Mathematics A level at Esher College
AS and A Level mathematics build on the skills and knowledge developed at GCSE level. A Level mathematics emphasises how mathematical ideas are interconnected and how mathematics can be applied to model situations mathematically using algebra, to help make sense of data, to understand the physical world and to solve problems in a variety of real life contexts. It prepares students for further study and employment in a wide range of disciplines involving the use of mathematics.
A major part of the course is Pure Maths which is the study of mathematical ideas and methods for their own sake and to give a ‘toolkit’ for solving mathematical problems. All Pure Maths is expressed in terms of algebra. All students will also study both statistics and mechanics as part of their AS Level course and again in the second year of their A Level.
Statistics involves learning how to draw conclusions from data. It is very different from Statistics at GCSE and the focus is on probability, looking at whether or not apparent patterns in certain types of situation could be the result merely of chance and random variation, or whether the pattern in the data is unlikely to have arisen in this way.
Studying mechanics allows us to understand the physical world and to work out how objects move when forces such as gravity act on them.
There is a strong emphasis on developing skills in logical reasoning and problem solving and you will be solving problems by reasoning clearly in a step-by-step, logical way using algebra. You will learn how to represent situations mathematically and then to find solutions to them. In Statistics you will spend time interpreting and investigating real data and drawing conclusions from it. In Mechanics you will study how objects move under the influence of gravity and you will learn about forces and Newton’s laws.
In the first year you will cover topics in Pure Maths, Statistics and Mechanics. In Pure Maths you will study a wide range of topics including differentiation, trigonometry and vectors. In Statistics you will learn about sampling and probability and in Mechanics you will learn about kinematics (displacement, velocity and acceleration).
In the second year you will develop your mathematical problem solving skills and algebraic skills further and you will study more Pure Maths including logarithms and integration. In Statistics you will learn about the normal distribution and in Mechanics you will learn about projectiles and friction.
The minimum entry requirement for study at Esher College is 5 GCSEs at A* - C (or 9 – 4 in Maths and English). We encourage students to aim significantly higher than this to ensure that study programmes are successfully completed.
A Level Mathematics builds on Higher Tier GCSE Mathematics and, aside from the College’s general entry criteria, a minimum of Grade 6 on Higher Tier GCSE Maths is required. (For A Level Statistics where there is far less algebra, the entry requirement for GCSE Maths is lower.)
If you do not have a grade 4 in either GCSE English Language or Maths and you qualify to follow a study programme at the College, you will be required to retake one or both of these subjects in your first year. A lack of GCSE English Language at grade 4 will significantly restrict study programme options.
The course assessment is entirely through examination.
A Level Mathematics is required for most university courses in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry (straight Chemistry degrees), Engineering, Architecture (many courses but not all), Economics (the more mathematical courses), Management Science (some courses) and Computer Science (but not IT more broadly).
A Level Maths provides a helpful background for the mathematical parts of university courses in Biological and Environmental Sciences, Business Studies (at least on some of the more mathematical courses) and Psychology (because of its Statistics content). Students who have not taken Maths beyond GCSE often struggle with the mathematical parts of these courses.
Please note that this subject is in the process of being reformed. The current information reflects what is known about the new course and further details will be available on the website when the specification (syllabus) has been finalised and published.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Esher College directly.