Mathematics at AS and Advanced GCE is a course worth studying not only as a supporting subject for the physical and social sciences but in its own right.

It is challenging but interesting. It builds on the work students will have met at GCSE but also involves new ideas produced by some of the greatest minds of the last millennium.

Whilst studying Mathematics students will be expected to:

  • use mathematical skills, knowledge, argument and logic to solve quite complicated problems
  • simplify real-life situations so that you can use Mathematics to show what is happening and what might happen in different circumstances
  • use a calculator and other resources (such as statistical tables) effectively and appropriately; understand calculator limitations and when it is inappropriate to use such technology

In order to gain an AS in Mathematics students will study three units, two of which must be Pure Maths (known as Core 1 and Core 2), whilst an Advanced GCE requires six units.

There is also the opportunity to study Further Mathematics by completing more modules, including at least one of the Further Pure Mathematics modules.

There is a variety of units offered by the OCR examination board and the department aims to select the most appropriate units for each group of students, so the combinations can vary from year to year. Those units currently on offer include Core Mathematics, Statistics, Decision Mathematics and Mechanics.

An AS in Mathematics is very valuable as a supporting subject to many courses at Advanced GCE, especially in the Sciences, Geography and Psychology. It is also a sought-after qualification for the workplace and in higher education courses.

Core Mathematics

Pure Mathematics is the compulsory element of both the AS and Advanced GCE courses. In the study of Core Mathematics students will be extending your knowledge of such topics as algebra and trigonometry as well as learning some new topics such as calculus. Although many of the ideas students will meet in Core Mathematics are interesting in their own right, they also serve as an important tool for other branches of Mathematics, especially Mechanics and Statistics.


When students study Statistics they will learn how to analyse and summarise numerical data in order to arrive at conclusions. Students will extend the range of probability problems that they tackled for GCSE by using the new mathematical techniques studied in the Core Mathematics course.

Decision Mathematics

Decision Mathematics involves the application of mathematical modelling to solve a variety of real life problems. Students will be introduced to a range of algorithms to solve different types of problems, such as sorting data, maximising profit, increasing the flow within a network, or planning the most efficient route for a travelling salesperson.


When students study Mechanics they will learn how to describe mathematically the motion of objects and how they respond to forces applied upon them. Students will learn the technique of mathematical modelling; that is, of turning a complicated physical problem into a simpler one that can be analysed and solved using mathematical methods.

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