Further Maths A Level: Everything You Need To Know
Amy studied at the University of Bristol and is our revision blog guru. She only graduated recently so understands the pressures of being a student better than most, and is here to share her wisdom so that you revise effectively, smash your exams, succeed at school and write cracking university and job applications.
Are you currently considering taking Further Maths next year? Good for you! It’s an extremely highly regarded A Level which will set you up incredibly well for a range of university courses and careers.
Before you make any firm decisions, check out our guide to A Level Further Maths so you know exactly what the course entails.
What sort of student should take Further Maths A Level?
In order to take Further Maths it’s pretty essential that you have a passion and proclivity for Maths. It might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many students, because of its reputation, take Further Maths when they would be more suited (and more confident) with a different A Level (or just straight Maths).
Further Maths both broadens and deepens the Maths covered in A Level Maths. It is to be taken alongside Maths A Level, not instead of it. You will cover more Pure Maths, Mechanics and Statistics and also possibly Discrete Mathematics, which is an elective module only available to those taking Further Maths.
What grade should you have got in GCSE Maths to study Further Maths?
It is advised that those looking to take Further Maths have achieved a 9 (grade A*) at GCSE. If you are unsure as to whether you’re up to the challenge, ask your teachers for advice. They are the best people to ask in this situation as they have taught and observed you.
Do you need Further Maths to study Maths at university?
If you are looking to study Maths at university then more often than not, Further Maths is required. Further Maths can also be a requirement for many degrees with a high Maths content such as Engineering, Physics and Economics.
Even if it’s not a requirement for entry, you will find that a lot of students on these degree courses have done Further Maths A level. If you know this is the route you’d like to take, it’s a good idea to take Further Maths in order to set yourself up for your degree and ensure you start off on the right foot, armed with knowledge.
What does the Further Maths course consist of?
Further Maths requires you to take an additional 6 modules alongside the traditional Maths A Level.
You must take a minimum of 2 Further Pure modules: FP1 and FP2 or FP3.
These are extensions of the four core modules taken in Maths A Level: Trigonometry, Calculus, Algebra and Geometry. The additional four modules vary depending on your exam board. So make sure to look them up!
There’s a lot more Pure Maths in the Further Maths course, which develops your logical, analytical and problem-solving skills still further, and builds on some of the ideas you will encounter in the ‘Single’ A Level; such as Proof, Algebra, Calculus, Trigonometry and Vectors.
You will also be introduced to Matrices, Different Coordinate Systems and Imaginary Numbers amongst other things.
The optional parts of the course include:
- More (yes, more!) Pure Maths
- Mechanics – which is linked to Physics and considers the ideas of motion and force in order to work out how objects move
- Statistics – which helps make sense of the everyday, using analytical methods to interpret data, model situations and generate answers
- Discrete Mathematics – which looks at mathematical structures that are discrete, not continuous, and provides an insight into lots of different problem solving techniques (many of which are utilised in computing)
How is Further Maths assessed?
In terms of Further Maths assessments, like other A levels, it all hangs on one exam session at the end of your final year of A Levels.
However, your school or college will hold mock exams prior to this exam, to monitor your progress and highlight any areas where you could improve.
The exams differ slightly depending on the exam board, however the general exam pattern is as follows:
- Four exams
- One and a half hours each
- Two compulsory Pure Maths papers
- Two Option papers – choose from Pure Maths, Mechanics, Statistics & Discrete Maths
So, is Further Maths for you?