You have heard about it.

About how hard it is to master it.

In case you're wondering, we're talking about A-Level Maths. 

While there are many stories of how A-Level Maths is more challenging as compared to your SPM Maths exam, it is not impossible to score well for this subject with the right guidance, studying methods and mindset.

In this article, we will be looking at an overview of this subject and how you can be a master of A-Level Maths.

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What Is The Overview Syllabus For Your Cambridge A-Level Maths Papers?

You will study the following Maths topics under the umbrella of Pure Mathematics, Mechanics as well as Probability & Statistics for your A-Level Maths studies.

Pure Mathematics

Paper 1

  • Topic 1 Quadratics
  • Topic 2 Functions
  • Topic 3 Coordinate geometry
  • Topic 4 Circular measure
  • Topic 5 Trigonometry
  • Topic 6 Series
  • Topic 7 Differentiation
  • Topic 8 Integration

Paper 2

  • Topic 1 Algebra
  • Topic 2 Logarithmic and exponential functions
  • Topic 3 Trigonometry
  • Topic 4 Differentiation
  • Topic 5 Integration
  • Topic 6 Numerical solution of equations

Paper 3

  • Topic 1 Algebra
  • Topic 2 Logarithmic and exponential functions
  • Topic 3 Trigonometry
  • Topic 4 Differentiation
  • Topic 5 Integration
  • Topic 6 Numerical solution of equations
  • Topic 7 Vectors
  • Topic 8 Differential equations
  • Topic 9 Complex numbers

Mechanics

Paper 4

  • Topic 1 Forces and equilibrium
  • Topic 2 Kinematics of motion in a straight line
  • Topic 3 Momentum
  • Topic 4 Newton’s laws of motion
  • Topic 5 Energy, work and power
a level maths exam
You have to choose to sit for 4 papers for your A-Level Maths exams.
Photo by Monstera

Probability and Statistics

Paper 5

  • Topic 1 Representation of data
  • Topic 2 Permutations and combinations
  • Topic 3 Probability
  • Topic 4 Discrete random variables
  • Topic 5 The normal distribution

Paper 6

  • Topic 1 The Poisson distribution
  • Topic 2 Linear combinations of random variables
  • Topic 3 Continuous random variables
  • Topic 4 Sampling and estimation
  • Topic 5 Hypothesis tests

Familiarizing yourself with these topics plays an important role to understand the overall format for your A-Level Maths papers.

Where Can You Get The Latest Updates And Information For Your A-Level Maths Papers?

As a Pre-University student, you'll be spending most of your time discovering and researching the latest information on your studied subjects.

Instead of solely depending on traditional and physical resources, here are three main online resources that you can browse through for informative and useful details as you prepare for your A-Level Maths papers.

a) Official Cambridge Assessment International Education Website

For students who are taking the Cambridge A-Level programme, you should start bookmarking this official website now to read up on the following provided information:

  • Overview syllabus (For A-Level Maths the code is 9709)
  • Past papers, examiners reports and specimen papers
  • Endorsed published resources (textbooks, handbooks and practice books)
  • Classroom support and training resources for teachers and students
  • Blogs and newsletters containing information on learning strategies and the latest news

b) Blogs By Former Students/ Current Tutors For A-Level Maths

Look out for students' and tutors' blogs to get various examination tips, past year paper collections, chapter notes as well as sample Maths exercises.  It offers you the best of both worlds, giving you a take on personal exam experience and also the professional side of solving various Maths questions.

There are many students and tutors who regularly update their workings for past year's papers and even share their personal experiences on how they have prepared for the exam. You'll never know how the information can help you. It could be in the form of book recommendations, studying methods or explanation videos that are uploaded by the bloggers.

Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field.-Brian Tracy

c) Social Media Channels (Joining Community)

If we're honest, we are pretty much staring at screens all day, every day. Statistics have shown that more than half of the world uses social media and the average daily spent time on social media is 2 hours and 27 minutes.

Instead of just swiping up and down various social media feeds, wouldn't it be better to find online groups of various A-Level Maths learning communities? You'll get to engage in constructive discussions and exchange A-Level Maths learning resources without geographical or time constraints.

study a level maths
You can find many Facebook groups that share details and discuss about A-Level Maths.
Photo by Kaboompics.com

Some of the groups that you can join on Facebook include:

  1. A Level Mathematics Questions & Answers (Public Group with 8.7k members)
  2. A-Level Maths (Private Group with 8.6k members)
  3. O and A level Maths (Public Group with 627 members)

Don't forget to explore the marking scheme for your A-Level Maths papers.

Ways To Score Well For Your A-Level Maths Papers

You'll be surprised how your perception and attitude towards your exams can change when you are well prepared with a grounded strategy. In fact, a good result in your exams is a result of many combined decisions, motivation, preparation and discipline.

Here are three important go-to tips to secure a good performance in your A-Level Maths papers.

a) Know your strengths and inclination (choose the right paper combination)

As mentioned in the earlier paragraph, there are altogether 6 paper options that you can take for your A-Level Maths subjects. You are required to choose 4 papers in which Pure Mathematics Paper 1, Pure Mathematics Paper 3 and Probability & Statistics Paper 5 are core compulsory papers to complete your A-Level.

This means you can either choose to take Mechanics Paper 4 as your 4th paper or take Probability & Statistics Paper 6 as your 4th paper.  For example, you feel more confident and you're more passionate about Business related Mathematics topics. Then, it is best for you to take the two Probability & Statistics Papers instead of the Mechanics paper which is more suited for students who plan to venture into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field for their future careers.

b) Start compiling your learning resources, especially past year's papers collection

Even before you go for your first lecture in university/ college, there is no harm to start collecting various past year papers resources, sample and specimen questions and start subscribing to Youtube tutorial videos for your A-Level Maths. That way, you can save plenty of preparation time when your exams and other assignments deadlines are approaching.

c) Get connected to an experienced Maths private tutor

There is one final tip that you can take as you prepare for your final lap for your A-Level Maths papers.

Hire a reliable private Maths tutor from Superprof for personalised guidance throughout the learning and revision process.

Superprof provides tutors and students with a bridging platform to have comprehensive academic tutoring not just for Mathematics but also for the following categories:

  • Adaptive education for special needs education
  • Architecture
  • Biological sciences
  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Engineering sciences
  • Humanities and social sciences
  • Medical sciences
  • Preparation for teaching examination
  • Tutoring and others

That being said, you can find a private Maths tutor that is experienced in teaching A-Level Maths with these simple steps.

  1. Head to the Superprof Malaysia homepage.
  2. Select "Maths" and your physical location (around me) or the online option in the search box.
  3. Adjust your maximum budget at the Rate button on the left side of the website.
  4. Start browsing the profiles of tutors who teach Pre-University Maths 
  5. Thoroughly read the tutors' biodata and basic information 
  6. Connect with the tutor via the subscription of your Student Pass to book for your first lesson. 
  7. Discuss and confirm the payment and lesson details online before starting your first lesson. 

Continue reading to find out how to decode your A-Level Maths papers.

How To Make Use Of A-Level Maths Sample Questions And Past Year Papers?

We have read earlier that practising with past year questions is a great strategy for your A-Level Maths revision.

Let's dive deep into the exact ways how to use this studying method to take your results to the next level.

a) Analyse the frequency of different topics asked 

As you are doing the past year questions and sample questions, you will be able to tell which topic is more frequently asked as compared to the rest. You would also know the types of questions (direct problem solving, finding and determining values, listing justification and reasons) that are closely associated with the topics that you have learnt.

For instance, quadratic equations, differentiation, trigonometric topics are often asked in questions that require students to find and determine specific values (x and y). On the other hand, mechanics topics that involved force, direction, and vector often appear in questions that require direct problem solving based on a given situation.

superprof a level maths
With consistent practice of past years ' papers, your confidence level will soar high.
Photo by Liza Summer

b) Increase confidence and competence with lots of practice

After the analysis of questions, it's then time to test whether you have truly mastered all the core topics that you have learnt. Normally, the result and the duration that you spent on your first trial as compared to your most recent trial will have a vast difference.

Through consistent practice, you will know what to expect for every paper in terms of the questioning style, asked topics and how to answer better and quicker within the given time frame.

Do take note that every paper has a different mark weightage and test duration. You can refer to the table below for the details.

Paper NameTotal MarkTest Duration
Pure Mathematics 175 marks 1 hour and 50 minutes
Pure Mathematics 250 marks 1 hour and 15 minutes
Pure Mathematics 375 marks 1 hour and 50 minutes
Mechanics50 marks 1 hour and 50 minutes
Probability & Statistics 150 marks 1 hour and 15 minutes
Probability & Statistics 250 marks 1 hour and 15 minutes

c) Master the actual grading scheme of the papers  

Marking schemes are usually referred to when you have to grade your exercises for past year papers. It can be done by your private Maths tutor or by yourself when you are revising on your own. It is very important to grade your paper to see where you really stand and to study where you normally go wrong or missed out on getting full marks.

When you have mastered the grading scheme, you will have a better structure when you plan your workings in terms of laying down your methods, calculation and the presentation of your final answers.

To start practising now, check out the past year paper collection for A-Level Maths here.

There you have it. An overview of the A-Level Maths papers and how you can excel in this subject with the right resources and tools.

It always seems impossible until it is done.- Nelson Mandela

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An avid reader and writer, Joycelyn loves the art of communication and is passionate about all kinds of media.