Mathematics, Core Maths (Level 3)


What Will I Study?

How Will I be Assessed?

What Next?

Why Study Mathematics, Core Maths (Level 3)?

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Level 3 Certificate

Examination Board



What Do I Need To Study This Course?

GCSE Mathematics grade 5 or above.

What Will I Study?

This qualification is a level 3 certificate and is equivalent to an AS Level.  It is designed to support post-16 learners with the mathematical and statistical needs of their further study of other subjects, as well as for employment and everyday life.  The needs of learners preparing for a variety of technical and professional roles are met through learning about mathematical modelling, costing, risk and the use of spreadsheets.  Financial problem solving is a part of the qualification; this is important for all learners, irrespective of their future ambitions.  This qualification gives learners the mathematical skills to tackle problems in a variety of authentic situations.  It enables learners to strengthen the mathematical knowledge and skills which they have learnt from the Mathematics GCSE (9-1) course so that they can apply them to the problems which they will encounter in further study, life and employment.

The use of technology – in particular, spreadsheets – is an integral part of the course.  Using mathematics creatively to address authentic problems, communicating, thinking clearly and evaluating quantitative statements are features of this qualification.  The ability to reason confidently using quantitative information and to check the accuracy of statements made by others is important for all future study and employment as well as for effective participation in everyday life.

The content is split between two components: Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning and Critical Maths. Within the Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning unit, learners are taught to use a modelling cycle, a statistical problem-solving cycle and a financial problem-solving cycle.  They are also taught to use spreadsheets to work on a variety of problems. Through the Critical Maths unit, learners work on a greater variety of problems – the emphasis is on them using and extending their understanding of mathematics, selecting appropriate ways of reasoning and developing a high level of fluency that will enable them to see the world around them through mathematical eyes.  By the end of the course, learners should be asking “what does that mean?” and “does that sound about right?” whenever they encounter a quantitative situation or statement. Some universities give lower grade offers to students obtaining a high grade (A/B) in Core Maths, which is the level that most students attain for the course.

Additional Information

  • Core Maths is a level 3 certificate equivalent to an AS Level.
  • Core Maths can only be taken as a 4th option
  • Core Maths can be taken in addition to A Level Mathematics (as they are very different courses).
  • Timetabling is 8 hours per fortnight until the exams in May.

Please note – if you are opting to study any of the following subjects: Applied Science, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, Information Technology, Physics or Psychology and not opting to study A Level Mathematics then we recommend taking Level 3 Core Maths as your 4th option (rather than EPQ or directed study) to support your other courses.

How Will I Be Assessed?

Internal Assessment

As part of the Year 11 to Year 12 transition the students will complete summer homework followed by a transition test in September and then a cross-topic test or a formal mock exam approximately every half term.

External Assessment

There is no coursework assessment and all exams are sat in May of Year 12.

  • Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning: 72 marks, 2 hour written paper, ½ of the qualification
  • Critical Maths: 60 marks, 2 hour written paper, ½ of the qualification
  • Pre-release material will be made available to study in advance of the examinations. It will be relevant to some (but not all) of the questions in an examination paper.

What Next?

The skills and understanding gained from this course will support students in any future course or job that requires the application of Mathematics or logical thought to solve problems generally, but especially those requiring Data analysis or Financial calculations.

Why Study Mathematics, Core Maths (Level 3)?