics at another school and are looking for a change, can apply to join us for the second year to complete their A Level in mathematics and top up with an additional 3 units from Further maths.
Further Mathematics is aimed at students who have exceptional mathematical ability (A* at GCSE or an overseas equivalent). Again those students who have completed A Level Mathematics and have at least a B grade pass can apply to join the second year of the Further Mathematics course.
What can I do with my Mathematics qualification?
Both universities and employers hold an A Level qualification in further Mathematics in high regard. With the appropriate combination of other AS and A Levels, A Level Further Mathematics can lead to a wide variety of options when choosing higher education courses. Typical examples include Maths of course, but also Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Law, Business, Social and Political sciences, and Natural sciences. Similarly the employment opportunities are equally diverse.
Further Mathematics is strongly recommended for those students who wish to apply to universities listed in the 'top ten' for such subjects as Engineering, Economics, or Mathematics.