A Level Mathematics Tutors

Thinking about A level mathematics? We look at the entry requirements, options for onward study and the syllabus.

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Why study A Level Mathematics?

Everybody needs at least some mathematics capabilities. This subject is particularly useful for builders, bankers, designers, engineers, computer programmers, scientists, statisticians and analysts. A level mathematics is also taken as a general measure of intelligence by many employers and is required for a significant percentage of university courses.

For a few, mathematics is also a passion in its own right, offering an intriguing glimpse into the rules that underly everything around us.

What is studied in A level mathematics?

A level mathematics is usually divided into three subject areas. The core modules are termed “pure mathematics”. The other modules cover mathematics applied to mechanics and mathematics applied to statistics. Most students will be able to choose which applied module to take, although some schools choose which to offer and for a few examining-boards, students study both.

The mechanics module will mostly interest students aiming at the physical sciences or engineering. The statistics module will be a good grounding for social scientists and business analysts.

Core modules will include most of the following; algebra, quadratic equations, functions, graphs, geometry, trigonometry, vectors, differentiation, integration, logarithms, roots, exponents, indices, complex numbers, surds and polynomials.

In the mechanics module you will study; forces and equilibrium, moments, vectors, scalars, coefficient of friction, Newton’s laws of motion, acceleration, energy, power, resistance, compression, elasticity and Hooke’s Law.

The statistics module will introduce you to; probability, stem and leaf diagrams, histograms, box-and-whisker plots, means and medians, variance, standard deviation, permutations, normal and binomial distributions, Poisson distribution, sampling, Central Limit Theorem, one and two tail tests, hypothesis construction, significance-levels, sum and product laws, scatter diagrams and linear regression.

What qualities do I need?

Although A level mathematics is all about how the real world works, it is inherently abstract and so ironically requires a good imagination to relate it to the real world. You will need to model things in your mind and look at them from many angles. Equally important is a logical mind and a determination to solve problems. Most schools and exam boards will require a strong GCSE result in mathematics.

For the mechanics module, a keen interest in physics, machinery and engines will definitely help.

Statistics has more to do with ways of discovering, visualising and communicating information about the world, uncovering and measuring hidden connections. It has broad applications, from validating scientific experiments to informing social policies. A growth area in recent years has been in data mining and machine learning.

Where can it lead?

Even in everyday life, mathematical skills come in handy – DIY enthusiasts often need geometry, trigonometry and algebra to solve practical problems. However, A level mathematics is a highly respected qualification which will help you in any career. Even in the arts or humanities, A level mathematics may be a condition of a university place.

A level mathematics is more directly needed in the physical sciences, social sciences, computer science and engineering.

Engineers often need to calculate the course and depth of highway materials, or the strength and volume of bridges. Statisticians are needed by government and business to extract useful policy or marketing information from large quantities of data. Programmers with mathematics skills are in very high demand to render information visually, such as in game design.

Alternative courses

A handful of universities ask for further mathematics instead of ordinary A level mathematics, but only for their most competitive and mathematics-intensive courses. You need to be a strong student to opt for further maths as the workload can be taxing.

Some schools and FE colleges offer one-year instead of two-year A level mathematics courses. Again this is taxing unless you are an exceptionally hard-working student or have taken A level mathematics before. Many schools allow students to sit an AS-level exam after the first year of the standard 2-year course.

If you aren’t ready to undertake A level mathematics at all don’t worry. There are alternative pathways into almost all kinds of career, but they may take longer.

Mathematics is an important and challenging subject so it can be valuable to have extra help. A major advantage of The Profs private tuition service is that our tutors focus on one-to-one help in the areas teachers neglect or rush through too quickly.

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