2017 Spec (Part 1)

I’ve finally taken a thorough look through the proposed 2017 content for A level Maths and so this is the first post (of potentially two or three) summarising what I’ve distilled.

As always with these things, it’s perfectly possible that I’ve mis-read statements or interpreted things with my own bias, so do check out the original document whenever you have the time: GCE AS and A level subject content mathematics, DfE.

The Headline Changes

I think most people are now aware of the following points:

  • The content is fully prescribed for Maths, meaning no optional choices in terms of applied modules etc. (Optional applied units are now solely in the realm of Further Maths.)
  • Both mechanics and statistics are included at AS level and at A level.
  • The statistics will include some kind of “large data set” that students will have investigated prior to the examination.

Much of the content is very similar to that found across the current specifications from the different exam boards. However, there are some noticeable changes to the AS syllabus:

  • Radians are gone from AS
  • Sequences and series are gone from AS
  • ln x and ex are now in AS
  • Using logs to linearise models such as y=kbx is included (which some boards already have)
  • 2D vectors are now part of the AS core
  • The trapezium rule is no longer in AS
  • The statistics part of AS includes binomial distribution and the hypothesis test for the proportion p.
  • The normal distribution is A2.
  • Conditional probability is now A2.


The other thing I’ve noticed is the paragraph specifying facilities that a student’s calculator should have:

  • Iteration facility (this is typically just the ANS button)
  • “the ability to … access probabilities from standard statistical distributions”

This last point makes me wonder if the basic scientific calculators will no longer be sufficient as they can’t produce binomial or normal probabilities. Perhaps manufacturers will respond to this, or perhaps the expectation will be that (at significant cost) students and schools move to graphical calculators.


I’ve typed up an overview of all the differences that I’ve noticed and shared it on Dropbox: Summary of AS changes in 2017. Please let me know if you come across other changes that I’ve not highlighted (or that I’ve misrepresented!). The document there is a work in progress, so I recommend you bookmark the folder rather than downloading a copy.



One thought on “2017 Spec (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: New AS-Level Further Mathematics 2017 | mathematicsandcoding

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