A message from one of last year’s Year 13 Further Maths students, now studying maths at uni


“I never realised how hard actual mathematical proof would be. I’m currently studying different types of proofs in my calculus topic (which is insanely hard). I see what you mean by saying A-level maths does not teach you actual proofs, because the proofs they provide at uni are completely on another level than A-level”.

Don’t let that put you off studying maths at uni! It’s good that uni maths courses teach you to question assumptions and arguments deeply. All students find it a culture-shock at first, but they manage. After a while it’s exhilarating, learning a new way of thinking.

Part of the reason why I give over a week of Year 12 Further Maths to studying proof, though there’s nothing about that in the Edexcel textbook or in the exam spec, is to prepare students a bit for the culture shock.

This is the syllabus for the uni first-year calculus course referred to.

And see this, on how proof dropped out of school maths.