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MATHEMATICS AS/A LEVEL at Beacon Academy (Beacon Community College)

Course description

Mathematics is required by a wide range of students, from those intending to read the subject at university to those needing particular techniques to support other subjects or their chosen careers.

This specification is designed to help more students to fulfil their potential by taking and enjoying mathematics courses that are relevant to their needs post-16.  This involves four key elements: breadth, depth, being up-to-date and providing students with the ability to use their mathematics.  Many students at this level are taking mathematics as a support subject. Their needs are almost as diverse as their main fields of study, and consequently this specification includes the breadth of several distinct strands of mathematics.  There are, however, those students who will go on to read mathematics at university and perhaps then become professional mathematicians.  These students need the challenge of taking the subject to some depth and this is provided by the considerable wealth of Further Mathematics units (see separate specification).


Course content

Subject Content & Assessment

The two-year course divides into two main topic areas – Pure Mathematics and Applied Maths.  The Pure modules are compulsory and the Applied modules that we choose to study are Decision Maths and Statistics.

Pure Mathematics – In Year 12 the modules build on the student’s GCSE work, extending the range of Mathematical techniques and developing the basic concepts necessary for advanced study in algebra, co-ordinate geometry, trigonometry and calculus.  The year 12 modules are Core 1 (Introduction to Advanced Mathematics) and Core 2 (Concepts for Advanced Mathematics).  In Year 13 the modules build on the student’s AS work, with particular emphasis on calculus, algebra and trigonometry, extending their range of mathematical skills and techniques and using them in more difficult, unstructured problems.  The modules are Core 3 (Methods for Advanced Mathematics) and Core 4 (Applications of Advanced Mathematics).

Decision Mathematics – This module is concerned with an area of mathematical modelling.  Problems are solved using graph theory, networks, critical path analysis, linear programming, algorithms and simulations.

Statistics – As well as data presentation students will meet elementary probability, sampling methods, the idea of a theoretical distribution and formal hypothesis testing.

Unit AS/A1

Module 1 – Pure Maths (Core 1)

Weighting: 33% AS Level 16.7% A Level

Duration: 1 hr 30 mins

Module 2 – Pure Maths (Core 2)

Weighting: 33% AS Level 16.7% A Level

Duration: 1 hr 30 mins

Module 3 – Decision Maths

Weighting: 33% AS Level 16.7% A Level

Duration: 1 hr 30 mins


Unit A2

Module 4 – Pure Maths (Core 3)

Weighting: 16.7% A Level

Duration: 1 hr 30 mins + Coursework

Module 5 – Pure Maths (Core 4)

Weighting: 16.7% A Level

Duration: 1 hr 30 mins + 1 hr comprehension task

Module 6 – Statistics

Weighting: 16.7% A Level

Duration: 1 hr 30 mins

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

A grade A*, A or B at GCSE, an average GCSE point score 45+, and teacher recommendation



Learning Methods

The main principles behind the course are to:

  • Recognise how a situation may be represented mathematically and understand the relationship between ‘real world’ problems, and standard, and other mathematical models and how these can be refined and improved;
  • Use mathematics as an effective means of communication;
  • Develop abilities to reason logically and recognise incorrect reasoning, to generalise and to construct mathematical proofs;
  • Develop an understanding of coherence and progression in mathematics and of how different areas of mathematics can be connected.

In order to achieve the above, students will use a variety of teaching and learning approaches.  They will have access to graphical calculators and computers.  Students will be involved in individual work, small group work, practical experiments and data collection and will therefore experience the teacher as both instructor and facilitator of mathematical skills and knowledge.  Homework is a vital part of the learning process in Maths.  After each lesson it is expected that students will read through their notes and then complete the exercises that have been set.  In a typical week this should take approximately 4 – 5 hours

Future opportunities


This course is designed to provide a route of progression through the subject, starting at GCSE and going into what is first year work in some university courses.

Mathematics has strong links with many subject areas, (particularly the applied part of the course which can provide valuable support for many other subjects), and many degree courses including Mathematics, Statistics, Operational Research, Engineering, Physics, Accountancy and Economics amongst other.

If you enjoy Maths and are predicted grade A or A* you should also consider studying AS Further Maths, which is designed to broaden the experience of AS Maths students

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Beacon Academy (Beacon Community College) directly.

Last updated date: 20 May 2014
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Course code: Ma