For both of our specifications the AS Level in Further Maths consists of 1/3 pure and 2/3 options to allow for the greatest breadth of study as preparation for A Level or for Higher Education. Those options include both pure and applied strands so that it is possible at AS Level in Specification A to study mostly pure (choosing Discrete Mathematics and Additional Pure) and in Specification B (MEI) to study up to 2/3 pure (choosing Numerical Methods).

For A Level Further Maths both specifications include the 50% Pure Core as required by the DfE. In both cases we have added in a simple treatment of the vector product because it is a vital tool for some of the techniques in the vectors part of the content, and because it is such an important concept across a wide range of disciplines in higher education. The remaining 50% is chosen from a range of options across both pure and applied maths. In Specification A it is possible to study mostly pure (choosing Discrete Mathematics and Additional Pure), while in Specification B (MEI) it is possible to study entirely pure (choosing Numerical Methods, Extra Pure and Further Pure with Technology).

For some higher education courses, the option to focus on Pure Maths at A Level may be more useful. One of the outcomes from our higher education survey was that lecturers would like further mathematicians to have studied more pure maths and of the more than 4 000 undergraduates across many disciplines who were surveyed, many felt that they would have benefited from studying more pure mathematics. Our pure maths optional papers have been designed to fill in the gaps between the new Pure Core and what our survey respondents said they wanted to have studied in Further Maths. These pure maths options also cater for the needs of students who wish to go into higher education to study subjects with a high mathematical content such as engineering, physics, economics or computer science.

You can find out more about this research via the Cambridge Assessment website at www.cambridgeassessment.org.uk/insights/the-mathematics-needs-of-higher-education.

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