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A- Level/IB Maths Introduction

Updated: Jan 2


This is where you will begin your year 12 maths journey!

A-level/IB maths is a rigorous subject to study. If you took GCSE maths, many schools and colleges require you to have achieved a grade 6 or higher in maths to move on to the A-level. If you did not take GCSE maths then you can still take your A-level maths exams as an independent student.

At first, you may find this course quite demanding, if that is the case do not be afraid to slow down your learning. It is better to spend more time on a topic and understand it than to move on, you will only find it more difficult when you come to revise before your exams if you do this.

The way I have structured the materials is to give you some content to work through that is the key learning materials and then to give you a range of extra resources to help you better understand, improve your skills or move deeper. Some topics you may get straight away and you may decide not to use the extra materials others you may struggle with and will want to use them to support your learning. Therefore, there is no strict timetable or way through the course you will need to decide what extra materials you want to use and how long you take to complete them. The amount of independent learning increases during your Level 3 studies and it is great practice for when you move on to university or into work.

Task 1

You should know what syllabus you will be studying, AQA, OCR, Edexcel... go to the course website and print out a copy of the course specification. This document tells you everything you need to know to complete the exam successfully. Place this document into a folder or notebook. This is a very important document, every time you complete a module you need to go and highlight the content you have covered. This way, if there is anything at the end of your studies that I have not covered you will be able to see it as it will not be highlighted in the specification.

Task 2

Make sure you buy the student workbook for your course, not the revision book. This is very important to have as it will give you lots of opportunities to practice what you are learning and check your understanding. Some books are structured in a way that you will be able to decide which sections to complete depending on how comfortable you are with the topic. Take a look inside your book before starting the course to make sure you know how it works.

Task 3

Print out the progress chart. This course aims to get your studies completed within the standard two years or one year if you feel you can complete the course more quickly. As you progress, colour in the face according to how well you feel you know the topic, well, ok or badly. Make a note of anything you find tricky or anything you need to remember when revising in the notes column. You can also add useful links or books there as well. I have made the chart spacious so use it and keep yourself on track!

My mathsProgress Chart
Download PDF • 3.01MB

Task 4

DO NOT PANIC! This course will get you through your A-level content. If you begin to struggle or fall behind where you want to be know that most students do. Grab yourself someone you trust and talk it through with them. Think about:

  1. What you are unhappy with? Are you not keeping up? Not understanding?

  2. Are your concerns realistic? You may feel anxious about something that can be easily sorted out, that's ok if the level of your anxiety matches the scale of the problem. If you are finding you are getting more anxious or upset than you and your trusted person thinks you should be then it is time to start putting some work into managing stress.

  3. What small steps can you take to improve the situation? Take more breaks? Do more practice questions? Talk through maths problems with another person as you are doing them. Slow down and spend more time on the extra materials? Do not do all the extra materials? Record your learning differently.

  4. Write down the steps you are going to take and put it somewhere both of you can see. Ask your trusted person to help you put the steps into action.

  5. Set up another time to meet up and discuss how things are going. This might be a regular meeting once a week or a month.

You are not alone, use the Facebook page to connect with others doing the A-level, ask questions and give others support. It can seem like a huge mountain to climb when you start to study a new course but each day you are getting closer to the end of it so take time to breathe and enjoy the feeling of progress.

Task 5

Make sure you have an account on Khans Academy and Edx. On the EdX website, you can enrol in the A-level Year 12 and 13 courses. We will be using the material as we progress through the modules.

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