What is Higher Maths?
The SQA higher maths course is the next stage in a students journey through their high school career. It expands on the work covered in the National 5 course and also introduces several new topics. Visit the link to the SQA website for full course content.
It is safe to say the Higher course is much more challenging than the National 5. However, the rewards are much greater. This is the most important qualification of your school career as this is what universities and some colleges look for; so the better the grades the more choice you will have! That’s why we have a long list of maths tutors waiting to help you pass with flying colours. Click on the like to find a maths tutor near you.
Is Higher Maths Worth it?
This question really depends on the individual. For example, a student looking to continue their studies to university studying History, won’t need an in-depth understanding of maths compared to someone studying chemical engineering.
If you are in mixed minds however, I would highly recommend you take on the challenge and go for it! It’s a universal qualification and one that will look great on a CV. If you can prove you can understand a complex subject like mathematics, then you make yourself stand out from the crowd.
What Can You Expect
I’d love to tell you its easy; however, I would be misleading you. It is tough (at times), but not impossible. Higher maths gives you a more in-depth understanding of numbers and develop techniques that are relevant to everyday life.
The course covers several main topics, ranging from Calculus to trigonometry to logs. Let’s break each one down to get a better understanding of what topics you should expect.
Calculus is a branch of maths which covers two main topics at higher level. The first is Differentiation, the second is Integration.
Differentiation is an application of mathematics that aims to explain and simplify analysis methods. This topic is vast and covers many sub-topics; some of which students will already be familiar with. Differentiation covers quadratics, straight line, gradients, parabolas, optimisation and more!
Integration is the opposite of differentiation. This branch of calculus is more useful for modelling predictions based on graphs. Integration plays a vital role in developing a students understanding of quadratics, graphs, functions, optimisation and more!
Almost everyone had heard of trigonometry; also known as “trig”. This word makes most people shiver with flashbacks to the horrible time at school learning about trig. Trig is one of the main and most challenging aspects of higher maths. Trigonometry focuses on two main elements in the higher course.
The first being the trig triangles. The study of non-right angled triangles using the sine and cosine rule is a continuation from the National 5 course; except this time it takes it up a notch. The second is trig graphs; using standard CAST diagrams as well as wave function analysis. When I say higher maths is hard; this is what I am referring to.
When you think of logs, you won’t instinctively think of maths. However, logs are very important for modelling in maths. In the higher maths course, logs are covered using natural logs and exponentials. Exponentials are the opposite to logs; similarly with the differentiation and integration in calculus. Overall, logs are fairly straightforward however at the beginning they seem like an impossible task. Rest assured it does get easier.
So What’s the Verdict?
Overall high maths is a great course to take in your 5th of 6th year. It opens a lot of doors for you to choose from in terms of what you would like to do after school. The course is challenging, stimulating, exciting and interesting all bundled into one! It can be fast-paced at times and can be stressful, but the main piece of advice I can offer is… Ensure you have excellent time management skills, willingness to learn, don’t leave everything to the last minute and remember to stat on top of your notes and do LOTS of questions. Good Luck with your studies and do check our tutors out for further help and support!