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Core Maths

AQA Level 3 Certificate in Mathematical Studies (Core Maths)

About the course

Core maths is a one-year course you can take alongside many of our Level 3 diplomas. It carries UCAS points equivalent to an AS Level and is favoured by universities and employers. It is assessed by two written exams (Paper 1 and Paper 2) in May.

Entry requirements

GCSE maths at grade 5 or above.

Who should take this course?

Are you planning to study either psychology, sociology, business and management, applied sport, engineering, health and social care or science at university? Perhaps you are thinking of running your own business or are aiming for a career in a professional, creative or technical field. If you are considering any of these options, core maths will help you to develop the right skills to reach your future destination.

What you’ll learn

The three main areas studied and examined in Paper 1 are:

  • Analysis of Data
  • Maths for Personal Finance
  • Estimation

Examples of what you will learn about in these areas include:

  • appreciating the strengths and limitations of sampling methods
  • how to calculate income tax, National Insurance and student loan repayments
  • how to answer questions like ‘how many golf balls can fit into a jumbo jet?’

For Paper 2 you will study additional topics in one of following areas:

  • Statistical Techniques
  • Critical Path and Risk Analysis
  • Graphical Techniques

Examples of what you will learn about in these topics include:

  • appreciating that correlation does not necessarily imply causation
  • standard deviation
  • solving problems related to decision making
  • project planning
  • estimating acceleration from velocity-time graphs
  • modelling growth and decay

Core maths is different from the traditional A or AS level maths courses as it focuses on applying maths to solve problems in everyday life and work. There is a strong emphasis on financial applications and statistical ideas that can support work in other subjects.

What students say

‘I think that everyone should study core maths because it really sets them up for the world.’

‘I enjoyed the mortgage topic - it helped me to understand how much I could borrow from a bank when I leave uni and become a proper adult.’

‘I’ve been taught all the things that are going to help me in the long run like APR and taxes.’

‘I’m hoping maybe in the future to build up my own business and this gives me the foundation to understand where money’s coming from.’

‘It helped me with my psychology and my science because of all the statistics.’

‘Having maths as a background helps you with most things.’

Where maths meets... the world of work!


How many UCAS points can I get?

Core maths is graded from A to E and the number of points you get depends on the grade you achieve. Some universities are also reducing the offers they make to students by one grade in recognition of the invaluable quantitative and analytical skills gained when studying core maths.

Grade Tariff Points
A 20
B 16
C 12
D 10
E 6

How do I apply?

You can express your interest in studying core maths here or email the core maths programme leader (Janet Blair) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.

Register your interest in Core Maths

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