As you approach your CIE A-Level Mathematics exams, you’re bound to be feeling a little nervous if not overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content in them. The best way to curb this exam anxiety is to do something about it! Get going with revision today by taking stock of all the revision materials and making a structured plan and before you know it, you’ll be ready to go! To help you through this process here’s all you need to know about your CIE A-Level Mathematics exams and how we can be of help.
About the Board
Today, CIE is part of Cambridge Assessment, a department of the University of Cambridge. Their qualifications are recognised by all of the best universities and employers in the world. Each year, almost a million of learners from 10,000 schools in 160 countries take their CIE exams. The CIE board offers examinations in June and November, and for those in India also in March. The CIE A-Level Mathematics course is ‘modular’. This means that students sit exams throughout the two years of the course – for this reason, some take their exams in June and some in November.
How long will the course take to complete?
According to the CIE A-Level Mathematics syllabus, the AS Level Mathematics course is designed for 180 guided learning hours, meanwhile, the A-Level Mathematics course is designed for approximately 360 guided learning hours. However, these figures are intended only for guidance and as CIE states the number of hours taken to acquire a given qualification varies depending on local practices and the student’s previous experience.
Normally, the AS Level Mathematics course will take a year to complete. Meanwhile, the A-Level course will take two years. You have the option to choose AS or A-Level Mathematics. Be advised to consider your long-term plans, as many universities, jobs, and apprenticeships require you complete a minimum number of A-Levels.
Is any prior knowledge required?
According to the CIE board, it is recommended that students first complete a Cambridge IGCSE course in Mathematics (or the equivalent). However, while mathematical knowledge is key, it is not an issue if you took your (I)GCSEs with a different exam board.
What will I study?
As a very broad academic field, Mathematics covers a very wide array of topics, including not only core mathematics but mechanics, probability and statistics. If you take the AS Level Mathematics course, then you are only required to take Pure Mathematics 1 (P1). On top of that you get to choose between Pure Mathematics 2 (P2), Mechanics 1 (M1), Probability & Statistics 1 (S1). Meanwhile, if you take the A-Level Mathematics course, then you are required to take Pure Mathematics 1 (P1) and Pure Mathematics 3 (P3). On top of that you get to choose a combination of topics – either Mechanics 1 (M1) and Probability & Statistics 1 (S1), Mechanics 1 (M1) and Mechanics 2 (M2), or Probability & Statistics 1 (S1) and Probability & Statistics 2 (S2).
The Pure Mathematics 1 component covers quadratics, functions, coordinate geometry, circular measure, trigonometry, vectors, series, differentiation, and integration. Meanwhile, the Pure Mathematics 2 component covers algebra, logarithmic and exponential functions, trigonometry, differentiation, integration, and numerical solution of equations. The Pure Mathematics 3 components include algebra, logarithmic and exponential functions, trigonometry, differentiation, integration, numerical solution of equations, vectors, differential equations, and complex numbers.
The Mechanics 1 course covers forces and equilibrium, kinematics of motion in a straight line, Newton’s laws of motion, and energy, work, and power. Mechanics 2 moves onto motion of a projectile, the equilibrium of a rigid body, uniform motion in a circle, Hooke’s law, and linear motion under a variable force.
The Probability & Statistics (S1) component includes representation of data, permutations and combinations, probability, discrete random variables, and the normal distribution. Meanwhile, Probability & Statistics 2 (S2) covers the Poisson distribution, linear combinations of random variables, continuous random variables, sampling and estimation, and hypothesis tests.
What is the examination process like?
When taking your CIE AS and A Level Mathematics examinations you’ll have either 2 or 4 exams to complete depending on which option you selected.
If taking AS Level Mathematics, then you will first sit the Pure Mathematics 1 (P1) exam which lasts 1 hour and 45 minutes and accounts for 60% of the final grade. Next, you’ll also sit either a P2, M1 or S2 paper all of which last 1 hour and 15 minutes and account for 40% of the final grade.
Meanwhile, if you take A-Level Maths you will sit both the P1 and the P2 exams. Each lasts 1 hour and 45 minutes and each is worth 30% of the final grade. On top of the obligatory P1 and P2 papers, you will also take two more optional courses and therefore sit two more exams. These will be either M1 and M2, S1 and S2, or M1 and S1. Either way, your two electives will require you to sit an exam for each. That exam will last for 1 hour and 15 minutes and be worth 20% of your final grade.
Studying for your A-Level Maths exams is no easy task, but with the right approach, your revision can be not only effective but also fun. You’re generally recommended to spend about three to four hours a day revising for your maths exams. However, what you’re not recommended to do is spend all that time buried in a book. Instead, opt for some more interesting approaches like using flashcards to memorize your equations. You can also try your hand at quizzes and once you’re fully ready you can get going with past exam papers. When it comes to A-Level Maths, practice is the key to success. Ultimately maths is about learning to apply rules in different situations so the more time you apply a rule the more likely you are to have learnt and understood it. This is why we’ve compiled a great deal of study and practice materials for you to ace your CIE A-Level Mathematics Exams! Take a look for yourself and get started today!