Well done! You’ve made it through over a decade of compulsory education, and from now on it’s up to you to choose what you study. You’ve probably given some thought to your future career, and your choice of subjects is likely to be based upon what you intend to do after leaving school. Whatever your plan, an A-level (or equivalent) in maths will impress both prospective employers and university admission tutors. It shows you can think logically, accurately process information, and skilfully manipulate numbers.
If you really enjoy maths, you might also consider taking Further Maths at AS or A-level. You don’t need to study Further Maths to get a place to study mathematics at university but extra study is always an advantage, it gives you an excellent grounding in the subject and can also be fun! Some universities may require Further Maths so make sure you are aware of the entry qualifications when choosing a university and course. Even if your school or college doesn’t offer Further Maths, you may still be able to take it at A-level.
School leaving qualifications
There are several qualifications that you can take. GCSE and A-level are the most popular qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. While in Scotland Standard Grades, Higher and Advanced Higher Grades are available. As well as these more traditional academic routes there are equivalent vocational courses available, which focus on particular areas of work.
Thinking of going straight into employment?
Employers look for hard-working, self-motivated, and intelligent people to join their staff. Obtaining a maths A-level shows that you have what it takes. You may not use algebra or probability in your job every day, but the transferable skills of analysis, logic, and problem solving will always come in handy.
Thinking about university?
Some degree subjects like physics and engineering ask for a maths A-level as part of the entry requirements. Others such as medicine and architecture don’t make it a necessity, but they still have a decent amount of mathematical content. If you go in with a maths A-level, you’ll have a much easier time than those who don’t.
Thinking about a maths degree?
If you’ve decided to study maths at university, there’s great news: qualified mathematicians are always in demand.
The modern world needs mathematicians. Maths and science are required for the continued development of our increasingly technological lives. The UK’s knowledge economy needs more mathematical skills for the financial, communication, transportation sectors and areas like genome modelling etc. Without mathematicians, we’d be in trouble!
Thinking about teaching maths?
You might be close to finishing your secondary education, but there are thousands of 11-year-olds just starting each year. They need someone to teach them maths, and it could be you. After completing a maths degree you can go on to train as a teacher and government incentives mean that maths teachers are generally paid more than any of their colleagues.
Thinking about earning more?
It’s not just maths teachers that earn more – a maths degree is a great investment, whatever career you choose. On average, a graduate of any degree can expect to earn around £129,000 more in their lifetime compared to a person leaving education with two A-levels. For maths and computing graduates this figure rises to over £220,000!
With all of the opportunities a maths qualification can offer, you probably want to learn a bit more about where it can take you. The Maths Careers website is full of useful advice and fantastic career profiles, so have a look around to find out what maths can do for you.
The Open University’s Young Applicants in Schools and Colleges Scheme (YASS)
YASS gives able post-16 students the chance to study at a higher level without leaving friends and family behind. Study fits around school work and social lives, encourages independent learning and builds confidence.
Best course 4 me
A site that can help you choose the right course at the right university.
A well-established education programme whose aim is to encourage students interested in mathematics or science to consider technology-based careers. It provides an opportunity for those in Year 12/S5 to spend up to a week at university prior to making their UCAS application.
The mathscard® : the handy way to access maths formulae
Available in A-level format, the mathscard® is a compact ‘credit-card’ sized information sheet that folds out to reveal an incredible amount of maths formulae for both school and revision use (roughly A4 in size).
Maths Tutor Online
Choose from over 150 complimentary lessons covering every level, each with a video tutorial and test with automatic marking.
Careers World is an excellent website for careers advice and searching for the very best training and career opportunities within England, Scotland and Wales.
Relatively Prime: Stories from the Mathematical Domain
Relatively Prime is a series of eight shows all about the stories behind mathematics that Samuel Hansen dreamt up in an extreme bout of egotism and delusion of grandeur where he spent too long listening to Radio Lab, This American Life, and Snap Judgment and began to think, ‘Hey, I could do that’.
Nuffield Research Placements
Nuffield Research Placements (previously Nuffield Science Bursaries) provide over 1,000 students each year with the opportunity to work alongside professional scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.