A Level Mathematics

Mathematics is a challenging and stimulating course that will encourage you to develop your mathematical skills, improve your ability to think logically and enable you to determine solutions to a wide range of problems. If you enjoyed studying GCSE Maths, particularly the more algebraic topics, and would like to significantly improve your mathematical skills, then this would be an ideal subject for you to study at A Level.

Key information

Mathematics / Full Time / A Levels and Equivalent

Why choose this course?

Studying Mathematics will support the study of several other subjects, in particular Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Psychology, Economics and Business Studies. The course provides an excellent preparation for a wide range of university courses, such as Engineering, Sciences, Medicine, Accountancy, Architecture and Computer Science. It is also considered to be a facilitating subject for many other courses. Mathematics is a versatile qualification that is well respected by employers.

You will need to be good at algebra before you start the course. Throughout the course you will learn many new mathematical techniques and apply them to a variety of practical situations. At this level, Mathematics is all about applying your knowledge to solve problems in real-life situations. You need to be logical so that you can follow a mathematical argument, and you need to be creative so that you can look for different ways to apply your skills to solve a problem.

If you are still not convinced then you may be interested to know that Mathematics is the only A Level that has been proven to increase earnings in later life by an average of 10%, although hopefully your motivation to study the course is one of interest in learning Mathematics as opposed to being purely financial!

What will I learn?

At the start of the course you will extend some of the core ideas from GCSE Mathematics, such as quadratic equations, coordinate geometry and algebra. You will then move on to topics that may be new to you, such as calculus, logarithms and functions, and you will extend your work in trigonometry and vectors. You will use the core material to solve practical problems and find out about some of the background stories behind the ideas.

You will extend the quantitative methods and data handling work from GCSE Mathematics in the statistics part of the course. Much of this material will seem familiar, such as probability, data presentation and interpretation, although you will take the ideas further. You will also learn about statistical distributions and hypothesis testing and you will investigate a large data set to get a feel for some of the decisions that a statistician would have to make when processing and interpreting data.

You will also study mechanics, which is the study of why moving objects move in the way they do, and why stationary objects remain stationary. You will learn about modelling forces and develop equations for simple kinematics in one-dimension. You will learn how to apply Newton’s laws to predict the motion of simple systems that can be modelled as particles. As your skills develop you will extend the range of problems that you can tackle to include problems involving inclined planes, variable acceleration, projectile motion and moments. There is some crossover with Physics A Level, but you do not need to be studying Physics to understand mechanics in Mathematics.

As the course progresses you will continue to develop your knowledge of pure Maths and extend the types of function that you can differentiate and integrate. You will also learn about partial fractions, parametric equations, exponentials, further methods of proof, and the use of vectors in three-dimensional geometry. You will develop integration techniques that will enable you to deal with a wide variety of functions and you will use your pure Maths skills to solve practical problems, which may be related to the mechanics and statistics that you have studied.

You will need a calculator that can handle the statistical distributions. The recommended calculator is the Casio Classwiz fx-991EX. For the start of the course the calculator that you used for GCSE Mathematics is suitable, but the sooner you can get the new calculator, the sooner you can start learning how to use the useful new functions.

At the end of the first year you will sit an end of year progression exam to gauge your progress in the subject. You will also be given some work to do over the summer break between the first and second year of the course. This will help you to be ready for the start of year two and make sure that there are no important topics that you have missed out on.

At the end of the second year you will sit A Level exams in Mathematics on the work covered in both years.

Assessment Arrangements

You will have weekly homework assignments. These will be quite substantial and you should expect to spend a couple of hours on each assignment. They are designed to help you to find your weaknesses and help you to strengthen them. It is important that you read the feedback that your tutor provides and that you do any follow up work recommended.

You will have regular tests carried out in class, generally one every half term but more frequently at the start of the course.

You will be encouraged to enhance your study experience by following up the work done in class with further reading, using websites or trying extra questions from the online textbooks.

You will have access to exam papers, mark schemes and online worked solutions through the college Sharepoint site.

You will review your own performance in one to one discussions with your lecturer.

You will be given a mock examination for each paper that you will be sitting.

You will be examined by traditional written examinations, taken at the end of the second year in May or June. There is no coursework element.

Information & Support

You will be expected to do a significant amount of work outside class. Drop-in support sessions are available for all Mathematics students, as well as email support from your lecturer.

You will have access to lots of additional resources through our Sharepoint site. Online versions of the textbooks we use in class will be available for you to access from home and in college. These include worked solutions to every exercise in the book. We also subscribe to Integral Maths, which contains tiered practice questions, online topic tests and useful resources. Your lecturers may set additional work for you to complete using Integral.

We also provide links to websites you may find useful, including Exam Solutions, a video tutorial website, and websites that include exam style practice papers so that you can further practice your skills.

If you plan to take your study of mathematics further, we will support you with this, which includes helping you to prepare for university entrance exams where appropriate. We will encourage you to read widely and conduct your own research into topics that interest you. We will also direct you towards websites that you may find interesting or useful.

We also enter students for the UKMT Senior Maths Challenge and the Senior Team Challenge each year, some of whom progress to the Senior Kangaroo or rounds of the British Maths Olympiad.

Where will it take me?

A qualification in Mathematics is highly valued by many universities and employers. An A Level in Mathematics will be desirable if you are thinking of going on to study courses in subjects such as Computing, Economics, Engineering, Finance, Geography, Psychology or any of the Sciences at degree level.

What do I need?

In terms of entry requirements, the minimum requirement is five GCSEs at 4 or above including Maths at least grade 6.

You will need to attend lessons with a pen, paper, pencil, ruler and calculator (Casio Classwiz fx-991EX). It is recommended that you have two folders, one for notes and one for assignments and marked work. Although you do not necessarily need to bring full folders of notes to each lesson, it would be handy to have notes from recent lessons to refer back to.

Most importantly, you need to come to lessons with a desire to develop your mathematical skills. You will need to be willing to make mistakes and have the drive and perseverance to correct them. Help and support will always be available to help you with this.

Additional Information

Awarding Body:

To obtain more information about this course, please call: 01208 224000 or email enquiry@callywith.ac.uk

From the course


Progression:  Natural Sciences (Physical) - Cambridge University

Courses studied: A Level Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Further Maths

Extra Activities: Academic Academy

Previous school: Wadebridge School

How are you finding your course/experience at university?

Great! While it is really hard work, being able to involve myself in this type of learning environment and have access to the facilities here is a real privilege. The city itself is amazing, and so settling in and making new friends has been so enjoyable!

How did Callywith influence and support you in your application to university?

Through encouragement early on in college to consider Oxbridge and the College’s 'Your Future Week' programme, which really helped, even in lockdown, to see what my options were. Also, the Oxbridge support sessions offered by Jonny near the beginning of second year were so helpful in guiding me through the application process, by developing my personal statement, giving me interview practice and arranging the admissions exam.

What did you enjoy in particular about studying your A Levels?

The way in which content was made enjoyable to learn by the great class environment. Having lecturers as enthusiastic as Dave, Pete and Garry created a really positive and encouraging work space.

Why did you choose to study your course at university and how have your A Levels helped you?

Because this course features all topics from the A levels that I studied! Which is great because I had really enjoyed studying all of them over the 2 years, and felt like I wasn't ready to specialise in only one of them yet. My A levels taught several fundamentals which I still use frequently here, and I feel like they prepared me well for the work weeks in Cambridge!

What are you hoping to do in the future?

I'm still unsure about which region of physical science to specialise into, but possibly into something material science or physics related.


Progression: Mathematics - Cardiff University

Courses studied: A Level Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and PE

Extra Activites: Netball Academy

Previous School: Callington Community College

How are you finding your course/experience at university?

I'm really enjoying my university experience overall, despite the course being more challenging to learn due to coronavirus stopping lectures, in-person learning and libraries etc.

What do you enjoy in particular about studying Maths?

I chose to continue studying maths as I had 2 maths A Levels already and had no idea what job I wanted to go into, so it seemed like a good way to keep my options open. I’ve always liked maths because I find it comes naturally to me and is a lot more enjoyable to revise with practice questions rather than just cramming knowledge into your brain. 

How have your A Level studies helped you in your degree?

My A Levels have been very useful for my degree, although I found A Level Further Maths really difficult at the time, I’m so glad I did it because it’s been so useful in my degree.

What are you hoping to do in the future?

In the future, I hope to go into a financial role such as accounting or banking.


Progression: Architecture - Cardiff University

Courses studied: A Level Fine Art, History and Maths

Extra Activities: Holocaust Trust Ambassador and Young Curator’s Programme

How are you finding your course/experience at university?

I’m thoroughly enjoying my first year at University, although the pandemic has prevented many of my practical workshops, I’ve learnt a plethora of new skills and techniques.

How did your time at Callywith influence and support your choice of/ transition to university?

Callywith was extremely helpful with my next steps after college, with my Foundation application and also my University one even after I had left.

The extra-curricular opportunities Callywith offered helped immensely in my university application, I became a Holocaust Trust Ambassador providing me with the opportunity of visiting Auschwitz 1 and Birkenau in Krakow and I also was a part of the Young Curator’s Programme during my time at Callywith.

My love for art and my confidence in the subject grew so much whilst a student at Callywith with the help of my lecturer, applying the techniques learnt in first year to my own self-led projects in second year. These skills have helped greatly at University allowing me to have a more creative approach to my science-based course.

What are you hoping to do in the future?

After finishing my Masters at Cardiff University, I am hoping to work in a number of practices abroad and to complete the RIBA Part 3 which will allow me to be fully registered as an architect.


Progression: Civil Engineering - Swansea University

Courses studied: A Level Maths, Physics and Geography

Extra Activities: Rugby Academy

How are you finding your course/experience at university?

My time at university prior to lockdown was great! Lectures and lab session were constant and non-stop, I was able to design and test my own bridge in one lab session. Having to adapt to online lectures due to lockdown was a challenge, especially with the increasing amount of work and complexity of the work, however, uni lectures and mentors have tried to make it as easy as possible.

How did your time at Callywith influence and support your choice of/ transition to university?

Speaking to friends at uni, it’s clear that the way in which students are taught and treated whilst they are at Callywith really gives a helping hand in the transition to uni. Being treated as a young adult and having to do additional work in ‘free’ periods really makes life at uni easier, you always have more work to be cracking on with at uni.

Why did you choose to study Civil Engineering at university?

I chose to do Civil Engineering at uni, as I was fascinated by how structures were able to stand so tall and withstand all sorts of forces acting on them without collapsing. Knowing how to design structural elements which one day will be used in the construction of a skyscraper or bridge is exciting!

How have your A Level studies helped you in your degree?

I enjoyed A Level Maths at Callywith, as there was always something new to focus on. The lessons were engaging and constantly had a focus on practise questions, the weekly assignments, although tough, really helped with understanding the recently taught material and helped a lot when it came down to exam revision. The assignments also helped a lot with the uni transition, having just a week to complete and hand in the assignment made you manage and balance your time well, which is key whilst at uni.

My A Levels gave me a broad understanding of how forces work and how simple maths can be adapted and used to create super structures. The broad range of material taught, gave me an edge over my course mates as I already had a basic understanding of what we were learning about, many of them found themselves having to do additional work just to get a grasp of what we were being taught.

What are you hoping to do in the future?

In the future, I am looking to do a masters and hopefully become a Chartered Civil Engineer. I hope to be part of team that is developing new methods of construction which help mitigate the effects of earthquakes and other natural disasters, as well as help the environment by using more sustainable materials and resources.


Progression: BSc Computer Science and Mathematics - University of Bath

Courses studied:  A level Computer Science, Physics and Maths

Extra activites: Academic Academy

Previous school: Looe Community Academy

How did Callywith influence and support you in your application to university?

My tutor at Callywith Gary and my lecturer Paul really helped me with my personal statement and application to university. All lecturers and staff were supportive of me throughout my time at Callywith and especially when applying to university.

How have your A Level studies helped you in your degree?

In my second year of A Levels, time management became very important because there were so many important things I had to do in such a short amount of time (entrance exams, UCAS application, visiting/choosing universities, increased workload of A levels etc.) This skill has helped me greatly at university. The resilience and problem solving skills gained from A level maths have been really useful at university. The programming and formal computer science (principles of programming, data types etc.) in the computer science A level have also been very beneficial to my course.

How are you finding your course / experience at university?

I absolutely love my course. For example, in maths, abstract algebra really challenged me but by the end of the first semester I was really enjoying it. In computer science, creating my own hash table data type in C is probably the most fun I have had in programming to date. The University experience has been life changing, leaving Cornwall was the best choice I have ever made. Being at university has helped me to become an adult very quickly, massively boosted my confidence, taught me how to manage my mental and physical health better and I have made some friends for life!

What are you hoping to do in the future?

For my placement at University, I am going to apply to work at the large hadron collider in Geneva. After university, I hope to get a management position in a STEM-type company and gain enough experience to start my own business to which the end goal would be to develop Artificial General Intelligence.

How to apply to Callywith College