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Mr_Nick

Member Since 02 Aug 2012
Offline Last Active Oct 29 2013 01:44 PM
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#4968131 A-Level Mathematics: Looking for a Distance Learning Provider

Posted by Mr_Nick on 10 August 2012 - 10:37 AM

Yeah thats basically what I meant. I know what its like being rusty but you'll soon be fluent in it. As I said, look at the Edxcel (or other body) specs as they briefly summarise the subjects covered so you can choose what modules you'd like to study, as well as what modules are compulsory.

I just saw on the Edxcel website they have an 'ask the expert' service now. Also they may have distance/evening learning courses for the maths. Cambridge learning mite also be worth a look. The titles of the books Edxcel specifies are the same as the module names so you can't go wrong.

It's difficult for info to actually stick if you just work through summary booklets. You're own notes will be more useful to you, and the act of writing stuff down in itself really helps stuff stick.
If I remember, the pure/core modules cover a lot on calculus; especially for calculating areas, volumes (& a zillion other things). If you like maths, its really interesting.
The decision maths modules are probably the most straight forward to learn. Everything is explained in an algorithmic way. So thats more about memorising stuff. I did 1 year of a maths/physics/comp science degree, and it was stuff related to the decision maths that came up in comp science, so yeah it would certainly help improve programming.
I dont think the mechanics modules introduce vectors until module 3. Before that its more distance & angle.

At least with self taught, you can pick and choose what modules to do exams in Jan & May, as well as spread the A-level out if need be. Its much easier to revise if you do say 2 exams in Jan, and 4 in May.
You can book exams through a company called 'Pearson VUE'. They have places all over the UK. When I did, I basically had a whole room to myself (apart from once when there was a hot girl :))

@BenS1, the only place Ive seen you can do further maths is if you went to a 6th form college. Otherwise you'll have to go down the self-taught route (which only requires slightly more self-organisation than distance learning). Also if you're interested, you can do 3 A-levels in maths; maths, further maths, further maths additional. Is it possible you could do a 1-year foundation (distance) degree?


#4967273 A-Level Mathematics: Looking for a Distance Learning Provider

Posted by Mr_Nick on 08 August 2012 - 12:29 AM

Sorry for late reply
I got A's in both cases :)
89% for distance learnng and 88% self taught (not statistically significant!)
I actually got a B at GCSE that i'd done 4 & 5 years earlier.

It really depends on your strongest learning style. After a while with the distance learning I
found I very rarely needed help hence the reason I dropped it.
Are you working full-time/part-time/unemployed? If you don't have much time it might be best
to get a tutor. I was only p/t so getting stuck wasn't much of a prob. Of course you could
make use of forums like this if you get stuck.

What level are you at now? Have you done any graphics/physics programming? If some of the
pure/core modules and mechanics modules will be a doddle.

There might be better distance learners than the NEC so I can't help you with which to choose.
If you go self taught youll have near complete control over which modules you choose. Either
way you'll spend most of your time learning from the text.
'Fraid I threw out my stuff when I went to uni but I was sent the texts, a couple of work
books to summarise things and practice stuff, and coursework sheets.
However, when I did further maths, the Edexcel website provides summary formula's etc and
practice/past papers (invaluable - cant state that enough). In both cases, it was the practice
papers that I found to be the best gauge of my progress. Also the specs tell you specifaclly
what you need to know for the exam.

If you just want to try things out self-taught, do this:
Go to an exam board website (Edxcel, AQA etc). Get the module specs for A-level maths.
Pick 1 or 2 modules that are part of A-level maths (unless things have changed they're called
the 'core' modules).
Buy the required texts (usually 1 book for each module)
Work through the books.
Do past/practice papers after.
If you'll feeling confident near xmas, book to take the exams in January.
Then you should know if self taught works.
If not, you might (got no idea) have to wait till following september to embark with distance
learning.

Anyway, if its programming in general you're looking to enhance, Id highly recommend the
'decision maths' modules [search amazon 'decision maths heineman']. They cover stuff like
binary searches, algorithms for bin packing, finding the shortest route across a network of
nodes. (also useful for AI)
If its physics, then the mechanics modules and pure/core modules.
Oh and statistics module 1 is an easy way to get some marks.
You can re-take modules and you get the higher mark of the 2 modules.
If you go self-taught, send me ur email and ill try and find the latest info you'll need (else
Ill some old pdf's).

Remember, maths is largely a subject you train at rather than a bunch of facts to memorise so practice practice practice! (thats what got me my A's). Read and re-read material, writing notes as you go. Do the practice questions/check your answers, then write up what you know (important for your understanding and essential for revision). That will also help it stick. If you're stuck, do the examples, side-by-side with the books examples. Its better than just reading them.
So, got the time? Self-taught is fine.
Time v. limited? Distance learning or you could spread the A-level over up to 3 years.


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