Is A-Level Further Maths Really Difficult?

Universities, employers and apprenticeship centres all love students who have studied A-level Further Maths before. The value and worthiness of taking A-level Further Maths are unquestionable, however, the major concern most students have is regarding the difficulty of the subject.

How hard is A-level Further Maths? A-level Further Maths is the most difficult A-level subject. Further Maths has significantly more content, more challenging exams, and more in-depth and complex content than both A-level maths and GCSE Further Maths

This table below compares the difficulty between the four qualifications: A-level Further Maths, A-level Maths, GCSE Further Maths, and GCSE Maths.

A-level Further MathsMost Difficult
A-level MathsMore Difficult
GCSE Further MathsLess Difficult
GCSE MathsLeast Difficult

A level Further Maths Vs GCSE Further Maths

A level Further Maths is the most difficult subject in A-level; similarly GCSE Further Maths is the most challenging subject in GCSE.

Both qualifications are taken by the most mathematically able students. GCSE Further Maths allows students to experience A-level Mathematics before they have formally started their A-levels. In fact, most of the first-year A-level Mathematics is similar to the content already studied at GCSE Further Maths.

When comparing the two further Maths Qualifications, GCSE Further Maths is significantly easier as most of the content is relatively pretty basic and there are fewer topics and modules. For Example in the AQA specification, GCSE Further Maths only has 6 topics compared to 16-21 topics in A-level Further Maths.

A remarkable amount of A-level Further Maths is based on independent study.

Students claim to have to study an extra 2-3 hours every day to do well in A-level Further Maths. The same students claim they barely studied an extra hour at GCSE Further Maths but managed to secure the top grade.

A-level Further Maths Difficulty

A-level Further Maths Vs A-level Maths

A level Further Maths is considerably more difficult than Regular Maths because of more challenging questions and more in-depth topics.

The number of topics and exams are quite similar in the two A-level subjects. A-level Further Maths has between 16-21 topics depending on which modules you take.

The compulsory module is pure mathematics. Pure mathematics focusses on the basic principles of mathematics without being concerned about the practical aspects. The pure part of mathematics comprises the questions asked in two of the three Further Mathematics Papers.

In the third paper of A level Further Mathematics, students can choose between the three applied modules: Statistics, Mechanics, or Discrete Math. You must do two of the three applied modules.

Statistics Module

The Statistics Module is based on manipulating, analysing, inferring, and organizing data. It this module you will apply mathematical models to data.

Topics in Statistics include Poisson distribution, discrete random variables, continuous random variables, inference, errors, and confidence intervals.

Mechanics Module

The mechanics module in Further Maths deals with the motions of objects. Mechanics itself is a branch of Physics. Mechanics can be divided into three subcategories namely statics, kinematics, and kinetics.

The major topics in Mechanics are Dimensional Analysis, Momentum and Collisions, Work, Energy, and Power, Circular Motion and Centre of Mass and Moments.

Discrete Maths Module

Discrete Mathematics is the study of objects that can assume separated, distinct values rather than continuous values like the other branches of mathematics. It is the module that is strongly linked with Computer Science.

The areas of study included in Discrete Maths are graphs, network, network flows, linear programming, critical path analysis, game theory, and Binary operations. You can see from the topics in Discrete Maths that they are strongly connected and similar to the concepts taught in Computer Science.

What is A level Further Maths Like?

A-level Further Maths is extremely difficult. Most students spend an extra 2-3 hours every day doing problem sets for Further Maths. Of all the students that take A-levels less than 2% take Further Maths; this demonstrates how difficult the subject is.

Students taking this subject are quite mathematically capable.

Students who get A* in GCSE Maths, usually get an A at A-level Maths. The same students often end up with a B/C at A-level Further Maths unless they seriously up their game. This can give you an indication of how much the average A* student struggles with Further Maths.

Often enough you will be sitting in your Further Maths classes wondering what in the world is going on. Concepts will often go over your head and this is exactly why you need to do an incredible amount of independent study otherwise you can easily flunk your A-level Further Maths exams.

The pace of the lessons is astonishingly quick. You are expected to know all the prior content of A-level Mathematics before. All the concepts of Further Maths are built on A-level Mathematics.

A single question can take up to 2 pages. A small error can seriously affect your entire question. Some examination boards have Further Maths exams that last 3 hours. Hence Further Maths is the most extreme A-level and will truly test you to your limits, should you dare to enrol for it.

How hard is A-level Further Maths

Is A level Further Maths Worth It?

Enough speaking about how difficult A-level Further Maths is. Let’s steer the conversation to its benefits.

A level Further Maths is definitely worth it. Further Maths adequately prepares students for Math courses in some of the most challenging subjects at university. Further Maths is the most sought after A-level subject by universities, including all the prestigious ones.

Further Maths helps students develop a strong grasp in mathematics. Many engineering/computer science courses at university require a very high level of mathematics. Hence Further Maths makes the transition to university so much easier.

You might not get a really good grade in Further Maths but it could help boost your grade in A-level Maths since it reinforces the basic A-level Math concepts.

If instead of going to university you decide to seek employment or practice at an apprenticeship centre; even there your Further Maths A-level Qualification will be in high demand. A top grade in Further Maths can make you eligible for many scholarships. The list keeps going on. In short A-level Further Maths can open several unimaginable doors for you.

Minimum Requirements To Study A-level Further Maths

If your college offers A-level Further Maths consider yourself extremely lucky.

Consider yourself even luckier if you have a 7 or greater at GCSE maths since that is the minimum requirement most colleges set to study A-level Further Maths.

The official requirement by your examination board is to have passed both A-level and GCSE Maths.

Most colleges ask for a 7 at GCSE mathematics to study A-level Further Maths and a 6 at GCSE to study A-level Maths. These guidelines make a lot of sense. Any lower than this and you will seriously struggle. The Maths at A level is no joke.

My personal recommendation to study A-level Further Maths would be an 8 at GCSE mathematics. Further Maths is a qualification that is far beyond any other A-level. It is such a challenging subject such that even students with a 9 at GCSE Maths are seriously struggling with the content, workload and Further Maths A-level Exams.