Introduction To Advanced Level Mathematics For Nigerian Students
Mathematics is a core subject in many courses, they rely on math’s formulas and theories to carry out any calculations they have. Especially the science and technical courses, they are closely connected to mathematics.
By studying advanced level mathematics you can acquire qualifications that will raise your status in this highly competitive job market. Skills in maths are highly valued by employers, not solely because you managed to overcome its natural difficulty, but because mathematics teaches us skills that are useful in the workplace. Basic numeracy, understanding statistics and interpreting data are just some of them.
We all know how students are trying really hard to pass their JAMB and WAEC/WASSCE to gain admission into the university, trying to get the required credits and JAMB scores et cetera et cetera.
Well, advanced level exams aka A levels, is designed as a qualification program that serves as an alternative for getting admission into the tertiary level, a pass in any A level exams gets you accepted into any university of your choice in Nigeria. The curriculum of the courses learned are on par with the university's own curriculum.
The certification you get from sitting for an A level exam could serve as an additional qualification to lighten up your CV or could be used to further your education. Advanced level mathematics qualifications are valuable to job recruiters, especially jobs where numbers are involved, like economics or finance or engineering, companies in those sectors crave a good maths grade.
University Policy And A-Level Exams
There are numerous reasons to write an advanced level exam, every one of them has something that made it different, from duration to teaching hours, to even the expertise of the lecturers themselves.
Moreover, every university and tertiary institution has its standards and stipulations, so it’s not every kind of advanced level exams that they accept.
They take one that best suits their teaching methods and that reaches up to their standards, but most importantly, one that teaches and aligns with the courses they offer.
So before you begin planning to sit for an advanced level exam, check to see if the university you want to apply to accepts their certificate. You can easily find the list of universities that accept a certain A level exam from the website of the exam board itself or from JAMB brochure of that year.
Preparing for the maths A level exams, here's where to find revision materials and past questions.
Which Advanced Level Mathematics Course To Join?
It is not easy to find a course subject that doesn’t have any relations with maths. Most of the principal exam boards all offer advanced level mathematics.
These exam boards include IJMB, Cambridge A-Level, NABTEB A-Level and JUPEB. While most of the specifications in the curriculum will vary slightly, in style and structure, the course content will always remain the same, mathematics is uniquely equal in that regard.
Offers You Flexibility
One of the major advantages to sitting for A level exams is that it offers you freedom no other exam program can give to you, for instance, some lesson times are conveniently pushed to the weekends or night-time. You can also speed things up or slow them down for yourself, depending on your schedule.
So, while some students might spend 10 months in the program, some might finish in 5. The exams are supposedly the only thing done uniformly by the students, but the studying and lesson times vary. In short, students can learn at their own pace, this allows for even matured students to join, it fits perfectly with an employee’s work life and a stay-at-home mom's schedule. It is very different from the rigid school systems we are all used to.
Be Accepted In Varsity Of Choice
Like we mentioned earlier, if you successfully make the grades in the A level exams, it’s a direct entry into a university of your choice, 200L to be specific.
It means you don’t have to write a post-UTME exams to gain entry into the university. Subjects in the advanced level programs teach you topics that you are supposed to learn in the 100L and more, it is a crash course of sorts.
Has Course You Want To Study
Before you join a certain program for its flexibility and convenience, the first question to ask yourself is, do they offer the course I want to study?
Some of the A level programs only offer some subjects and not others, hence when you get to the university to apply, you won’t be accepted in the particular course you wanted because you haven’t studied its subject courses.
But despite their differences, mathematics is offered by all the exam boards, because advanced level mathematics is a fundamental part of our modern education, it forms the bedrock many university courses are built upon.
So always try to find out which exam board offers what, before you sign up to join.
Consider The Fees
Now that is something worth serious consideration, the fees for these exams vary widely, they are average in some cases and exorbitant in some, from those that cost N50,000 on average to those that cost twice that much.
A level exams that have foreign affiliations such as Cambridge A-Level are usually the ones that cost a tad bit more, as they are more valuable in terms of accreditation, you can easily gain admission abroad with them.
Content Of The Advanced Level Mathematics Courses
The mathematics curriculum for the advanced level programs mostly contain topics that are known to most of us as further maths topics. If you have been through science class you must have come across some of them.
The topics are more expansive and the calculations go beyond what we are used to in secondary school. Let’s take a closer look at some of the topics.
Differentiation is a process in mathematics of finding the rate of change of one variable (x), with respect to another variable (y). It is used to calculate the differential. The process is used to find the rate of change of distance with respect to time, (that is speed), and the rate of change of x with respect to y on a graph.
So the equation for speed and acceleration are actually ds/dt=v, dv/dt=a. Thus the equation for a graph is dy/dx, in this case, the rate of change is the gradient of the curve of the graph.
As part of your curriculum, your lecturer is sure to teach you the basic rules of differentiation, it has basic concepts you must abide by when calculating mathematical anomalies such as indices and trig ratios, those are the rules.
For instance, when differentiating x to the power of something, you will bring down the power and write it in front of the x and reduce the power by one. It is one of the basic rules of differentiation.
You will use this knowledge to differentiate the equation of a curve, finding a formula for any point or gradient on the curve. All of this may sound foreign and a bit overwhelming but relax, you will get more explanation from the lecturers at the classes.
Among many of the topic areas, you will cover in your advanced level maths is statistics, this topic has various subtopics under it, they include: Variance, Cumulative Frequency, Measures of Dispersion, Averages, Probability, Histograms, Normal Approximations, Sampling, Hypothesis Testing and Estimators, among many others.
This part of the lesson is all about dealing with data, looking at probability for instance, you will notice you can work out the probability of an event happening by looking at the data posed to you from the event stats.
Indices and Logarithms
Right from SS1 we become familiar with the topic indices and logarithm, they are two very related mathematics components. Indices is any exponential function in mathematics, while logarithm is an inverse of the exponential function.
Now, to calculate any of these components there are laws governing how you go about it. In the advanced level mathematics, your learning curriculum will expand to include how these laws came to be.
Mechanics is more physics than maths actually, it is the part of science that illustrates the relationship between a mass of body and forces it is subjected to. Mechanics covers topic areas such as; acceleration and vectors, impulse and momentum, kinematics, Newton’s laws and projectiles, and a lot more.
These are key areas of study for understanding the motion of objects through space and time. Knowing when and where an object is going to ‘land' after it was thrown in the air is quite fascinating don’t you think?
Having Difficulties With Mathematics?
All of this may sound extremely intimidating, if you find mathematics difficult, well perhaps it would make you feel better to know a lot of people actually find it difficult too.
But not to worry, you can easily find tutors near you who could help. Advanced level mathematics can feel broad and a bit challenging, but once you get the first ropes, you will be rocking this subject.