Mathematics is a subject which many find difficult. Often problems with the foundation material such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division sap confidence and limit progress with more advanced topics. However, unlike other subjects, the requirement for a good Maths qualification can appear repeatedly throughout our lives.
GCSE grade C in Maths is a requirement for progression to 6th form at many schools and colleges, even for subjects where maths is not relevant. Similarly, employers frequently require GCSE Maths at a reasonable level when recruiting.
As far as content is concerned, the jump in difficulty between GCSE and A level is more gentle than many other subjects. Much of the first (Edexcel) core maths module revisits the more challenging aspects of GCSE Maths. The complexity of problem solving required, however, increases substantially and rapidly. It is this, together with a much greater use of mathematical language and terminology, which seems to pose the greatest difficulties, even for more able students.
A range of modules, selected by the school, are available at A level. I currently teach the following modules (Edexcel):
- C1 to C4 Pure Maths
- S1 Statistics
- M1 Mechanics
Many schools now offer GCSE Statistics to their more able students. It is often taken one or two years before the main group of GCSE exams and taught over one year rather than the usual two. Statistics is substantially different from the bulk of pre-GCSE Maths. Consequently, even students who have sailed through Maths till now may welcome the additional help of weekly tuition.