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Mathematical Studies (Previously Core Maths)

What is this subject about and where can it take me? 

Maths is for everyone. It is diverse, engaging and essential in equipping students with the right skills to reach their future destination, whatever that may be.

Level 3 Certificate Mathematical Studies is a new course which provides an opportunity for students who enjoyed GCSE Mathematics yet do not wish to progress to the full A Level course. Mathematical Studies sits very well alongside students’ three full A levels, as a fourth level 3 qualification spread across two years of study. 

Mathematical Studies allows students to develop their numeracy, statistical and problem-solving techniques in a practical way. It is about solving meaningful mathematical problems to increase confidence in using Mathematics and to be better equipped for the mathematical demands of other courses, higher education, employment and life.

This qualification will consolidate students' mathematical understanding, build their confidence and competence in applying mathematical techniques to solve a range of problems and introduce them to new techniques and concepts that will prepare them for further study and future employment within a broad range of academic, professional and technical fields. 

Many non-maths courses taken in Years 12 and 13 include mathematical content. Assessment of mathematical skills is included in a third of all non-maths A. For example, 10% of the marks across the A level Psychology question papers assess mathematical skills at Higher Tier GCSE level. Similarly, many level 3 vocational courses, such Engineering and Applied Science, have considerable mathematical content. It is, therefore, likely that students who study maths alongside these subjects will achieve better results in them.

 What skills will I develop?

The qualification is designed to prepare students for the mathematical demands of work, study and life. Topics covered will include: 

  •  Mathematical Concepts: Problem Solving, Analysis of Data, Mathematics for Personal Finance and Estimation.
  •  Statistical Techniques: Normal Distribution, Probability and Correlation.
  •  Use of ICT and Excel.

Mathematical Studies aims to prepare students for the mathematical demands of higher education and work where there is a distinct mathematical or statistical element, but where the mathematical demands do not stretch to a requirement for A-level mathematics. It will help with other A level subjects in which these skills can be applied; in particular with Science, Geography, Business Studies, Psychology, Economics as well as technical and vocational qualifications.

How will I be taught?

Mathematical Studies will be taught across two years. It includes the use of ICT and will also require some private study. Students will need to recall key techniques from GCSE Mathematics and will require organisation and commitment from the beginning. This qualification is designed to be taken over two years and is linear. Linear means that students will sit all the exams at the end of their course.

What will I be taught?

Subject content:

  •  Compulsory content
  •  Analysis of data
  •  Maths for personal finance
  •  Estimation
  •  Critical analysis of given data and models  
  • Optional content
  •  The normal distribution
  •  Probabilities and estimation
  •  Correlation and regression
  •  Critical path and risk analysis o Expectation
  •  Cost benefit analysis
  •  Graphical methods Rates of change
  •  Exponential functions

It is assumed that students will already have confidence and competence in the content presented in GCSE mathematics. Subject content that will be used throughout the course is listed below:

  • Knowledge and use of the formula y=mx+c . It is also expected that students will be able to find the gradient of a straight line connecting two different points.
  •  It is expected that spreadsheets and tables will be used throughout the teaching of this Level 3 Certificate Mathematical Studies specification. Spreadsheet formulae will include:
  • “=A1+A2+A3” to sum values in cells
  •  “=2*B3” to multiply a value in a given cell
  •  “=SUM(A1:A10)”
  •  Knowledge and use of the formulae for the circumference and the area of circle.
  •  Knowledge and use of the formulae for the perimeter of 2D shapes, their areas and for calculating fractional areas of circles and composite shapes.
  •  Knowledge and use of the mathematical content of analysis of data and maths for personal finance elements.
  •  The ability to calculate surface areas of spheres, cones, pyramids and composite solids, including the application of the concepts of similarity including lengths in similar figures and Pythagoras’ theorem applied to 2D and 3D figures.  

Students will make use of elements of the content from paper 1 when addressing problems within each paper 2. 

Entrance requirement

7 GCSEs at grade 4 or above including Grade 4 or above in GCSE Mathematics

“The real life mathematics skills students learn in the Core Mathematics qualification will benefit not only their future employers but give students and apprentices confidence to tackle and solve problems in their everyday lives too.” Apprentices4England

Course structure 

Mathematical Studies Exam Board: AQA
Assessment Unit Topics Studies Duration Percentage of final qualification



Analysis of Data, Personal Finance, Estimation


90 minutes




2 Statistical Techniques: or Critical Path and Risk Analysis: or Graphical Techniques 90 minutes 50%
The Level 3 Certificate qualification will be graded on a five-point scale: A, B, C, D and E.