So you have decided to take up Mathematics for your A-Level studies, it's now time to look at the examination format of this subject.

Three things to take note of before we dive straight into the details.

Number 1, you have to take 4 papers throughout your studies (2 papers during AS level and 2 papers during A-Level).

Number 2, it is compulsory to take Pure Mathematics 1, Pure Mathematics 3, and Probability & Statistics 1 throughout your studies out of 5 paper options.

Number 3, the total marks of your AS Level assessment is 100%  (combination of two papers) while the total mark of your A-Level assessment is 50% (combination of two papers).

Continue reading to get more information about all the papers.

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What Are The Maths Papers That You Can Take Throughout Your A-Level Studies?

Pure Mathematics 1 [Paper 1]

  • Duration for the paper: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Total marks: 75 marks
  • Consists of 10 to 12 structured questions based on the Pure Mathematics 1 subject content
  • Written examination and externally assessed
  • Weightage is 60% of the AS Level and 30% of the A-Level
  • Compulsory paper for AS Level and A-Level (best taken during the first term) 

Pure Mathematics 2 [Paper 2]

  • Duration for the paper: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total marks: 50 marks
  • Comprises of 6 to 8 structured questions based on the Pure Mathematics 2 subject content
  • Written examination and externally assessed
  • Weightage is 40% of the AS Level and offered only as part of AS Level
  • Not recommended for students who intend to complete their A-Level

Pure Mathematics 3 [Paper 3]

  • Duration for the paper: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Total marks: 75 marks
  • Consists of 9 to 11 structured questions based on the Pure Mathematics 3 subject content
  • Written examination and externally assessed
  • Weightage is 30% of the A-Level,  taken only at the A-Level level 

Mechanics [ Paper 4]

  • Duration for the paper: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total marks: 50 marks
  • Comprises of 6 to 8 structured questions based on the Mechanics subject content
  • Written examination and externally assessed
  • Weightage is 40% of the AS Level; 20% of the A-Level
  • Paper is offered as part of AS Level or A-Level (Student can sit for the paper during 1st/2nd year)

Probability & Statistics 1 [ Paper 5]

  • Duration for the paper: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total marks: 50 marks
  • Consists of 6 to 8 structured questions based on the Probability & Statistics 1 subject content
  • Written examination and externally assessed
  • Weightage is 40% of the AS Level and 20% of the A-Level
  • Compulsory paper for A-Level 

Probability & Statistics 2 [ Paper 6]

  • Duration for the paper: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total marks: 50 marks
  • Comprises 6 to 8 structured questions based on the Probability & Statistics 2 subject content
  • Written examination and externally assessed
  • Weightage is 20% of the A-Level and only taken as part of A-Level

Find out more about the marking scheme for your A-Level Maths papers here.

Why Should You Take Mathematics For Your A-Level Studies?

Let's break down the reasons why you should choose Mathematics as one of your subjects during your A-Level.

a) Study a comprehensive and world-recognized Maths syllabus 

Firstly, your A-Level qualification is part of the Cambridge Assessment International Education and is widely recognized by the world's best universities and educational bodies.

All the subjects' syllabus are reviewed extensively and frequently to provide a strong platform for students to master the key concepts of the subjects to do well for their tertiary education and eventually, their careers.

Under the Cambridge A-Level studies, students will get to learn 38 Maths topics (depending on the paper combination) of AS (first term) & A Level Mathematics (second term) syllabus that revolved around the theme of Pure Mathematics, Mechanics as well as Probability and Statistics.

b) Enhance your competency in numerical skills 

Secondly, you get to equip yourself with the ability to analyse various Maths-related problems logically. By mastering the topics under the syllabus, your understanding of mathematical principles will be enhanced and help you directly apply them in the context of everyday situations.

Some of the learning outcomes of the A-Level Maths syllabus examples include:

  1. Coordinate geometry: Understand the relationship between a graph and its associated algebraic equation, and use the relationship between points of intersection of graphs and solutions of equations.
  2. Differentiation: Locate stationary points and determine their nature, and use information about stationary points in sketching graphs.
  3. Forces and equilibrium: Understand that a contact force between two surfaces can be represented by two components, the normal component and the frictional component.
  4. Continuous random variables: Use a probability density function to solve problems involving probabilities, and to calculate the mean and variance of a distribution.
study a level maths
Your A-Level Maths qualification will come in handy if you're planning to work in a Maths-related industry.
Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

c) You are considering a Maths-related undergraduate programme and future career

Thirdly and perhaps the most important point, it ties directly to your future career plans. For instance, if you are planning to take up any Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related courses, you have to make sure you take up Maths during your Pre-University level to be equipped for the next level.

Acing your A-Level Maths will serve as a great boost of confidence and a great testament to your competence when you're planning to venture into a Maths-dominated industry!

We will always have STEM with us. Some things will drop out of the public eye and go away, but there will always be science, engineering, and technology. And there will always, always be mathematics.
— Katherine Johnson, African-American mathematician

Don't forget to explore various tips to ace your A-Level Maths papers.

After reviewing the structure of your A-Level Maths paper, you might be wondering which 4 papers to choose from throughout your studies. The best way to decide is through your interest, ability and also your desired field of study for your degree.

For STEM-related degrees (focusing more on mechanics)

#Combination 1:  

  1. Pure Mathematics 1 + Mechanics for Year 1 AS Level
  2. Pure Mathematics 3 + Probability and Statistics 1 for Year 2 A-Level

#Combination 2:  

  1. Pure Mathematics 1  + Probability and Statistics 1  for Year 1 AS Level
  2. Pure Mathematics 3+ Mechanics for Year 2 A-Level

For Accounting and Finance, Economy, and Business-related degrees (focusing more on probability and statistics)

#Combination 3:

  1. Pure Mathematics 1  + Probability and Statistics 1 for Year 1 AS Level
  2. Pure Mathematics 3 + Probability and Statistics 2 for Year 2 A-Level
business a level maths
If you love to analyse and interpret data and figures, you should certainly take up Probability for your A-Level Maths paper.
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

How To Score Well For Your A-Level Mathematics Papers?

After reviewing the format of your A-Level Maths papers and deciding which combination suits you the most, let's gear up to have the best preparation for your actual exam. Here are 3 solid tips to help you ace this subject!

a) Get set on your exam revision resources

Your revision is only be made perfect with the right organization of your learning resources. Whether it is the PowerPoint notes that your lecturers have prepared or the reference books, past year collection papers that you have bought from the bookstores, it's time to do a thorough review from the beginning to the end.

Never skip through any topics and pay attention to the key pointers and examples that your lecturers give you in class. Also, don't miss out on any tutorial classes for extra exercises and actively engage in discussions to improve your comprehension.

As a university student, you should allocate an amount of money to invest in various sample questions resources. When it comes to reference books and past year questions, don't forget to analyse and study the marking scheme of the various questions for different papers. From there, you'll be able to take note of how to gain maximum marks for your workings and answers.

Don't forget to check out this article for more information on A-Level past year papers collection.

b) Join a Maths learning community to exchange ideas, information and tips

This is where you can make good use of your active social media presence. You'll be surprised that there are many passionate Maths learners or even teachers who set up online groups and communities on Facebook, Instagram and even Discord.

Everyone can help out each other and regularly share tutorial videos on question-solving methods, step by step instruction to answer questions, exam timetables and yes, even selling second-hand textbooks and reference books. 

c) Activate your training mode by learning from a private Maths tutor anywhere and anytime you want

We know that college and uni life is no joke. With a wide syllabus to cover and other subjects to prepare, at times it feels as if you are still not over your last Maths lecture when you are already supposed to conquer the last chapter. It is impossible to catch up seamlessly with your previous lecture if you have missed out on the basics and important core theories. If this persists, you will soon lose motivation and confidence when you are facing the rest of the chapters and exams.

Fret not, all is not lost. You can engage with a private Maths tutor via Superprof to help you in this journey!

At Superprof, you can master A-Level Maths effectively from experienced and reliable tutors from various teaching experiences, teaching qualifications and teaching methodology at an affordable price.

There are many Maths tutors who offer specialised lessons for students who require more direct guidance in different papers. For instance, if you want to be tutored in Mechanics topics or Probability and Statistics topics, you can specially request your tutor to arrange the lesson plan according to your pace and needs.

tutor a level maths
Having a Maths tutor during your A-Level studies can be uplifting and encouraging.
Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

You don't have to worry about being left behind or having not enough time to complete various sets of questions as compared to your regular lectures in uni. That being said, your tutoring experience will be more tailored made and effective because you can also get direct feedback to improve on your past mistakes.

We hope this overview of the A-Level Maths papers has been useful. All the best in your A-Level Maths studies!

The essence of math is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple.
— Stan Gudder, American mathematician

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