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Mathematics

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: MR TOPPING

WHY CHOOSE MATHEMATICS AT A LEVEL?

If you feel that you have been successful at GCSE, find the subject a stimulating challenge or have aspirations beyond school that may require some Mathematics beyond GCSE, this is the course for you. It is recommended that you do not take Mathematics in the Sixth Form unless you have at least a grade A in GCSE Mathematics. However, each individual case is treated on its merits and a few students with B grades have coped with the course in Year 12.

WHAT DOES THE MATHEMATICS COURSE INVOLVE?

Essentially, many of the themes from GCSE (such as algebra, geometry, vectors and trigonometry) are developed and a major new area, calculus, is introduced. As well as studying these so-called "pure" Mathematics ideas, you have the option of taking Statistics (the analysis of data and probability) or Mechanics (how things move and interact with each other).

HOW WILL I STUDY MATHEMATICS?

Each student has two teachers with the 3 units making up the course split between both teachers. Sets are much smaller than at GCSE and so the style of teaching changes – there is much more discussion of ideas and you will find that there can often be several different ways to approach a problem.

The department runs, just as at GCSE, a Mathematics Upgrade Lesson for Year 12 and Year 13 students. Students are encouraged to come along to discuss problems or simply to practise their skills via reinforcement.

HOW WILL I BE ASSESSED?

We follow the OCR syllabus. Six units are taken in total – pure unit C1 ("C" for "Core"), C2 and either S1 (Statistics) or M1 (Mechanics). These units are examined in the summer of Year 12. C3, C4 and either S2 or M2 are taken in June of the Year 13. There is no coursework.

WITH WHAT OTHER SUBJECTS DOES MATHEMATICS FIT?

There are some traditional combinations, such as the Sciences, that are popular. Students choosing Biology, Geography, or any other subject in which data is analysed, may find Statistics useful whereas Physicists (velocity and forces) and those taking Technology (forces) may prefer Mechanics.

Additionally, Mathematics sits very well on its own and is a good choice for those looking to widen their portfolio.

WHAT CAN I DO AT UNIVERSITY WITH AN A LEVEL IN MATHEMATICS?

Taking Mathematics at A Level leaves most options open at University. In recent years mathematicians from QEGS have gone on to study engineering, accountancy, architecture and medicine (as well as mathematics itself!) but others have moved on to areas in which mathematics is less obviously useful, such as law, modern languages and English.

HOW WILL AN A LEVEL IN MATHEMATICS HELP ME IN MY FUTURE LIFE AND CAREER?

Mathematicians can think. The skills developed in solving problems and applying learned methods and techniques have benefits far beyond mathematics itself.

Mathematics is perceived to be a difficult option; someone who succeeds at A Level is recognised as being both bright and hard-working.