Why Choose Further Mathematics?


What is Further Mathematics?

Further Mathematics is an AS or A level qualification which both broadens and deepens the mathematics covered in A level Mathematics. Further Mathematics is taken alongside an AS or A level in Mathematics.

A level Further Mathematics

A level Further Mathematics is a separate A level that is usually taken in addition to taking A level Mathematics. Half of the content of this will be Further Pure and the remainder will be from options such as Mechanics, Statistics.

AS level Further Mathematics

AS level Further Mathematics is a separate AS level that can be studied alongside AS level Mathematics in year 12, or taken up as a new AS subject alongside studying A level Mathematics in year 13.

Course Structure for A and AS level Further Mathematics

The structure of AS and A level Further Mathematics varies across the different specifications.

A level Further Mathematics specifications

Why Study Further Mathematics?

There are many good reasons to take Further Mathematics:

  • Students taking Further Mathematics overwhelmingly find it to be an enjoyable, rewarding, stimulating and empowering experience.
    It is a challenging qualification, which both extends and deepens your knowledge and understanding beyond the standard A level Mathematics. Students who do it often say it is their favourite subject.

  • For someone who enjoys mathematics, it provides a challenge and a chance to explore new and/or more sophisticated mathematical concepts.
    As well as new learning new areas of pure mathematics you will study further applications of mathematics in mechanics, statistics and decision mathematics.

  • Students who take Further Mathematics find that the additional time spent studying mathematics boosts their marks in single A level Mathematics.
    Any student capable of passing an AS/A level in Mathematics should also be able to pass AS Further Mathematics. Studying Further Mathematics consolidates and reinforces your standard A level Mathematics work, helping you to achieve your best possible grades.

  • It makes the transition from sixth form to university courses which are mathematically rich that much easier as more of the first year course content will be familiar.
    If you are planning to take a degree such as Engineering, Sciences, Computing, Finance/Economics, etc., or perhaps Mathematics itself, you will benefit enormously from taking Further Mathematics, at least to AS level. AS Further Mathematics introduces new topics such as matrices and complex numbers that are vital in many STEM degrees. Students who have studied Further Mathematics find the transition to such degrees far more straightforward. If you decide to study for a mathematically rich degree during year 12, but are not taking AS Further Mathematics it is often possible to start AS Further Mathematics alongside A level Mathematics in year 13.

  • It enables students to distinguish themselves as able mathematicians in their applications for university and future employment.
    Further Mathematics qualifications are highly regarded and are warmly welcomed by universities. Students who take Further Mathematics are really demonstrating a strong commitment to their studies, as well as learning mathematics that is very useful for any mathematically rich degree. Some prestigious university courses require you to have a Further Mathematics qualification and others may adjust their grade requirements more favourably to students with Further Mathematics. See: Universities and careers for more information about university entry requirements/recommendations and Further Mathematics.

    If you are not planning to study for mathematically rich degrees but are keen on mathematics you will find Further Mathematics a very enjoyable course and having a Further Mathematics qualification identifies you as having excellent analytical skills, whatever area you are considering for a career. See: Further Mathematics and careers.

Studying Further Mathematics through the FMSPW

By studying Further Mathematics through the FMSPW, you will also:

  • taste a more independent style of learning, which is good preparation for university or a career;
  • have the chance to work with like-minded students from other schools and colleges;
  • have regular input from an expert tutor.

Please also see the Universities section for what universities say about the usefulness of Further Mathematics.

Is Further Mathematics for me?

The flowchart below will help you to decide whether or not you should consider studying Further Mathematics. flowchart

Quotes about choosing Further Mathematics

“I joined my school's Further Maths class by chance, a few weeks into Year 12. I saw FM mentioned on a university prospectus and asked my Statistics teacher about it, who put me in touch with the after-school class. It's been an excellent experience, introducing me to some more interesting mathematics, and learning more advanced calculus and trigonometry has also made my regular Maths stronger.”
Robert Day, Further Mathematics student

“Demand for jobs with Science, Engineering and Technology skills is set to grow by 2.4 million by 2014 and all these jobs require maths skills. Highly numerate disciplines are in great demand from employers and young people with maths qualifications will find that their degrees can open doors to exciting and rewarding careers.”
Susan Anderson, Director HR Policy: CBI

“ECUK strongly supports the work of the Further Mathematics Support Programme Wales. By offering increased opportunities to students to take Further Maths at AS and A2 levels, it will help make them better prepared to enter degree courses in engineering. Furthermore by offering high quality professional development for teachers it will enhance the totality of learning and teaching in Mathematics.”
Andrew Ramsay, Executive Director: Engineering Council UK

“Mathematics is one of the essential tools of the engineer in the 21st Century. The EPC is thus committed to ensuring that the study of mathematics is available to all those students able to benefit. We have witnessed with growing concern the gradual restriction in the range of applicable mathematics covered in the A and AS level syllabus in recent years, leading to a worrying lack of mathematical fluency among many entrants to engineering degree courses. The EPC applauds the work the Further Mathematics Support Programme Wales has carried out to date in supporting mathematics teachers, and endorses the current drive to extend the coverage of mathematics.”
Professor Tony Unsworth, President: Engineering Professors’ Council

“When students begin an engineering course with a further maths qualification, whether at A-level or AS, we find they are significantly better prepared to manage their studies.”
John Morton, Chief executive: Engineering and Technology Board

“AS and A Level Further Mathematics are valuable qualifications which give added insight into how mathematics develops and why it is useful. The Further Mathematics Support Programme Wales is an important initiative which will ensure that all learners in England have the opportunity to take the subject; the IMA supports it fully.”
Vanessa Thorogood, Education Officer: Institute of Mathematics and its Applications

“Physics and mathematics are essential requirements for entry to a physics degree. Good supplementary subjects include another science, such as chemistry or geology, and further mathematics, either to AS or A-level. Further mathematics is particularly useful preparation for courses in theoretical and/or mathematical physics, which have a more sophisticated mathematical content.”
Professor Peter Main, Director, Ed. and Science: Institute of Physics

“It is immensely important to give all students who take mathematics at A level the opportunity to do an AS or A level in Further Mathematics and to help it be seen as both a valuable additional qualification and an opportunity to extend their mathematical background. We welcome also the way in which the project will raise the profile of the subject generally throughout the country and actively encourage a wider range of students to enjoy and extend their studies in mathematics.”
Doug French, President 2006-07: The Mathematical Association