A LEVEL MATHEMATICS

Awarding Body:OCRCourse Duration:2 Years

Introduction

Doing well in A level maths requires us to make connections, understand why what we do works and be able to adapt our thinking to different problems.  This is much more interesting than just learning more techniques.

Course Content

The course assumes students arrive with good algebra skills and a good understanding of graphs.  This is essentially the level 7-9 work at GCSE.  We will begin briefly with GCSE methods.

Problem solving, modelling and mathematical reasoning are the key themes of A level Mathematics.  These will require us to think flexibly, be prepared to experiment and evaluate our results.

Year 1 content

Pure

  • Proof
  • Quadratic functions
  • Coordinate geometry, including circles
  • Trigonometry
  • Differentiation and integration
  • Vectors
  • Exponentials and logarithms

Statistics

  • Data representation and presentation
  • Probability
  • Binomial distribution
  • Hypothesis testing

Mechanics

  • Kinematics (describing and quantifying motion)
  • Forces and Newton’s laws of motion
  • Variable acceleration

The pure content is two thirds, statistics and mechanics are one sixth each.

Year 2 content

Year 2 has a similar structure and the content naturally builds on that of year 1.  The very important Normal distribution is covered in statistics.  Mechanics will focus more on modelling situations in 2-dimensions. 

Methods of Teaching

Lessons will be varied, mixing investigations, class discussions, checking progress with mini-white boards, working collaboratively and some of the essential practice that will perfect your understanding.  It is vital that you use your study periods to complete problems and review ideas.  The graphical calculator offers tools for deepening our understanding, checking our working and saving us time.  You will have opportunities to develop your calculator skills in lessons.  Your teacher will show you how to make effective use of the department intranet and other online resources.  The subject content will be assessed regularly by means of tests and assignments. 

There is a well-resourced workshop, for additional support, every lunchtime. Teachers and upper sixth students will be present at each session to offer you help.

Methods & Patterns of Assessment

There will be three 2 hour external exams in May/June at the end of year two.  There is no coursework.

Paper 1 is a mix of pure maths and mechanics.  The questions will be arranged in increasing level of difficulty, rather than separated in to pure and mechanics.

Paper 2 is a mix of pure maths and statistics with questions arranged in increasing level of difficulty rather than by topic.  Some of the statistics questions will refer to a large data set, which will be too big for us learn or access fully in the exam.  We will need to be have spent some time analysing it during the course.

Paper 3 will be on pure mathematics only and will include a comprehension section where you will answer questions based on a previously unseen mathematical article.

50% of the marks are for problem solving, modelling and mathematical reasoning.

A level Mathematics requires a calculator with higher functions than the standard GCSE scientific calculators.  We insist our students have a certain graphic calculator.

Financial Implications

You will need to purchase your own textbooks, stationery and the recommended graphical calculator.  The College currently sells the Casio FX9750GII model for £54.  In some cases, where there is difficulty meeting these costs, the college student support fund may help.

Where Could It Take Me?

A level Mathematics provides a sound basis for many degree courses but is essential for those studying courses with a high level of mathematical content, e.g. Mathematics, Statistics, Engineering, Computer Science and Economics.

Students wishing to apply for Maths, Engineering, Computer Science, Physics at the most selective universities would also find an A level in Further Maths either essential or advantageous.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including English, plus a grade 7 or above in Maths.

Good algebraic skills are essential and a willingness to think.

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