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Is taking further maths a good use of time?

(28 Posts)
JugglingMummyof2 Tue 28-Nov-17 21:33:10

DD1 is in Yr 11 and currently doing further maths. The class is taught at lunch time and lasts 45 minutes. They have a new history teacher this year who is, reading between the lines, a bit shocked by how little was covered in Yr 10. She is a very engaged teacher who is doing everything to help them catch up - including running an extra class on the same lunch time that DD has further maths. This class is compulsory for some students but not DD but everyone is encouraged to attend. DD will not be doing a maths A level (will be doing Biology, Chemistry and Geography if that helps ). She wants advice - she seems to think that having further maths will give her more UCAS points? She also wonders if it would look good on Uni applications or whether she would be better focusing on getting the best grade possible in History? I honestly have no idea so would appreciate any insight anyone could provide. Thank you.

Imfinehowareyou Tue 28-Nov-17 21:39:04

Has she mentioned the clash to the history teacher? It might be possible for the history teacher to switch days. Worth an ask?

JugglingMummyof2 Tue 28-Nov-17 21:43:22

Thank you for responding. She has mentioned it but it is the only lunch time that works for the majority of the class (and I would suspect the teacher).

LIZS Tue 28-Nov-17 21:46:23

How many is she sitting this year, has she already taken Maths? I would have thought getting a better grade in history is more worthwhile than getting ok-ish FM and risking history. Dd sat FM last year but took Maths in y10 then Add Maths in y11, and thinks it would be difficult to cover the FM syllabus in one session a week.

LIZS Tue 28-Nov-17 21:48:11

And more unis offer on basis of predicted A level grades than UCAS points.

noblegiraffe Tue 28-Nov-17 21:51:36

If it's Further Maths GCSE it won't give her any UCAS points, if it's Additional Maths then it will, but I'd have thought 1 lunchtime lesson per week wouldn't be enough to do it justice.

The main purpose of Further Maths is to bridge the gap to A-level so if she's not taking Maths A-level (why not if she's that good at it?!) she can safely drop it. The school is unlikely to mind (thought the maths teacher might) as it doesn't count for any progress 8 buckets where history does.

JugglingMummyof2 Tue 28-Nov-17 21:54:36

She is doing them all this year as her school do not enter early - so ten of these lovely new GCSEs. Mocks are starting in ten days so the pressure levels are increasing. Interesting about struggling to cover the syllabus in one weekly session, I wonder if the plan is to step up the number as the year goes on. I feel really out of my depth at the moment.

JugglingMummyof2 Tue 28-Nov-17 22:04:13

Oh noblegiraffe - you are such an asset to us all. Thank you.
The school call it further maths - it is FSMQ.
Th answer an earlier question, the reason she is not doing maths for A level is she needs Biology and Chemistry for her career choice and she loves Geography. She is an able mathematician rather than an inspired one so while she is predicted a level 8 ( and who knows...) she is not level 9 material.
Thank you so much everyone.

noblegiraffe Tue 28-Nov-17 22:22:51

Ah yes, the FSMQ comes with UCAS points, but I don't think that should really be a worry for a bright A-level student.
Core Maths AS would go really well with her subject choices, has she seen it mentioned? It's for students doing sciences and social sciences to keep their maths ticking over and to help prep for uni. Even if it's not offered now, the government has just announced a financial incentive for schools to get students to take it so it might be added to the table at some point.

JugglingMummyof2 Tue 28-Nov-17 22:31:31

It has not been mentioned yet but I will encourage her to look out for it.
DD has some fairly lofty ambitions and as I was educated in a simpler system, I am new to the UCAS process and do not want her to disadvantage herself through making the wrong choices. She is an unusual species of teenager, asking for advice from her parents and following it so I am feeling the pressure....
'Other' parents seem so knowledgeable (I didn't know about the extra points for higher grades of musical instruments for example until I was told by another parent). It is a minefield.

senua Tue 28-Nov-17 23:45:46

There are different sorts of Universities. The more prestigious ones will ask for something like 3 A Levels and specify the grades they require eg (made-up example) AAB with an A in Chemistry. The next in the rankings tend to ask for UCAS points (not grades), which are mostly from A Levels but can be picked up from things like FMSQ, music grades, etc.
So if your DD (grade 8 material) is aiming high then she should get good, solid A Level grades and, to a lesser extent, GCSEs. Don't get distracted by collecting UCAS points as if you were filling a stamp album.
You want quality, not quantity.

BringOnTheScience Wed 29-Nov-17 00:19:05

My DC1 did the FSMQ. It's not the same as Further Maths. There are a few UCAS points. It helps ease the transition to A level or Higher IB maths. It can mark you out as one of the 'brighter' ones if you get a good grade. DC1 got a low grade though and is probably going to just quietly omit to mention it!

One small thing... the exam comes v late compared to the main GCSEs. 26th June last year IIRC. Friends were partying or shooting off on holiday, but the FSMQ students were still hanging on.

noblegiraffe Wed 29-Nov-17 00:26:27

Word of warning: any crap grade, even a U needs to be declared on UCAS forms.

BringOnTheScience Wed 29-Nov-17 00:40:46

Really Noble? DC1 won't like that. It's an E!

Doesn't have to go on a CV though ;-)

user2019697 Wed 29-Nov-17 08:28:27

At least some graduate employers ask for all grades to be declared.

karriecreamer Wed 29-Nov-17 09:23:39

What is the predicted GCSE grade for normal Maths? My son is doing further maths, but it's instead of normal GCSE maths - it's the top set who finished their GCSE course in Summer, so they're now spending the lessons doing Further Maths instead. He tells me it's really helping him understand a few of the GCSE topics he didn't really "get" the first time around. He's just done a mock GCSE paper and got a really good result and full marks on some of the harder questions he used to struggle with now that they've taken those same topics to a higher level as he now understands the concepts better. So, long story short, I think even lunchtime sessions doing FM may well be helpful to consolidate knowledge/practice for the more complicated areas of the normal GCSE. It may well mean a higher grade in "normal" GCSE Maths.

Astronotus Wed 29-Nov-17 11:06:56

Karriecreamer - I totally agree with you. My DC found Fur Maths classes enhanced their understanding of the "normal" maths paper and their grade.

JugglingMummyof2 - would your child consider continuing to study Fur Maths in her own time if she switches to History in the lunchtime slot? I'm sure her teacher could recommend guides. One of my other DC did this and scored highly in normal and Fur Maths.

noblegiraffe Wed 29-Nov-17 11:31:23

What also helps with understanding and improving maths GCSE results is spending time studying maths GCSE. There is plenty of stuff on the FSMQ which doesn’t overlap with GCSE and self-studying a more difficult maths qualification with no lessons is quite an ask for someone who is not a totally confident mathematician.

karriecreamer Wed 29-Nov-17 11:55:45

What also helps with understanding and improving maths GCSE results is spending time studying maths GCSE.

Yes, but sometimes, doing the same thing over and over doesn't actually help. Wasn't it Einstein who said it's lunacy to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results? Looking at it in a different way, such as working at a higher level, or on a linked topic, suddenly makes it fall into place. I know my son spent literally hours on some topics last year and couldn't do them, but now he understands a few topics and is more confident with them. Having that confidence and seeing he could actually do it, has now given him momentum to work on the other things he struggles with.

Astronotus Wed 29-Nov-17 12:06:39

Thanks noble - my DC is a genius then! Scored A*, twice.

pipilangstrumpf Wed 29-Nov-17 13:41:20

At our school about a quarter of GCSE students in yr 11 are also studying for the FSMQ (Add Maths) which seems to be incorporated into the Maths lessons. I'm not sure if they all end up taking both exams, but perhaps your dd could continue with the lessons and decide next Spring whether she wants to take the FSMQ as well as Maths?

noblegiraffe Wed 29-Nov-17 14:35:27

karrie the thing is that your DS is being taught those harder topics in proper regular maths lessons, not squeezed into a lunchtime a week, and if the OP's DD decides to keep up with the further maths, she is sacrificing her history grade where she really does need extra support.

The new GCSE is also much more difficult than the old GCSE - there is plenty of scope for doing extra work and different topics within the current GCSE to improve your grade - you only needed 65% in June to get an 8 and 79% to get a 9 compared to 85% to get an A* the year before.

JugglingMummyof2 Wed 29-Nov-17 19:27:28

Thanks everyone - lots of different opinions and lots to think about over the week-end. I will let you know what she decides and if anyone has anything else to add please do.

DivisionBelle Wed 29-Nov-17 20:27:02

Presumably a higher History grade brings more UCAS points, too?

If your Dd is very sure she doesn’t want to do A level Maths I wouldn’t be encouraging her to fit it in on a lunchtime at the expense of a good History grade.

Mine did AQA Further Maths GCSE, (I think it counts as half a GCSE? Not really sure, no idea if it has UCAS points?) but the top sets did it in the regular maths class alongside GCSE Maths.

If she is doing triple science the third exam for each subject was in the last week so avoiding further maths won’t necessarily get it all over a week early!

Dc has said that the Further Maths has made the transition to A level much much easier.

DivisionBelle Wed 29-Nov-17 20:27:41

Transition to Maths A level, that is, not A levels in general.

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