Any student interested in taking an A-level in maths will likely be wondering whether to take Further Maths as well. How is Further Maths different from normal Maths A-level? Is it worth the additional study time and effort? So, on balance, should I study Further Mathematics at A-level?

I’ve been guiding students through the school and university journey – and beyond – for 10 years. So I’ll answer these questions in this article. But before we go into detail, here are the main points to remember:

**Students who plan on taking a maths degree will benefit from studying AS or A-level Further Maths as universities favour Further Maths students. Further Maths also provides analytical and problem-solving skills that will make studying related A-levels like physics and economics a little easier.**

## Reasons you might want to study Further Maths

If you just love maths and enjoy studying it, that is an excellent reason to opt for Further Maths. The more you are able to engage with your A-levels, the more effective your studying will be, leading to better exam results at the end of the 2 years.

Taking Further Maths means that your experience in the standard Maths A-level will be greatly enhanced since there are a lot of transferable skills between the two.

**Some of the mathematical skills you acquire in Further Maths will also transfer to other maths-heavy subjects like physics and economics.**

If mathematics was a subject that you found particularly easy at GCSE level, this is a good indication that you’ll do well in Further Maths too.

That said, the learning curve of A-level maths is rather steep compared to GCSE, so don’t expect it to be a breeze!

Another good reason to take an A-level or AS-level in further maths is if you are planning to study a Mathematics BSc or closely related degree at university.

This will increase your chances of attaining a place on the course you’re after. Additionally, it will make life a little easier in the first 6 months of your degree – as you will already be familiar with more of the content taught in the first semester.

Few universities require an AS-level in Further Maths, and even fewer require the full A-level Further Maths.

However, many courses will look favourably on applicants with an AS-level in Further Maths over those with an AS in an unrelated subject.

**Studying A level Further Mathematics is a great path towards a degree in Mathematics. Many university maths departments encourage taking Further Mathematics at A level as a means to introduce a broader range of pure and applied content, such as decision mathematics and further statistics.**

## What is Further Maths exactly?

Further Mathematics AS and A-level are courses taken in addition to the standard Mathematics AS and A-level.

The field of mathematics has many branches: algebra, calculus, probability, statistics, number theory, analysis, and so on.

A-level Maths is packed with topics, but there is only so much that can be covered in the curriculum.

Further Maths is not just *more of the same* – it extends and complements the core Maths A-level. Sure, there will be some overlap, but it further covers areas of mathematics that you won’t see in the standard course.

**Further maths builds on the knowledge students gain from A-level Maths to both introduce new topics and take familiar topics to the next level.**

The exact structure and content of the Maths and Further Maths courses will depend on which exam board your school has chosen.

The Edexcel Further Maths specification, for example, includes number theory, matrices, complex numbers, Poisson distributions, chi-squared tests, the Central Limit Theorem and elastic collisions as well as topics in Decision Mathematics that are not present in the standard Maths A-level.

## Is Further Maths taken after Maths or in parallel?

Schools offering Further Maths in addition to Maths must choose between two ways of delivering these two courses:

**Consecutive delivery:**where Further Maths is taught after Maths**Parallel delivery:**where both Further Maths and Maths are taught at the same time

Studying the two courses in parallel means you will have to take *all* Maths and Further Maths exams at the end of the second year.

Your school will have considered the benefits and drawbacks of each approach and decided which is best for the school and its students.

**Further Maths provides a wider and deeper understanding of specific mathematical principles, particularly in applied maths areas such as mechanics or statistics. You can study maths on its own if you are not planning to take further maths. But you must study A-level maths alongside further maths.**

## Is Further Maths at A-level hard?

Further Maths at A-level is not necessarily any harder than the standard Maths A-level.

The quantity of maths you’re studying goes up but it’s not like the exam problems are more difficult, it’s just that you’re doing more maths overall.

Among the likes of chemistry and physics, Maths is widely regarded as one of the hardest A-levels. Given that Further Maths is simply *more maths* then, you’ll want to take that into account when choosing A-level subjects.

**Based on your GCSE results, if you think your mathematics skills are strong, then further mathematics is a good choice. Talk to your maths teachers, ****or contact me**** about this for more advice.**

## Do universities accept further maths as an A level?

Yes. Although it is contingent on also completing the standard Maths course, Further Maths counts as a separate A-level in its own right.

For example, let’s say you take Maths, Further Maths and Psychology at A-level.

Then you decide you want to do a degree in Psychology and are looking at a course that specifies BBB as the entry requirements.

As long as you achieve a B in the full A-level Further Maths (not just AS-level), then that university will count your Further Maths achievement toward those requirements.

## Which Universities require Further Maths?

Most maths degrees do *not* specify Further Maths as an entry requirement, though it may be preferable. As a result, they will have mixed classes of students who did study Further Maths and students who didn’t.

For this reason, course leaders design the first semester to get everyone up to speed with topics covered only in Further Maths.

Some of the top universities are now including Further Mathematics AS or A-level for their mathematics degrees.

In these degrees, the modules are designed with the assumption that students** are already familiar with the content of Further Maths**, allowing lecturers to teach the more advanced topics sooner.

Many universities will make lower offers to students who have an A-level or even AS-level in Further Maths. For example, an entry requirement of AAA including Maths may be reduced to AAB if the student completed an AS-level in Further Maths in addition to the three A grades in other subjects.

Always refer to the website of the university you’re interested in for up-to-date entry requirements.

## What careers can Further Maths lead to?

Much like the standard Maths A-level, an AS or A-level in Further Maths is a valuable qualification.

Maths is among the best subjects for developing several skills valued by many employers, such as analytical skills and problem-solving.

An A-level in Maths provides a solid foundation for careers in technology, science, engineering, finance, economics, medicine, agriculture, and countless other areas.

Having an AS or A-level in Further Maths in addition to a Maths A-level widens your career options and helps you stand out from other applicants.

## To finish

Any student with a sincere interest in maths as a subject should seriously consider taking Further Maths at AS-level or A-level.

Many schools deliver both AS only and the full A-level. This way, students are often advised to take Further Maths as an AS, to begin with. Then after the first year, they can decide whether they want to continue with Further Maths, complete the full A-level, or drop the subject and be happy with their AS qualification.

And who wouldn’t be happy with an AS in Further Maths? It’s a challenging subject but a highly rewarding one too.

For those looking to navigate their way through Education, Further and Higher Education, we have all the questions and resources for you. Be sure to check out our other helpful articles**.**