What is A-Level Maths?
In England, Wales & Northern Ireland, students can study for A-Level Maths between the ages of 16 and 19. A-Level is the term given to a General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced Level. A-Level Maths is spread across 2 years. Previously, students have been able to finish studying after one year and, provided they had done sufficiently well, walk away with an AS-Level (Advanced Subsidiary Level) in Maths. This is no longer an option. Across the 2 years, students will study a combination of Core (C), Decision (D), Mechanics (M) or Statistics (S) modules. Students must complete 6 modules in total: C1, C2, C3 and C4 – the 4 core modules, and two application modules from one of the following combinations: M1 and S1, S1 and D1, D1 and M1, M1 and M2, S1 and S2, or D1 and D2. Each module is worth 16.67% of the A-Level.
Edexcel Exam Dates
Click here to find the Edexcel final exam timetable for 2017: Edexcel Exam Timetable
Up until 2013, exams were available to be taken twice a year: in January and in May/June. January 2014 was the first January where examination was not available. All exams as of 2014 must be sat in the summer, meaning that there is no opportunity to resit an A2 (year 2) module without retaking a year.
Your school or college decides on your exam board, i.e. the awarding body that provides the school with the syllabus and corresponding exams. There are several examination boards in the UK that provide Math A-Level, the most popular of which is Edexcel. If you are a private candidate, i.e. you study on your own or with a tutor and not in a school, you must register yourself for the examinations and you will select a centre to take your exams at. Be careful not to miss any deadlines.
Grades & UMS Scores
The grade boundaries are different for all exams year to year. However, every exam has a total of 75 raw marks available and this raw mark will be converted into UMS (Uniform Mark Scale) points. The amount of UMS points allocated to each exam is determined by Edexcel and the weighting varies. Grades are determined by the number of UMS points achieved. In January 2013, the grade boundaries were as follows:
A: 80 UMS or above, B: 70-79 UMS, C: 60-60 UMS, D: 50-59 UMS, E: 40-49 UMS, U (ungraded): 39 UMS or below
Whilst practising past papers, you may use these percentage and raw mark as a rough guideline for your grade:
A: 80 % or above, B: 70-79 %, C: 60-60 %, D: 50-59 %, E: 40-49 %, U (ungraded): 39 % or below
A: 60 raw or above, B: 52-59 raw, C: 45-51 raw, D: 37-44 raw UMS, E: 30-36 raw , U (ungraded): 29 raw or below
In order to obtain a grade A overall, students must obtain an overall average of 80 UMS marks. It is possible for students to obtain an A*, students must achieve an overall average of 80 UMS marks for all modules, but an average of 90 for C3 and C4.
Students studying for A-Level Maths, will also have the option to take the second maths A-level: Further Maths. In order to achieve an A-Level in Further Maths students must complete a further 6 modules: FP1 and one of either FP2 or FP3, then a combination of 4 of the application modules not yet studied. A-Levels in Maths and Further Maths require the completion of 12 different modules.
Specification & Formula booklet
The specification (syllabus) for all AS and A-Level modules provided by Edexcel can be found here.
The Edexcel Formula booklet provided for the exams can be found here.
A-Level Maths Reform
The first teaching of the new Maths and Further Maths A-Levels will begin September 2017 for examination in Summer 2019: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/404004/2015-02-13-timeline-of-as-and-a-level-reforms.pdf