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>> No. 4547 Anonymous
6th June 2013
Thursday 5:10 pm
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I took Mathematics to GCSE level at school but no further than that. I would now like to move to A Level but as an adult the local college charges a hefty sum (£350 for AS Level) and I would like to try and study it alone.

(The actual qualification does not interest me, I just want to be able to read other science-related books and articles without having to choose only maths-light ones).

Can anyone recommend any books/text books or websites that are accessible to a learner who has no other help from a teacher? I have tried just buying an A Level maths guide but it was kind of difficult alone.

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>> No. 4548 Anonymous
6th June 2013
Thursday 5:42 pm
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Have you tried Khan Academy?
>> No. 4549 Anonymous
6th June 2013
Thursday 5:53 pm
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My favourite A-level textbook is "Core Maths for A-Level" by Bostock and Chandler. It's aimed at students with only an Intermediate GCSE in maths and recaps a lot of algebra, so it's a good option if you might be a bit rusty. It covers the whole core curriculum, from basic algebra and geometry right the way through to calculus. There are lots of graded exercises, with a full answer key at the back in most editions.

The explanations are a bit terse, so you'll probably want to back it up with video lectures of some sort. There are tons of these available from Khan Academy and others. PatrickJMT on YouTube is very good, but do shop around and find someone whose style you enjoy. A search for any mathematical topic on YouTube will yield dozens of good results.

If it's been a while since you studied mathematics, you might want to pick up a GCSE revision guide and make sure you're confident with that material. One of the biggest mistakes people make in maths is to try and learn too much material too quickly. You can generally busk a topic even if your understanding of the prerequisite material is a bit vague, but eventually you'll come unstuck. Relatively minor misunderstandings and weaknesses compound quite quickly and a lot of people just lose all confidence in their ability to do mathematics. The importance of a solid foundation of arithmetic and algebra cannot be overstated. Don't move on from a topic until you feel that you've mastered it totally and could teach it to someone else. If at any point you feel uncertain about a technique, don't ignore it - go back and revise it until you've got it down pat.

An excellent option for building your general mathematical reasoning are the correspondence learning books by I.M. Gelfand, entitled "Functions of Graphs", "Methods of Coordinates", "Algebra", "Trigonometry" and "Geometry". They were originally written in the 1960s, for talented secondary-age pupils living in remote parts of the USSR who might have no access to proper mathematics instruction. The books contain a series of logic puzzles that require no prior understanding of mathematics, building an understanding of each topic from first principles. They are hard work, but extremely rewarding.
>> No. 4550 Anonymous
6th June 2013
Thursday 8:47 pm
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What you read will depend slightly on what you want to do with the maths - assuming you intend at some point to go beyond A-level, think what you want to use maths for. There are loads of "Maths for..." type books for physicists, engineers, chemists, biologists and probably other fields, which will emphasise certain parts which are more important in that field.
>> No. 4551 Anonymous
7th June 2013
Friday 5:59 pm
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Thank you for your really helpful posts. I will follow you suggestions.
>> No. 4562 Anonymous
14th June 2013
Friday 12:46 am
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If you want A levels to get into uni, you could do an Access to HE course at college instead. It's whats getting me in uni to do nursing in Sept. I got fuck all decent GCSE's.

I know some colleges charge more for the course, but my local one in wales cost £20 for a 1 year, full time Access course.
>> No. 4563 Anonymous
14th June 2013
Friday 5:27 pm
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Thanks. Only problem is that I work full-time and an access course is not really an option.
>> No. 4564 Anonymous
18th June 2013
Tuesday 8:23 am
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To be fair i had to drop my hours from full time to relief work (weekends, covering when people were absent etc). They do part time access courses too which normally run for 2 years, which can be tailored to suit people in full time work. However my local college was charging £400 for the part time option.

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