A level maths is generally consideredone of the hardest A levels in the UK. Alongside its sister subject, Further Maths, Maths is frequently cited as the most difficult and complicated A level.
But just because it's hard, it doesn't mean it's impossible to get a good grade, or even an A or A*. In this guide, we're going to go over some tried-and-tested study tips to help you get the best grade possible.
So, how to ace A-level maths? Let's take a look.
How to do well in maths A level: tips to get the top grade
Start revising early -When it comes to studying for your A levels - especially a subject as complicated as Maths - the earlier you begin revising, the easier it's going to be to stay on top of your workload.
You're probably taking up to 2-3 other A levels simultaneously, so it's important to not let your homework or coursework pile up. Maths is a complicated subject, with lots of modules that will overlap. Cramming the night before isn't going to bag you that A - and might not even get you a pass.
Take detailed notes- Your classroom hours are going to be incredibly important when it comes to revising for your A level maths exam. Your classroom hours are there to help you understand topic areas, ask questions and get feedback on your work. One of the most important things to do during classroom hours is take detailed notes. Don't take rushed, poorly-written notes and hope that you'll remember the context when revising. Take legible, clear notes that will help you when the time comes to start revising for your exam.
If you get stuck - ask!A level maths is NOT supposed to be easy, so you shouldn't ever feel stupid for asking questions. Your teachers are there to help you understand the complex topics and modules of A level maths, and they'll always be happy and willing to give you a hand with any concepts that you find difficult.
When it comes to Maths, it's incredibly important to ask for help when you get stuck on a particular module or topic.Why? It's simple - Maths is an interconnecting subject.
This means that to understand certain modules or topics, you'll need to already thoroughly understand previous concepts. If you get stuck on one subject and simply give up and move onto the next, you're going to potentially develop gaps in your knowledge. This can prevent you from fully understanding new concepts and can make revising difficult.
To avoid this, ask as many questions as you need to in order to fully understand your coursework.
Don't feel silly when asking questions - you'll feel much sillier if you spend 2 years studying for an exam and don't make your intended grade. If you don't want to ask a teacher, you can always lean on your classmates for extra help understanding tricky concepts.
Hire a tutor
Aside from asking your teachers or classmates for help, you can also enlist the help of ana level maths tutor. Hiring a maths tutor is a great way to deepen your knowledge of particular modules and topics, while getting one-to-one feedback on your work.
Having a maths tutor is also a great way to ask lots of questions without feeling embarrassed or shy in front of your peers. A tutor is there to answer all the questions you have and talk you through any difficult concepts. If you struggle to speak up in class, make use of a Maths tutor and use their expertise to ensure you fully understand every concept in the course.
Do past papers
Practice makes perfect, and practice papers makes an A grade.One of the most important things you should be doing when revising for A level maths is to take past papers. Here are just a few reasons why past papers are important:
- Familiarise yourself with the exam structure.Like most A level exams, your maths exam is going to be broken up into sections. Completing past papers is a great way to familiarise yourself with the structure of the exam paper, while also helping you understand which sections are the most difficult or time-consuming.
- You'll understand what to expect.Thinking about your A level maths exam can be daunting - what if your least favourite topic comes up? This is where past papers come in handy - you can practice your knowledge and skills using real-life examples of past exams. If you do enough past papers during your revision stage, you're much less likely to be taken by surprise by an unpleasant question.
- Develop your knowledge.When you complete lots of past papers, you're not just testing your abilities when it comes to time-keeping. You're also developing your knowledge on lots of different topics and subjects within the course, and this knowledge will serve you when it comes to the real exam.
- Find your weak points.It can be discouraging to mark a finished past paper and discover that you're not yet achieving the result that you want - but this can be a good thing! Making mistakes when doing past papers allows you to identify your weak points and focus on them during your revision. It's also a good metric when it comes to your identifying your strong points, meaning you won't waste valuable time revising topics that you already fully understand.
How to ace a level maths: passing the exam
Studying and revising is just one part of the journey to that elusive A-grade in A level Maths. The final - and most difficult part - is the final exam. While it can be stressful, you can minimise worry and maximise your chances of a top grade with the following tips:
Get a full night's sleep.Your brain needs rest to function correctly. Under no circumstances should you stay up revising until the early hours of the morning. It's counterproductive.
Read the full exam paper before beginning.Once the examiner starts the clock, it's a good idea to flick through the full exam paper before you start writing. This will allow you to understand what you're going to have to do, and can put some of your anxiety and worry at ease.
Don't get stuck on one problem.One of the worst things you can do during an exam is remain stuck on an impossible problem or question. The more you look at it, the more likely it's not going to make sense! If you're having difficulty with one section or topic, we recommend moving onto the next question.
Moving onto the next question will allow you to minimise anxiety and minimise time wasted - don't forget that during the final exam, every minute counts! Plus, you don't need 100% to get an A-grade in A level maths. It's best to come back to difficult questions, rather than waste half the exam time tearing your hair out.
Getting an A in A level maths isn't impossible. All you need is the willingness to put the work in, some expert help from teachers or a tutor, and a block of past papers thicker than the last Harry Potter book. With hard work and determination, you're sure to achieve your desired grade.
This post was updated on 01 Aug, 2023.