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A Level Maths - teach yourself?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by gavcradd, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. gavcradd

    gavcradd New commenter

    Hi, first time posting on this forum - I'm HoD of ICT in a school in the Midlands, but I've been interested in re-doing my A Level Maths for a while, just for interests sake really. I got an A* at GCSE in 1996 and then took Further Maths at A level in 1997/98, but messed about, skived lessons, did no revision and generally flunked it. I ended up dropping the Further Maths bit and scraping a C overall after many resits. Looking back, I honestly don't know why I was such a waster for 2 years and it frustrates me that I didn't do better. I remember going into exams without even 5 minutes revision, what was I thinking of?

    Anyway, I'd like to re-do my A Level Maths (and possibly even do the further Maths bit as well). A couple of questions :

    1) Has much changed since 1997/98 in terms of the content? If I dig out my old books from the loft (I remember doing P1, P2, M1 and M2) will I be missing anything important? Has it got easier / harder?

    2) Do you think it would be feasible to do this without the aid of a Maths teacher and proper lessons? I mean, if I just bought a text book, worked through it, used online help perhaps, would that work? I've already got a C so I'd like to target myself an A grade.

    3) Am I wasting my time?

    Thanks in advance :)
  2. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    If you are just doing it for yourself then give it a shot, and see how far independent study takes you.
    I am presuming that your school does A Level, so why don't you ask a member of the maths department for a copy of the syllabus that they cover and see how much of it is familiar.
  3. DM

    DM New commenter

    These days the P units have been spread out into four C units. You could do C1 to C4 (compulsory) and M1 and M2. It is perfectly possible for you to self teach (particularly as you have done it before). Which Awarding Body are you intending to do? I may be able to sort you out with some suitable study materials.
  4. gavcradd

    gavcradd New commenter

    Thanks for all of your replies - I think I'll discuss it with some of my friends in the Maths dept when I get back to work. I'm pretty sure the board they follow is OCR but I may be wrong.

    How come there are 6 modules then? The two subjects I deliver up to A2 (Computing and ICT) both have four modules. Do I assume then that Further Maths is another 6 units? Could I do "standard" Maths first then do Further Maths afterwards?

    I'll tell you what has starter this thought process off - my wife bought me a book for Christmas about Maths history and it's fascinating. In particular, the explanation of imaginary numbers and complex numbers makes perfect sense - it didn't go in at all as a 17 year old.

    Thanks again ever so much!
  5. gavcradd

    gavcradd New commenter

    Where did all of my line breaks go???
  6. If you're on google your line breaks disappear. Firefox is better but hyperlinks don't work.
    The structure of A-level maths keeps changing. They're talking now of merging the last two pure units to allow more synoptic questions.
    It is a very good idea to stay in touch with your maths department!
  7. DM

    DM New commenter

    Mathematics got a special exemption so that it could remain at 6 units for the foreseeable future due to the haranguing skills of certain TESsers and the (un)fortunate abolition of QCDA. Mathematics is also the only A Level that can be awarded with two thirds AS content and one third A2 content.
    Further mathematics is another 6 units and additional further mathematics another 6 after that.
    You won't meet complex number in the single mathematics A Level.
  8. DM

    DM New commenter

    * unless you take Pure Mathematics A Level (not offered by OCR).
  9. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    No, line breaks are fine with Chrome, you just have to enter the html tags yourself.

    As the OP is an ICT teacher, that shouldn't be beyond him...
  10. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    My son taught himself Further Maths in upper sixth so I'm sure you'd have no problems, given your background.
  11. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    Yep, without any doubt, MEI online resources is the way to go...superb.

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