Further Studies Maths (FS Maths)

Further Studies Maths (FS Maths)

Thank you to Mr Paul Maree from our Maths Department for contributing this week’s Curriculum Matters article.

UPDATED INFORMATION ABOUT FURTHER STUDIES (AP) MATHS 2023

What is Further Studies Mathematics – Standard vs Extended?

Further Studies Mathematics (FS Maths) is one of the qualifications you can get in the International Secondary Certificate (ISC), an international qualification recognised by a number of academic institutions around the world.

FS Maths is made up of two papers
Paper 1 (compulsory) – Calculus and Algebra, which will appear on the report as “Further Studies: Mathematics Standard”

Paper 2 (elective) – The optional topic, which will appear on the report as “Further Studies: Mathematics Elective”. At Herzlia, this means a choice between ‘Statistics’ and ‘Graphs and Matrices’.

What does it take to pass FS Maths Standard vs Extended?

A pupil can just write Paper 1 (200 marks), and if they get 50% or more, they will receive the “FS Maths (Standard)” qualification.

A pupil can choose to write Paper 1 (200 marks) AND Paper 2 (100 marks), and if they achieve an aggregate of 50% or more across the papers, they will receive the “FS Maths (Extended)” qualification.

A pupil who attains 50% or above in Paper 1 but because of Paper 2 does not achieve 50% or more in the 300-mark aggregate will receive a “FS Maths (Standard)” qualification.

A pupil who attains 50% or above in Paper 2 but because of Paper 1 does not achieve 50% or more in the 300-mark aggregate will not receive an FS Maths pass but will receive a statement of results indicating the marks attained in both Paper 1 & Paper 2.

Does the Extended version count as two subjects? 

When it comes to schools, some schools report their results for the Extended version as though it were two separate subjects, but most schools consider it a single subject. When it comes to universities, they all count it as a single subject. As such, at Herzlia, we will count Extended as a single, but advanced, version of the subject. 

What is FS Maths worth as an international qualification?

If you want to compare FS Maths to an A-level then: FS Maths (Standard) was accredited as the equivalent of an A-level, while FS Maths (Extended) is considered an “extension” of A-levels. For example, at some institutions that accept A-levels, FS Maths (Standard) gets you 30 credits while FS Maths (Extended) gets you 36 credits. 

HOWEVER PLEASE NOTE, this does NOT automatically mean that tertiary institutions that accept A-levels will accept your FS Maths results. You have to research each tertiary institution’s admissions policy to see how they consider the ISC FS Maths qualifications (if they do at all). 

Some examples of how international organisations view the ISC FS Maths qualification:

* Incred (one of the American accreditation agencies) considers a 60% on FS Maths a B symbol in America
* Edinburgh University requires an A symbol for A-levels and a B-symbol for FS Maths (Extended) to enter engineering.

What is FS Maths worth as a local qualification?

Deeply frustratingly, it seems that the only university in South Africa that is willing to consider your FS Maths mark for admission is Wits University where you are apparently allowed to replace one of your other subjects with FS Maths in your application. Other local universities it seems do not consider FS Maths marks at all. And on top of that, it’s likely that Wits will only accept FS Maths (Extended) because it’s this version that is equivalent to the old AP Maths. 

So, in other words, while FS Maths won’t help you get into a local university (unless it’s Wits), it will help you IMMENSELY in surviving/thriving in 1st year Mathematics.

And a final warning…

PUPILS ARE ENCOURAGED TO DO THEIR OWN RESEARCH AS TO HOW THEIR UNIVERSITY OF CHOICE CONSIDERS FS MATHS (STANDARD VS EXTENDED). THEY SHOULD DO THIS ASAP SO THEY CAN MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION! THESE ARE NEW QUALIFICATIONS AND EVEN THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE OF THIS SUBJECT DON’T KNOW HOW TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS ARE GOING TO TREAT FS MATHS STANDARD VS EXTENDED.

PAUL MAREE
Herzlia High School Mathematics Teacher

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