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Use of Mathematics - AQA Certificate at Alton College

Course description

As the name suggests, this course is all about using your mathematical skills and knowledge in real-life practical situations.  It will also help students who wish to gain confidence in maths and achieve a qualification that is recognised by employers and higher education. It’s a great fresh start for students who have previously been less successful in mathematics. It’s practical and relevant to the real world, teaching you mathematical skills and also problem solving and modelling, by focusing on the application of mathematics to relevant contexts. Students without a C grade in GCSE Maths now have to continue to study Maths at college; this is the ideal course to build up your skills and confidence before tackling GCSE again.

Course content

You will do a total of three units to complete the Certificate in Use of Mathematics. Two of these, Money Management and Using Data, are Free Standing Maths Qualifications. This means they are qualifications in their own right and can be used to demonstrate your Maths skills to potential employers. Money Management will give you the skills to carry out maths calculations in the context of money and finance. Using Data focuses on the organisation and comparison of data and presenting it using statistical diagrams. The third Core unit combines elements of the two FSMQs along with using formulae and spatial techniques, such as angles, area and volume.


Entry requirements

Any student with a G or F grade in GCSE Maths, an E or D grade in a Foundation Level FSMQ (either Money Management or Using Data) or a pass in Maths Functional Skills Entry Level 3 can do the Certificate in Use of Maths.


The three units are all assessed in May. About three weeks before each exam, pre-release data sheets are given to students so that they are familiar with and understand contexts and vocabulary in advance of the examination. Your teacher will also be able to use this to predict likely questions and give you the chance to practice your skills using the actual data that will be used in the exam.


Financial information

All students will be expected to provide their own calculator, ideally a scientific one with natural display, such as the Casio FX-83GT+ or Casio FX-85GT+ (both around £10).  In addition, all students should purchase the Certificate in Use of Maths Student Course Resources via the college’s Online Store. This will be about £15 and includes 3 course booklets, a set of homework sheets in a folder, an exercise book for writing notes and essential geometry equipment, all contained in a large plastic wallet, plus interactive ICT resources used within the course.

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.

Future opportunities

The Certificate in Use of Mathematics is graded A* to G, just like GCSE. The Foundation units you will take give you the opportunity to gain a C grade – a level 2 Maths qualification roughly equivalent to a C grade in GCSE Maths. It is accepted by some universities, such as Brighton, instead of the GCSE C grade. It will also help you progress to many jobs and careers.  Students will feel more numerically confident at the end of the course, which will help them to cope better in employment and in their personal life. You will be able to study GCSE Maths the following year if you gain an E grade in the Certificate of Use of Maths.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Alton College directly.

Last updated date: 10 August 2016

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