Mathematics - Highers/Advanced Highers
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St. Andrew's & St. Bride's High School Platthorn Drive East Kilbride G74 1NL
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Higher Mathematics

From session 2018-2019 onwards, the Higher Mathematics course no longer consists of 3 units; there is simply an external exam in May.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q1. What is the recommended entry level?
Ans 1.
This course is intended for candidates who passed National 5 Maths in S4 or S5 with an ‘A’ or ‘B’ award, but we will allow an S5 pupil with a 'C' pass to attempt the course in some cases if parents request that to be the case, although it may effectively become a two-year course for many of them.  The course is also available to candidates who failed Higher Maths last session, and to those who wish to try to upgrade their existing Higher Maths qualification.

Q2. What constitutes a pass for the course?
Ans 2. To pass the course, a candidate must gain an A, B or C in the external SQA exam, although a D Award still receives some points towards college or university entrance.


Q3. How can learners, parents and staff tell if a (quality) pass is probable?
Ans 3.
  In order to give everyone an idea of whether or not a (quality) pass in the external exam is likely, it is necessary to sit class tests and prelims which are set at exam standard.

Q4. What is the format of the final external exam?
Ans 4
. The New Higher exam consists of two papers.
Paper 1 will consist of non-calculator questions worth a total of 70 marks and lasts for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Paper 2 will allow the use of calculators (but not calculators which can perform symbolic manipulation - i.e. algebra). It contains 80 marks and runs for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Q5.  How can candidates maximise their potential?
Ans 5.
  In order to achieve a course award, candidates ought to set their sights beyond the minimum requirements for passing the course. They should try to master more difficult content and gain problem-solving experience by completing even the hardest questions in their textbooks, seeking their teachers’ help whenever necessary.
Candidates should give their best effort to all hand-in homework exercises. These are found on the departmental website which can now be found at
http://www.mathshomework.pbworks.com. Pupils have a week to complete these tasks and should try the homework early in the week and seek the teacher’s help for questions that they find too difficult. Pupils should not miss out any questions or even parts of questions.
Completing all nightly homework tasks (from their textbook) and all hand-in exercises (homework sheets) on time is necessary, but not sufficient. Studying must be done over and above homework.
If pupils bring in a flash drive, they can be given a wealth of revision materials including past papers & solutions/marking schemes. If pupils work through these questions and ask for help, it will be of enormous benefit.
The department strongly advises pupils to use their own calculators daily so that they can learn how they work, as some work differently from others.

Q6. How can parents help with revision at home, particularly if the content is unfamiliar?
Ans 6
.  Ensure that your son/daughter is not simply sitting back reading their notes or re-writing their notes. The best way to prepare for Maths is to attempt as many questions as possible at home and seek help in school.
A useful starting point is to recognise that each teacher’s notes will contain questions and answers (& rules/formulae). Encourage your son/daughter to cover up each answer and then try each question. Can it be done without having a look at the solution along the way? Even if the answer is correct, has the working been set out in the same manner as the original note? Each time the answer is “No”, ask for the technique to be studied again at home, then cover it up and try again.
No matter what level of Maths parents are familiar with, they can assist and make comment on areas such as presentation of work, look for questions in homework exercises that have been missed out (indicating possible problems) and encourage students to approach a member of the department for help.


Advanced Higher Mathematics

From session 2019-2020 onwards, the Advanced Higher Mathematics course no longer consists of 3 units; there is simply an external exam in May consisting of two papers.

COURSE OUTLINE — New Advanced Higher Maths

Partial Fractions (after some introductory algebra)
Differentiation (including in context)
Binomial Theorem and Complex Numbers

Properties of Functions
Systems of Equations and Matrices
Integration (including in context)

First and Second Order Differential Equations
Sequences and Series (Arithmetic, Geometric & Maclaurin’s)
Some Methods of Proof (but not Proof by Induction)

Summation and Proof by Induction
Vectors
Number Theory (Euclidean Algorithm & Number Bases)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the recommended entry level?
Ans 1.
A candidate ought to have attained a Higher Mathematics award (preferably at grade ‘A’ or ’B’).

Q2. How can learners, parents and staff tell if a (quality) pass is probable?
Ans 2.
  Class assessments and prelims will be set at exam standard. Some questions will attempt to integrate knowledge from different parts of the course.

Q3.  What is the format of the final external exam?
Ans 3.
There is a Paper 1 worth 35 marks that runs for an hour in which calculators are not allowed, and there is a Paper 2 lasting 2 hours and 30 minutes worth 80 marks.  Calculators are allowed in Paper 2 provided that the calculator cannot perform algebra.
There is now a formulae sheet, but candidates must learn many other formulae & methods “off by heart”.

Q4.  How can candidates maximise their potential?
Ans 4.
  In order to achieve a course award, candidates ought to set their sights well beyond the requirements for passing a unit. They should try to master more difficult content and gain problem-solving experience by completing even the hardest questions in their folders and books, seeking their teachers’ help whenever necessary.  Furthermore, on the department's website (
http://www.mathshomework.pbworks.com) there are past paper questions by topic, all of which should be tackled as each new topic is completed.  There are full solutions to these questions which candidates should study carefully after attempting each question by themselves.  Despite these solutions being carefully written, some candidates will still require their teachers' help and should not hesitate to ask either of them for further explanation should this prove necessary.  These questions will replace hand-in homework exercises.

Q5. How can parents help with revision at home, particularly if the content is unfamiliar?
Ans 5. 
Ensure that your son/daughter is not simply sitting back reading their notes or re-writing their notes. The best way to prepare for Maths is to attempt as many questions as possible at home and seek help in school.
A useful starting point is to recognise that each teacher’s notes will contain questions and answers (& rules/formulae). Encourage your son/daughter to cover up each answer and then try each question. Can it be done without having a look at the solution along the way? Even if the answer is correct, has the working been set out in the same manner as the original note? Each time the answer is “No”, ask for the technique to be studied again at home, then cover it up and try again.
No matter what level of Maths parents are familiar with, they can assist and make comment on areas such as presentation of work, look for questions in homework exercises that have been missed out (indicating possible problems) and encourage students to approach a member of the department for help.