What content is covered in A Level Further Maths?

Studying A Level Further Maths is an excellent way to strengthen your mathematical understanding, reasoning, and analytical skills. During the course, you will learn how to solve complex problems and choose the most appropriate methods for the task at hand. Just like A Level Maths, further maths focuses on practical, real-world applications.

Although A Level Maths and A Level Further Maths draw on similar skills and fundamental concepts, they cover different topics. Further maths explores additional pure and applied content and introduces you to a new set of mathematical tools used to represent numbers.

The term ‘Further Maths’ might seem intimidating, but it can be misleading. While some content may be more challenging and advanced than A Level Maths, its primary objective is to explore topics that are not included in the regular maths curriculum. You will be taught these new topics from scratch, just like in A Level Maths.

Think of this course as an opportunity to delve into different branches of mathematics, rather than seeing it as ‘more difficult maths’.

Male student typing on calculator and checking his work for mistakes.

Do you need to take A Level Maths alongside A Level Further Maths?

You can’t study A Level Further Maths without taking A Level Maths. This is because A Level Further Maths builds upon the concepts covered in A Level Maths.

Students will begin covering the same content as A Level Maths but at a faster pace to allow for the additional further maths content.

A Level Further Maths is equivalent to two A Level qualifications.

How is A Level Further Maths assessed?

The exact structure of A Level Further Maths assessments will vary between exam boards. However, you can generally expect to sit 4× written exams, each contributing 25% to your final grade:

  • 2× mandatory core pure maths papers
  • 2× optional module papers

The optional papers may cover modules in further pure mathematics, further statistics,
further mechanics, or decision mechanics. Your choice of optional papers will depend on the offerings of your sixth form or college.

An A Level Further Maths student solving a maths problem on a whiteboard.

Is A Level Further Maths hard?

A Level Further Maths is challenging. It covers more advanced topics than A Level Maths and demands a deep understanding of mathematical principles.

However, if you have a strong interest in mathematics and a natural aptitude for the subject, you are likely to do well in A Level Further Maths. In 2023, 58.5% of A Level Further Maths students achieved a grade A or above, compared to 41% in A Level Maths. This isn’t because further maths is easy. Rather, students who choose to study it are typically at the top of their cohort and are interested in pursuing maths-intensive courses at university.

What grades do you need to do A Level Further Maths?

To take A Level Further Maths, most sixth forms and colleges require students to have achieved a Grade 7 or higher in GCSE Maths. It’s important to have a strong foundation in GCSE Maths for success at A Level, and some institutions may have higher entry requirements.

To ensure you have the most up-to-date information on admission requirements, check with the specific sixth form or college where you plan to study A Level Further Maths.

What skills will you develop when studying A Level Further Maths?

If you study A Level Further Maths you will become confident in engaging with advanced mathematical concepts and applying your knowledge to solve complex problems. You will develop logical reasoning and analytical thinking skills – skills highly valued by employers across many job sectors.

A Level Further Maths also fosters effective time management and attention to detail, essential for precision in mathematical proofs.

Top tips for studying A Level Further Maths

  • Master the basics – Further maths is an extension of A Level Maths. Ensure you have a solid foundation in core A Level Maths topics before delving into further maths. A strong grasp of the fundamentals, especially algebra skills, is essential.
  • Practice – Practice solving challenging problems regularly. Further maths is all about tackling complex mathematical scenarios, so problem-solving skills are key. Make use of the exercises in your textbooks and access online past papers.
  • Study in parallel – When learning new concepts in further maths, try to relate them back to topics you’ve covered in your core maths modules. This connection will help you understand and retain the information.
  • Get a decent graphical calculator – Check out Think Student’s article on the best calculator for A Level Further Maths.
  • Ask for help – Don’t hesitate to ask your teacher for clarification if you’re struggling with a concept or exam question. Further Maths topics can be challenging, and it’s okay to ask for help.
  • Become acquainted with the formula booklet – Know which formulae and equations you need to learn so you can organise your revision more effectively. Ensure you understand what the different symbols and terms mean and can locate the equations needed for each topic.

Where can A Level Further Maths lead you?

A Level Further Maths is a good course to prepare students for studying mathematics, physics, or engineering at university.

Many top universities and competitive degree programs look favourably upon candidates with A Level Further Maths due to its rigour and advanced content.

Only a small number of undergraduate courses list A Level Further Mathematics as essential, since some Sixth Forms and Colleges do not offer the A Level. Be sure to check the course requirements for your desired degree to see if Further Maths is a necessity.

A Level Further Maths is highly regarded by employers and can open doors to careers in a variety of industries including:

  • Accounting and finance
  • Consultancy
  • Actuarial science
  • Data analysis
  • Technology
  • Academia

The problem-solving and critical thinking skills developed in this course are highly transferable and can benefit you in a wide range of professions.

Further Maths A Level could lead to a career in accounting or finance.

What subjects go well with A Level Further Maths?

The majority of A Level Further Maths students also take physics or chemistry. These subjects share mathematical concepts, problem-solving techniques, and critical thinking skills, and enable students to develop a solid understanding of the principles that govern the physical world.

This combination prepares students to undertake maths-heavy undergraduate courses, such as Physics, Engineering, Computer Science, and Data Science.

Further maths also pairs well with economics and computer science.

Should you take A Level Further Maths?

Students can choose to take further maths as their third or fourth A Level.

It can be helpful if you plan on studying maths, engineering, physics, or a related subject at university. However, most universities don’t ask for it specifically in their entry requirements. For instance, they may ask for an A in maths OR further maths.

If, for whatever reason, you can’t take A Level Further Maths, don’t panic! Universities recognise that students are taught different things at A Level and enter the first year with different foundational knowledge. The first year is typically structured to ensure everyone catches up and is on the same page.

A first year university maths lecture.

Even if you don’t intend to pursue STEM after school, you might consider A Level Further Maths simply because you find it enjoyable and engaging. Studying this A Level can provide valuable problem-solving skills and enhance logical thinking.

If you’re considering taking further maths as a fourth A Level, think carefully about how you’ll manage the study hours alongside other commitments.