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Summary of changes

This guide outlines the main changes to our AS and A-level Maths qualifications, for first teaching from September 2017.

Overview of changes

The main changes to our new AS and A-levels in Maths are:

  • the qualifications will now be linear, meaning that all the exams are sat in the same series
  • AS Maths will no longer count towards A-level Maths – they can be co-taught but they are assessed separately
  • the applied content (statistics and mechanics) is all now compulsory. The applied content contains a sample of topics from the legacy MM1B, MM2B MS1B and MS2B topics, along with some additional material for statistics
  • there will be no optional content; all students sit the same exams covering the same content
  • there is no longer any decision maths content in AS or A-level Maths.

Subject content

The AS and A-level Maths subject content is 100% defined by the Department for Education (DfE).

The content is the same for all exam boards offering Maths AS and A-levels for exams in June 2018 and onwards.

Below is a broad summary of how the new content differs from that of the legacy specification. Please see the AS and A-level specifications for full details.

Changes to pure maths content

What’s new What’s gone What’s moved from A-level to AS What’s moved from AS to A-level
  • A greater overarching emphasis on modelling and problem solving (AS and A-level).
  • Specific methods of proof eg disproof by counter example (AS and A-level) and proof by contradiction, including irrationality of and the infinity of primes (A-level only).
  • Use of functions, parametric equations, sequences and series in modelling (A-level only).
  • Use of logarithmic graphs for estimating parameters in exponential relationships (AS and A-level).
  • Trigonometric exact values, small angle approximations, trigonometric functions, geometric proofs of formulae (A-level only).
  • Gradient functions of a curve (AS and A-level).
  • Differentiation from first principles for polynomials (AS and A-level), sin and cos (A-level only).
  • Connected rates of change (A-level only).
  • Integration as the limit of a sum (A-level only).
  • Use of second derivatives for determining convexity, concavity and points of inflection (A-level only).
  • The Newton-Raphson method (A-level only).
  • Remainder Theorem.
  • Volumes of revolution.
  • Mid-ordinate and Simpson’s rule.
  • Vector equations of lines.
  • Scalar product (of vectors).

Use of exponential and logarithmic models using base e.

  • Sequences given by a formula for the n th term; increasing, decreasing and periodic sequences; sigma notation; arithmetic sequences and series; geometric sequences and series.
  • Radian measure, arc length, area of sector, area between two curves.
  • Trapezium rule.

Changes to applied content


What’s new What’s gone What’s moved from A-level to AS What’s moved from AS to A-level

Derivation of formulae for constant acceleration for motion in a straight line (AS and A-level).

  • Use of vectors in two dimensions, magnitude and direction of a vector, position vectors, vector addition and multiplication by scalars.
  • Use of calculus in kinematics for motion in a straight line.
  • Derivation of formulae for constant acceleration for motion in two dimensions (using vectors).
  • Resolution of forces using Newton’s second law.
  • Forces and dynamics for motion in a plane.
  • Use of the model.


What's new What's gone What’s moved from A-level to AS What’s moved from AS to A-level
  • Selection and critique of sampling methods and data presentation techniques (AS and A-level).
  • Greater emphasis on making connections when calculating probability (AS and A-level).
  • Correlation coefficients (A-level only).
  • Statistical hypothesis testing (AS and A-level).
  Application of the language of statistical hypothesis testing.
  • Conditional probability.
  • Normal and binomial distribution models.

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