Mathematics remains top A-level subject

Mathematics continues to be the top A-level subject in spite of a decrease in the number of A-level Mathematics entries across the UK. While the number of students sitting the exam is down by 0.6% on last year to 92,163, the percentage of the total A-level cohort represented by mathematics has risen slightly from 10.9% to 11%.

Figures released today by the Joint Council for Qualifications also show that A-level Further Mathematics has continued to rise in popularity, with entries increasing by 1.8% (to 15,257).

However, a worrying trend is that AS Mathematics entries decreased by 1.6% (to 162,741), while AS Further Mathematics entries decreased 1.1% (to 26,742).  The reformed A-level in Mathematics has not yet been introduced, so this may be an early warning sign that the changing funding regime and the decoupling of AS from A-level already underway in almost all subjects are combining to reduce the number of students taking a fourth subject at AS.

The London Mathematical Society (LMS) and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) extend their congratulations to all students receiving their AS and A-level results today.

The skills students develop in studying Mathematics open up a wide choice of rewarding careers. Mathematical sciences play a vital role in all aspects of modern society, including cybersecurity, manufacturing sectors such as aerospace, finance and meeting the new challenges of ‘big data’. Maintaining the pipeline of well-trained mathematicians is vital for the future prosperity of the UK and its position in the world economy.

Professor Peter Giblin, Chair of the Higher Education Committee at the IMA, and Professor Alice Rogers, Chair of the Education Committee at the LMS added, ‘It is excellent news that the proportion of A-level entries in both Mathematics and Further Mathematics continues to rise, and candidates are to be congratulated on a further increase in high grades achieved.  The more worrying trends at AS will need to be monitored carefully, since both AS Mathematics and Further Mathematics are useful qualifications in their own right as well as providing a stepping stone to the full A-level’.

The full list of results is available here