Preparing for A Levels

**Latin**

**Years of study
required:** Three years.
Students should be prepared to study for 9 hours (incl. lesson time) per week.

**Exam Board:** OCR. See *specification page*. Note that the new A Level syllabus
(first sitting in 2018) still provides for exams at AS (Advanced Subsidiary)
level, but these are now standalone qualifications and no longer count toward
the full A Level.

**Textbooks:** Cheaper versions of the following books
may be available either (i) secondhand or (ii) for the Amazon Kindle reader.

Core Language Textbooks

*Latin Beyond GCSE*by John Taylor covers the linguistic requirements for Latin A Level.*Ovid Unseens:*preparation for verse unseens*Prose Unseens*: preparation for prose unseens*North & Hillard*: preparation for prose composition

Set Texts(2025-2026)

- Tacitus,
*Annals XII-XIV* - Virgil,
*Aeneid 2*

Additional Aids

*Collins Latin Dictionary*: useful Latin-English, English-Latin dictionary*No Dictionaries*: online dictionary for dozens of Latin authors

**Beyond A-Level:** For those who wish to take Latin beyond
A-Level but prefer not to incur the expense (not to mention grave danger) of
studying in a modern-day 'university', consider consolidating your Latin with
Fr Henle's outstanding four-part series. His*
Second Year Latin* (focusing on Caesar's *Gallic Wars*) should be
fairly straightforward after AS studies, and his*
Third Year Latin* (focusing on Cicero's *Orations*) would be
readily accessible after A2 studies. When students have finished Fr Henle's *Fourth Year Latin* (focusing on Virgil's *Aeneid*),
they should be as accomplished as any second-year undergraduate.

**Classical Greek**

**Years of study
required:** Three years.
Students should be prepared to study for 9 hours (incl. lesson time) per week.

**Exam Board:** OCR. See *specification
page*. Note that the new A Level syllabus (for first sitting in 2018)
still provides for exams at AS (Advanced Subsidiary) level, but these are
stand-alone qualifications now and no longer count towards the full A Level.

**Textbooks:** Cheaper versions of the following books
may be available either (i) secondhand or (ii) for the Amazon Kindle reader.

*Greek Beyond GCSE*by John Taylor covers the linguistic requirements for Classical Greek A Level.*OCR Anthology for Greek AS and A Level*covers the set text prescriptions.*Greek Unseen Translation*prepares candidates to tackle unseens.*The Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek*(for which see our*Answer Key*) is also recommended at this stage.

For students keen to get to grips
with Homer, Clyde Pharr's *Homeric Greek* is strongly recommended. A pdf copy can
be downloaded for free from *Textkit*.

The set texts, both prose and
verse, are mainly taken from authors of the 5th and 4th centuries BC. They may
include Homer, Aristophanes, Plato, and Thucydides or Herodotus.

**Biblical Studies:** The Greek studied in the British exam
syllabus is Attic Greek, not the Common Greek (or *Koine*) used in the
Septuagint and New Testament. However, once the student has completed A-level
studies, the transition to Common Greek is exceptionally easy. Our own current
attempt to translate the whole of the Ancient Greek Bible can be found *here*.

**Maths**

**Study required:** A Level Maths is a challenging syllabus. Students who failed
to obtain a top grade (8+) in GCSE Maths are going to find it too difficult to
tackle in two years, so they should consider doing it in three, perhaps taking
in GCSE Further Mathematics en route. Students should be prepared to study for
12+ hours (incl. lesson time) per week if taking the course over two years or
9+ hours per week if taking it over three years.

**Exam Board: **Edexcel: See *specification*. Students sit three two-hour papers at
the end of their studies: two Pure Maths papers and one combined
Statistics/Mechanics paper.

**Textbooks:** We use the new *Pearson
series. *See right for the four text books used. Kindle versions are
also available. In addition to these four books, there are four associated Exam
Practice books, which students should work through if they wish to obtain the
very best grade.

You will also need to downoad the *Large Data Set*.
Websites offering extensive video coverage of the syllabus include *examsolutions.co.uk*
and *m4ths.com*.

**Exam Calculators:** You will require a calculator for A Level Maths.
Some students
make do with a scientific calculator alone. I think this a mistake. Purchase a
graphic calculator if you really want to maximize your chances of obtaining a
top grade. I recommend the *Casio fx-CG50 (*pictured right, around £100). This
is the calculator we use in class, and I cover its rich functionality in
depth. Watch Casio's* Online
training videos* to learn the basics. Just be careful when using it, as
the new keyboard is defective, occasionally repeating keystrokes and thus
giving the wrong answer unless the duplicated input is corrected. Casio should
sit up and take notice, as they are endangering students’ exam results by
the faulty key contacts used in their newly designed keyboard.

Check prices on *Oxford
Educational Supplies* and also *Pearson Edexcel UK*
before you decide to buy elsewhere. Finally, don't buy a calculator with ana
inbuilt CAS (Computer Algebra System) as it won't be allowed in the exam room.
The free third-party *XCas
*add-in provides rich CAS functionality for the fx-CG50, but remember either
to remove it from your calculator or to put the calculator in Exam Mode before
you sit your exams with it.

**Free Non-Exam
Calculators: **There are
many excellent free calculator apps available. Here's a list of some of the
best:

*Casio Classpad.net**Desmos**Geogebra**HP Prime*(Pro version also available)*MathStudio**Microsoft Mathematics 4.0**Numworks Simulator**XCas*

**Beyond A Level:** For those wishing to pursue Maths further,
consider doing the Further Maths A Level (see below). Briefly, this requires
one to sit two Core Pure Mathematics papers (green books on right) and any two
other papers from the eight remaining options. When you've done that, consider
studying the remaining six modules! That will give you a breadth of
mathematical knowledge which surpasses that of almost all university maths
students.

If you wish to study first year
university maths, either on your own or with our e-Academy, Stroud's *Engineering
Mathematics* can hardly be bettered.

For those thinking of applying to
read maths at University, consider studying the delightful preparatory
challenges in *Advanced
Problems in Mathematics*.