It is a stimulating and intellectually challenging discipline; not only that, it is a powerful and versatile subject that underpins (and is occasionally vital to) a multitude of other subjects. The course aims to build on work you will have already met at GCSE, but it also involves new and powerful ideas and concepts.
However, it is certainly NOT for the faint-hearted! Studying Mathematics is an active process; just reading around the subject and keeping a few notes is quite simply not enough! You have to roll up your sleeves and get ‘down and dirty’ with the likes of numerical problems, algebra, trigonometry and geometry.
A competence in Mathematics is frequently highly desirable to universities, colleges or employers alike. You may like to know that for individuals considering a future in some of today’s most financially rewarding careers, confidence in using Mathematics on a daily basis is an essential prerequisite. Furthermore, researchers at the London School of Economics have recently established that people who have studied Mathematics at this level can expect to earn up to 11% more than colleagues, even those doing the same job!
For careers where Mathematics isn’t an absolute requirement, other Mathematics skills learned at AS and A level, such as logical thinking, problem solving and statistical analysis, are often highly valued in the workplace.
By the end of the course, you will be expected to be able to:
Currently, every student must study several ‘core’ components; split between Y1 and Y2. The content of the core units involve some of the more abstract mathematical concepts (calculus, trigonometry, algebra and functions, co-ordinate geometry, vectors, sequences and series, to name but a few). The core content provides a good set of mathematical scaffolds for the topics studied in the applied units.
Each year, in addition to the core content, you would need to choose one ‘applied’ pathway from mechanics, statistics, or decision Mathematics pathway. The applied pathway you choose will depend on your interests, the other A level courses you intend to study, and ultimately your career aspirations (if you know what they are yet). You are advised to speak with your current Mathematics teacher, your careers adviser and studio school Mathematics staff to establish which applied pathway is best for you.
Here are some details of the applied content to help you with those discussions:
Mechanics is concerned with many everyday situations, e.g. the motion of cars, the flight of a ball through the air and the motion of the earth around the sun. Such problems have to be simplified or modelled to make them capable of solution using relatively simple Mathematics. Many of the ideas you will meet in the course form an almost essential introduction to such important modern fields of study such as cybernetics, robotics, bio-mechanics and sports science.
You will learn how to analyse and summarise numerical data in order to arrive at conclusions about it. Many of the ideas in this part of the course have value in a range of other fields (biology, environment, psychology, business studies for instance). In today’s society we are bombarded with information (or data) and the statistics units will give you useful tools for looking at this information critically and efficiently.
You will learn how to solve problems involving networks, systems, planning and resource allocation. You will study a range of methods, or algorithms, which enable such problems to be tackled.
Students applying must have a minimum of 5 GCSEs at C grades with English & Maths. Their Maths grade must be at least a grade B.
As of 2017, this will include at least a grade 4 (old Grade Cs) in English Language OR Literature as well as Maths. A grade ‘C’ in a GCSE Art-based/creative subject, or level 2 equivalent, would be advantageous for showing your ability to cope with the Level 3 study specialism. Upon gaining an interview for the Art & Design course you must bring with you a Portfolio of work.