In many of the discussions I have had with people about studying additional mathematics. One question comes up time and again: what is the point of studying it? What does it give you that you can’t get from other courses?
I think that a good answer to this question is not easy to give. The reason for this is that the main point of studying Additional mathematics lies in what it doesn’t do.
It doesn’t teach you any techniques or methods. Which you could apply in any subject, so what it does do must specialize to maths.
But there are a few general things which I believe are worthwhile for additional mathematics
Firstly, a knowledge of more advanced mathematics will make you feel more confident about approaching problems.
For example, knowing how to integrate will allow you to tackle integration problems. More quickly than if you were unaware of such methods.
Secondly, having studied additional maths means that your knowledge is more complete. More than someone who has only studied one A-level in maths.
Although this might not be immediately obvious, it does mean that a lot of things become easier. When they are explained using ideas from additional maths rather than those from GCSE maths.
A good example of this is differentiation - GCSE students usually struggle with differentiation because they don’t know how derivatives work.
This gives an edge when applying for jobs or going on to university - employers and lecturers. Like people who have studied additional maths because they know something which others don’t!
Finally, I think the most important thing about studying additional maths is the way in which it can help develop your mathematical intuition and improve your problem solving skills.
The way in which mathematical proofs work requires great intuition and often involves making logical leaps based on assumptions about what’s possible - there’s no room for logic errors here!
When doing research or tackling complex problems, being able to see things from a different perspective (often involving making some sort of simplification) can be vital.
These sorts of skills are probably best learned by actually doing mathematics rather than reading books about it - but studying additional maths provides an excellent opportunity for learning them!
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