A Level Course Listing

Mathematics and Further Mathematics

Mathematics is essential for a wide range of students, from those intending to read the subject at university to those needing particular techniques to support other courses or their chosen careers. Many areas of science, engineering, computing, medicine, economics, business, psychology and other disciplines require an understanding of mathematics beyond GCSE level.

There is a national shortage of mathematically trained people and a qualification at advanced level dramatically increases a person’s employment and earning potential.

Mathematics provides intellectual training, nurturing powers of analysis, logic, organisation and problem solving. Some are attracted by its sheer power, some by the elegance of its methods, and some by the satisfaction they feel when they complete a clever solution or master a tricky procedure.

Work for A Level Mathematics involves studying mainly pure mathematics, with applied units in statistics and mechanics. Work for Further Mathematics involves a much wider and deeper appreciation of the subject and should be considered by anyone interested in Mathematics.

Examination results in Mathematics are very good at Bishop’s Stortford College with 100% pass rates at A Level, and an average of 68% grade A*–A over the last five years.

There are nine experienced teachers in the department, who all use a variety of approaches to teaching mathematics. There is no assessed coursework on the new specification, but investigational skills are developed through the teaching approaches.

Students completing the two-year courses in Mathematics and Further Mathematics achieve two complete A Levels.

Course Outline

Examination board: OCR B (MEI) H640 (Mathematics) H645 (Further Mathematics)

Entry Requirements

A Level Mathematics at least a grade 7 is required in Mathematics GCSE.

Further Maths at least a grade 8 is required in Mathematics GCSE.

Course Content

Content is in four areas:

i. Mathematical Process consists of mathematical argument and language, problem solving and mathematical modelling

ii. Pure Mathematics includes proof, algebra, graphs, sequences, trigonometry, logarithms, calculus and vectors

iii. Mechanics includes kinematics, motion under gravity, working with forces including friction, Newton’s laws and moments

iv. Statistics includes working with data from a sample to make inferences about a population, probability calculations, using binomial and normal distributions as models and statistical hypothesis testing; a large data set will be released at the beginning of the course so that students can use spreadsheets or other statistical software to become familiar with it

Students’ calculators are expected to include an iterative function, such as an ANS key and the ability to compute summary statistics and access probabilities from the binomial and Normal functions.


Assessment is by three, two hour exams at the end of the two year course:

Exam 1

Pure Mathematics and Mechanics, worth 100 marks.

Exam 2

Pure Mathematics and Statistics, worth 100 marks.

Exam 3

Pure Mathematics and Comprehension, worth 75 marks.

Further Mathematics

Content is in four areas:

v. Core Pure

vi. Mechanics

vii. Statistics

viii. Extra Pure

There are three possible routes to achieve the qualification:

Route A:

Candidates take the mandatory Core Pure and Mechanics major units and one minor unit (not Mechanics).

Route B:

Candidates take the mandatory Core Pure and Statistics major units and one minor unit (not Statistics).

Route C:

Candidates take the mandatory Core pure unit and three further minor optional units.

In addition to the features mentioned above, students’ calculators should have the ability to perform calculations with matrices up to at least order 3×3 and to access probabilities from any standard statistical distribution.

Assessment is by three or four exams at the end of the two year course:

Exam 1

The mandatory Core pure unit, lasting 2 hours 40 minutes, worth 50% of the total A Level.

Routes A and B

Route A and B students then do a second exam of 2 hours 15 minutes, worth 33.5% of the total and a third exam of 1 hour 15 minutes, worth 16.5%.

Route C

Route C students do three exams of 1 hour 15 minutes, each worth 16% of the total.