Further Maths - a bridge too far

(36 Posts)
incogneetow Sat 29-Dec-12 17:00:54

ds1 is making A level choices. He's veering towards physics, chemistry, maths and further maths. (Predicted A* in all at GCSE.)

I'm dubious about the FM:
* I don't think he's passionate about Maths, in the way he is about physics and chem.
* One of his reasons is someone's told him M+FM is a lighter option than a 3rd science. I don't think this is correct.
* I did O Level Maths early and up to that point always found maths easy (as he does). But A Level was a bugger and I had to work very very hard.
* I think dropping biology will limit his options more (pharmacy, medical science, etc)

BeckAndCall Fri 04-Jan-13 13:45:44

If he wants to do physics at uni, or engineering, say, he would find himself disadvantaged if he didn't have FM - many unis have extra classes for people who have not done FM to catchup! (it sounds like he's aiming high for uni quality, so quite likely to be true- doesn't just apply to extra classes needed at oxbridge)

But beware of thinking tht FM is not a full timetabled subject choice in itself! Lots of work involved and it doesn't just build on regular Maths - the topics are different.

incogneetow Fri 04-Jan-13 13:51:32

Oh, I agree completely oldpeculiar.
I think the difficulty is - with NC and GCSE maths - how are children supposed to discover whether they have a passion for Maths?

MrsHoarder Fri 04-Jan-13 13:58:25

Additional maths GCSE? Of course it requires an enthusiastic teacher (seen it done as an afterschool option)

malinois Fri 04-Jan-13 14:09:21

FM is useful, but not necessary for Physics at university. At Imperial, we covered the entire FM syllabus in the first term of the physics degree so those who had not taken FM were not at too much of a disadvantage.

Having said that, Physics at undergraduate level is extremely mathematically intensive and if he struggles with FM he will have real difficulties with a Physics degree.

incogneetow Fri 04-Jan-13 14:10:49

The current (11-16) school have been quite rubbish in challenging/enriching/stretching more able students. He's been getting A* in practice papers for over a year, but the only thing they're given as a challenge is to aim for full marks in the actual GCSE hmm. Current teacher very uninspiring.

Hence the hesitation wrt FM or not.

MrsHoarder Fri 04-Jan-13 14:20:52

Malinois, I'd disagree that its not worth doing fm because of it being covered in the first term, next door in the maths dept we were taught fm content fast whilst learning a whole heap of other new stuff. Some of it being familiar was very helpful.

From the other end of having missed the boat on doing fm that may not rule physics out, but fm is more useful than biology.

do I know you? Which years were you there?

malinois Fri 04-Jan-13 15:55:12

@MrsHoarder: I didn't said it was not worth doing FM because it's covered in the first term. It's definitely worth doing!

malinois Fri 04-Jan-13 16:01:11

@MrsHoarder: not saying when I was there. There were few enough women in IC Phys at the time and I don't want to out myself smile

MrsHoarder Fri 04-Jan-13 16:25:10

Fair enough on both counts smile

The level 2 certificate in further maths with aqa is another good qualification to stretch in ks4. More accessible than the additional maths . There are good problems on nrich and asknrich forum has good advice and is well moderated.

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Mon 07-Jan-13 22:31:15

I did maths and physics (and English hmm ) A levels and went on to do a physics degree, partly because I found the physics easier than the maths. At university I was horrified at the amount of maths needed. Friends that had done further maths were at a huge advantage to me. They did cover the FM in maths for scientists in the first year, but I would have made a lot more progress if this had been a refresher of an 'A' level rather than a university style course that assumed I was fantastic at maths!

At least start the FM, I'd say. The jump from O level (let alone GCSE) to A level maths was a big one, I found, and I wasn't a natural mathematician, but if I had taken the FM course if not the exam, it would still have been helpful! blush

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