How hard is it to get an A* in A level maths?

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Are you a student wondering whether to pick A level maths or not? If you are, you might be wondering how difficult this subject is. Many of the top universities and employers require students to get an A* in maths. If you’re looking at applying to Oxford or Cambridge, this is something to be aware of. If you need an A* in each A level subject you take, read on to see how possible this is.

The individual student

There’s just no avoiding this one – the difficulty of a subject depends on the individual student. The most academic, hardworking students might find getting an A* in maths very possible. Maths might be your favourite subject and you might find yourself commonly coming top of the class. If this is the case for you, the road to getting an A* isn’t impossible. However, for the majority of students, this is not the case.

Being one of the hardest A levels, a lot of students would struggle to hit the highest grade in mathematics. Even students who try hard might only reach average grades depending on different factors. These factors can include how naturally talented you are at maths, learning environments, and the exam questions that come up. Indeed, some students are simply more academic than others. This gives these individuals a genetic advantage when it comes to tackling the exams. This makes them more likely to get an A* and find the subject easier than other students.

The specification

The maths specification at A level for any exam board can be very difficult. Often, students are shocked by the step-up in difficulty that they are introduced to from GCSE. Students can often carelessly pick their A levels, not knowing what they’re getting themselves into. Just because you get an A* (8 or 9) at GCSE doesn’t mean this will be likely at A level. Many students who receive the best grades at GCSE receive several grades lower at A level due to the complexity. You’ll be introduced to difficult mathematical concepts and theories which are often hard to understand.

Usually, an incredible amount of extra work and attending a A Level Maths revision course during half term could be what you need to be put in to get the highest grade. If you’ve got a gift for doing maths, you should understand the new concepts you’ll be introduced to. However, you’ll still have to be prepared to put in a lot of work. With a heavier workload than GCSE, there will be a lot more of the specification to memorise and practise at. Many students get overwhelmed by heavy workloads at A level. But if you manage your work correctly, this will increase your chance of getting an A*.

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Overall, for most students, it is extremely difficult to get an A* in A level maths. Usually only the cleverest and hardworking students are awarded this grade. A level maths is a big step up from GCSE and it requires a lot of attention. However, it is dependent on individual talent too, and it is by no means impossible.

If you, or your parents would like to find out more, please just get in touch via email at or call us on 0800 689 1272

If you, or your parents would like to find out more, please just get in touch via email at or call us on 0800 689 1272

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