Here are the most frequently asked questions about the Core Maths qualifications. If you have a question that you cannot find the answer to here, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet us @OCR_Maths, or phone us on 01223 553998.
Level 3 Core Maths qualifications are aimed at students who aren’t studying AS or A Level Maths, but need essential problem solving and quantitative skills to support their other Level 3 subjects, and for future study and employment. Students should have passed GCSE Mathematics at grade 4 or better.
Core Maths qualifications are the same size as an AS Level (at least 180 guided learning hours), and can be delivered over one or two years.
A two-year course offers continuous maths study up to entering higher education or employment, and supports the application of quantitative skills in other Level 3 qualifications up to examination.
A one-year course may be more suitable for students who want to fully focus on their other Level 3 subjects in year 13.
Please be aware that for the one year course, the exam dates fall early in the exam series (usually in week one and two).
We worked with Mathematics in Education and Industry (MEI) to develop two Core Maths qualifications to offer choice to centres.
Both qualifications focus on problem solving and quantitative skills with practical application in everyday contexts. One is more statistical to support students taking social sciences (Geography, Psychology, Biology etc.).
Both qualifications provide a solid foundation in using mathematical and statistical skills in everyday contexts. Core Maths A focuses on critical mathematical thinking and solving real-life problems. Core Maths B has an emphasis on statistics and introduces students to working with a large data set.
Each qualification has two components. The first is a common component on quantitative reasoning, which introduces the techniques that students need for problem solving. Its content is assumed knowledge for the second component. In Core Maths A, the second component covers everyday problem solving, while in Core Maths B it is on statistical problem solving.
Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning (01) – 2 hours
Content: modelling, statistics, finance, spreadsheets, working with graphs and gradients, working with exponentials, risk and estimation.
Statistical Problem Solving (02) – 2 hours
Content: problem analysis, data collection, process and presentation of data, the Normal distribution, hypothesis testing, correlation, reporting and interpretation.
Each paper is 50% of the final weighted marks.
No, both of our Core Maths qualifications are assessed by examination.
A printed copy of the pre-release material will be provided in the exam.
Once we’ve published the pre-release materials online, centres can issue them to students. For remote learning, you can circulate them via a virtual learning platform or as an electronic copy.
There are two options. You can teach Component 01 first followed by component 02 (in series), or teach both components 01 and 02 at the same time (in parallel).
Teaching the qualification in series is an option if you need time to decide which Level 3 Core Maths qualification best suits your students.
Teaching the qualification in parallel allows links to be made between the content in components 01 and 02. Also, both components are delivered to the end of the course when it is assessed.
For delivery in series, we have individual component schemes of work available on our Core Maths qualification pages. For delivering both components in parallel there are qualification schemes of work on the Core Maths Platform. (To access these resources, complete the online subscription form or register with AMSP.)
Most of the mathematical methods and techniques are from the Foundation and, occasionally, Higher content of GCSE Maths. Only a minimum of 20% of the overall assessment is based on more challenging mathematical concepts and techniques drawn from beyond GCSE.
As for other Level 3 Maths qualifications, a large font size, spacing between questions and left-aligned text in tables improves the readability of question papers.
Core Maths qualifications are awarded on a scale of A, B, C, D and E.
Component 01 is marked out of 72 marks and component 02 out of 60 marks. Each component is worth 50% of the assessment.
The overall qualification grade is calculated by adding together the marks for the first component (IQR) and the weighted marks for the second component to give their total weighted mark. Component 02 is scaled by a factor of 1.2.
This total weighted mark is then compared to the qualification grade boundaries for the relevant exam series to determine the overall qualification grade.
Core Maths qualifications attract the same UCAS tariff points as an AS Level.
Core Maths qualifications are approved for the:
Candidates must retake both components of the qualification.
All formulae that candidates need to know are detailed in the specification content or should be known from GCSE. Any other formulae required will be given in an exam question.
A formulae and statistical tables booklet will be provided in the Statistical Problem Solving exam.
Candidates are expected to use technology, such as spreadsheets and scientific or graphical calculators, during their studies. Calculator use and the use of spreadsheets and spreadsheet formulae are assessed in component 01. Questions may include printouts from spreadsheets which candidates will need to either complete or interpret.
Scientific and graphical calculators can be used in all Core Maths exams. They are subject to the rules given in the JCQ’s Instructions for Conducting Examinations.
Some questions may ask candidates to work without a calculator. In these cases no credit will be given for answers with insufficient working.
Graphical calculators or graphing software are useful tools for delivering some of the content in the classroom.
The only entry exclusions are that candidates cannot be entered for Core Maths B in the same examination series as Core Maths A and vice versa.
Core Maths qualifications are suitable for those:
Therefore we don’t expect centres to deliver Core Maths alongside AS or A Level Maths. Core Maths exams are timetabled in the same slots as the two AS Level Maths exams. If centres have candidates sitting both AS Level Maths and Core Maths they would need to follow the guidance given by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) for timetable clashes.
16-18 performance points would be available for both qualifications as the discount code for Core Maths is different to AS and A Level Maths.
A large resource package has been developed by MEI who worked with us on the development of our Core Maths qualifications. These resources are available free of charge from the Core Maths Platform.
To access the Core Maths Platform, complete the online subscription form or register with the Advanced Maths Support Programme (AMSP). Once logged in, you can download:
You can also get student logins so that your students can freely access the resources, including some auto-marked computer tests to help with tracking and monitoring.
We also have free resources under the ‘Planning and teaching’ section of the Core Maths A and Core Maths B qualification pages:
Under the ‘Assessment’ section of Core Maths A and Core Maths B, there are candidate style answers to show different levels of candidate responses.
You can book courses on our professional development pages. You can also download materials from past courses from here.
You can also download our free Core Maths videos. These were filmed in the classroom, delivered by teachers and provide good lesson ideas.
CPD is also available from the MEI and AMSP websites.
The following assessment materials are available for our Core Maths qualifications:
Grade boundaries for previous exam series are on our website.
Follow our Twitter account @OCR_Maths and sign up for our Total Maths newsletter for regular updates on new support and the latest qualification information.
We run free regional teacher networks around the country. You can find out more details of upcoming sessions and book a ticket.
We also run online Q&A webinars throughout the year, where you can put questions directly to the Maths Team.