Mathematics for September 2016

A / AS Level
2 years

What is Mathematics?

The ice cap at the North Pole is melting. When warmer climes reach further north, the ice covering the frozen wastes of Russia will recede to expose peat that will release a massive amount of CO2. Is this global warming?

To reduce packaging costs, what size should 400g cylindrical tins of baked beans be to minimise the amount of steel used? What speed does a sky diver reach before pulling her parachute?

If you invest £1000 every year into a savings account paying 3% interest per annum, how much money will be in the account after 5 years, and how long will it take for you to save £20,000?

Maths will allow you to answer these and many other questions!

What Mathematics will I do?

The AS Maths course is made up of 3 modules: Core 1, Core 2 and Statistics 1.  If you pass AS Maths (with ideally at least a pass in Core 1 and Core 2) then in the second year you can study A2 Maths, with Core 3, Core 4 and a different applied module, namely Decision 1 or Mechanics 1.  If you get a grade A or B at AS and in Statistics 1, you may instead do Statistics 2.  All modules are equally weighted.

What do the different modules involve?

The two Core units (C1 & C2) extend your skills in algebra, trigonometry and geometry from GCSE and introduce you to new areas of Maths such as calculus, sequences and series, and exponentials. Calculus will help you work out the most efficient size of tin cans and how fast sky divers reach.  Sequences and series will allow you to work out the sum of an infinite number of numbers and work out your savings account balance or your mortgage payments. And exponentials will enable you to make predictions for the world’s population in 2050. Algebra (including quadratic functions and simultaneous equations and much more!) is the basis of almost all A-level Maths and subsequently forms the biggest part of the two modules.

The Statistics module will give you the skills to analyse the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere using the Normal Distribution to determine if there is a significant increase that could contribute to global warming. You will be able to determine whether the brain mass of mammals has a correlation with body size and how strong the correlation is.  Using measures of spread you will be able to identify the differences in the birth and death rates of less economically developed countries to target money that will improve the health and economy of the population.

I’ve heard about Further Maths. What is this?

If you are a good Mathematician who is likely to get an A or preferably A* at GCSE, plus a range of other good grades, you should consider taking AS Mathematics and AS Further Maths. See Further Mathematics for more information.


Mathematics is highly valued in a very wide range of careers and professions as it provides good evidence of the ability to think clearly and logically.  It is accepted almost everywhere as a good entry qualification for practically every subject at degree level.  It is often a requirement for anyone interested in Physics, Engineering, Statistics, Computing, Economics and other scientific and business related careers.

If you are considering studying Mathematics, Engineering or Physics at university, you should also consider studying Further Maths, which would add extra depth and breadth to your understanding in preparation for these degree courses.  Studying Further Mathematics is seen as an indication of high academic aptitude which is often essential when making applications to certain courses and universities.

Entry requirements

Whilst you must have an average GCSE score of at least 5.5 to do A Levels, past experience suggests that students with better GCSE grades are more likely to get good results.  You can check your likely GCSE point score by going to 'Choosing the Right Course' on the website and entering your predicted grades.

For AS Maths you must have at least a grade B (preferably an A or A*) in GCSE Maths at the higher tier (in all three modules, if applicable). In addition, you need to enjoy Maths – especially algebra! 

If you are expecting an A* you should consider taking AS Maths and AS Further Maths.

If you would like to use your mathematical skills in a more practical way to solve problems in a real-world context, you should consider studying AS/A2 Use of Maths – please see the separate subject leaflets to find out more.

Course costs

All students will be expected to provide their own stationery, textbooks (around £35) and calculator. All students should have a scientific calculator with natural display. We recommend the Casio FX-991ES PLUS (around £15) which has many features useful for AS Maths and Further Maths. Some students buy a graphics calculator, such as the Casio FX-9750GII (around £60).

In addition, all students should purchase the AS Maths Student Course Materials via the College’s Online Store. This will be about £4.50 and includes interactive ICT resources as well as numerous hand-outs, worksheets and three exercise books to write your notes in.

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Course Code

EDEXCEL 8371/9371