What is Core Maths?

Core Maths is an exciting course that complements and supports your subject choices as well providing increased employability skills. It allows you to continue to study some aspects of Mathematics at Level 3 without having to commit completely to an entire A Level.  It counts as the same number of UCAS points as an AS Level and is widely accepted by universities and future employers.

The focus is on applied mathematics and topics include:

  • Financial Mathematics
  • Modelling
  • Probabilities
  • Collecting and Analysing Data
  • Finding Patterns in Data

An example question might be 'Work out the income tax, national insurance and student loan repayments for someone earning £52,000'.

You will have three Core Maths lessons per week during your first year of College. There are two external examinations in the summer, both 90 minutes long. Preliminary material will be released in March where real-life examples of data and information will be given to you and these are then used as the basis of questions in the examination.

Who should do Core Maths?

Core Maths is compulsory for students studying one of the following A Level subjects without A Level Mathematics:

  • Accounting
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Science
  • Geology
  • Psychology

There are a number of other courses where Core Maths is also recommended and this will be discussed with you.

How will studying Core Maths benefit me?

A number of universities around the country (e.g. University of Bath, University of Sheffield, University of York etc) have recognised the value of the Core Maths qualification with alternative offers made for those looking to study a range of courses including Geography, Biology, Politics and Economics. An alternative offer means that if you achieved a high grade (B or above) in Core Maths, your conditional offer will be slightly lower, for example, where the typical A level offer is AAA, the alternative offer would be AAB.

Heather Macleod Jones, Senior Admissions Officer (Access) at the University of Sheffield, explained the reasoning behind the changes:

“A number of staff from across the University attended sessions on Core Maths and all came back singing the benefits of the qualification, which prompted us to look at the progress of students with the qualification on our courses. We genuinely feel this higher level and more recent maths study has been beneficial to students, specifically within our Faculty of Social Sciences where many courses have only a GCSE Maths requirement but do contain a significant proportion of applied quantitative problem solving and statistics within the core module content.”

The University of York also provides positive encouragement for level 3 Core Maths and said:

“We welcome the introduction of the Core Maths qualifications and recognise the benefits that they bring, not only to university study, but also to future employment. In acknowledgement of this, some of our departments will make a reduced offer where a Core Maths qualification is taken alongside three A levels or equivalent. If you achieve B or higher in Core Maths, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.”

You might also find this article of interest: https://www.stem.org.uk/news-and-views/opinions/core-maths-most-significant-development-post-16-mathematics-education

Recommended Course Combinations if not studying A-Level Mathematics