There have been many changes in Mathematics over the years, at ‘O’ level, then GCSE and IGCSE, and at ‘A’ level. In the 1960s “Modern Mathematics” was introduced and the new specifications involving this threw out much of the old traditional work. This was fine for the very able students, but those who found Mathematics less easy had many problems, since these modern specifications contained topics which were difficult to relate to practical ideas.

After experimenting with these new specifications, the examination boards introduced courses containing the best of the modern topics, together with the traditional ones which are still relevant.

Nowadays, instead of a wide range of possible specifications, each examination board tends to offer a core specification of basic mathematics, together with a set of more diverse options which the student can choose from.

If you are considering enrolling on a **Maths A Level** with Oxford Open Learning we recommend you also look at our Mechanics A Level and Statistics A Levels.

The Pure Maths A level course includes two major components – AS level and A2 level. AS level is a qualification in its own right and may be studied for on a one-year distance learning course. Each lesson begins with a set of clearly stated objectives and an explanation of its place in the overall programme of study. Effective learning is encouraged through frequent activities and self-assessment questions.

The AS Level course includes ten Tutor-marked Assignments (known as TMAs). The A2 has a further ten TMAs.

The Oxford Open Learning course is designed to match the AQA 6360 Pure Maths specification which comprises six units:

Pure core 1: algebra, trigonometry, integration, etc.

Pure core 2: exponentials, logarithms, etc.

Further pure 1: complex numbers, linear equations, etc.

Pure core 3: algebraic functions, coordinate geometry, etc.

Pure core 4: vectors, further coordinate geometry, etc.

Further pure 2: hyperbolic functions, matrices, etc.

This course prepares candidates for the AQA Mathematics AS level syllabus 5366, for examination in 2017 and later years. Most candidates will then study the A2 syllabus 6366. The full Advanced level qualification comprises AS and A2. We have chosen this syllabus as it is the most suited for distance learning.

Assessment is by three written papers for the AS level and three written papers for the A2 level.There is no coursework.

Alongside our usual entry requirement of 4 GCSEs or IGCSEs at grade A to C, you are expected to have a knowledge of mathematics up to a good ‘O’ level, GCSE or IGCSE standard in order to study this course. Just a mere pass is not usually a sufficient basis on which to progress to ‘A’ level. In particular you are expected to have a good grasp of algebra — equations, factors, fractions, and, especially, the manipulation of formulae.

I was motivated by an interest in the subject and the challenge of taking it on board at my time of life. I really got a kick out of completing the Tutor Marked Assignments and seeing from the feedback how my answers could have been improved. I did the A level in less than one year’s study and got an A grade!

**John Gregory, Mathematics A level, Grade A Summer 2014**