Why choose Cambridge O Level Mathematics?
Cambridge O Levels are established qualifications that keep pace with educational developments and
trends. The Cambridge O Level curriculum places emphasis on broad and balanced study across a
wide range of subject areas. The curriculum is structured so that learners attain both practical skills and
theoretical knowledge. Cambridge O Level Mathematics is recognized by universities and employers throughout the world as proof of mathematical knowledge and understanding.
Cambridge O Level Mathematics allows learners to gain lifelong benefits, including:
• confidence in their mathematical knowledge, and the ability to apply it in different contexts
• skills in communication and reasoning using mathematical concepts
• a solid foundation for further study
• the ability to be reflective when considering, presenting and interpreting mathematical results
• the ability to be engaged intellectually by developing a feel for numbers, patterns and relationships
• the ability to be innovative when applying their knowledge and understanding to solve problems in their future work.
Learners may also study for a Cambridge O Level in Additional Mathematics and for a Cambridge O Level in Statistics. In addition to Cambridge O Levels, Cambridge also offers Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge International AS and A Levels for further study in mathematics. See www.cie.org.uk for a full list of the qualifications you can take.
We recommend that learners who are beginning this course should have previously studied an appropriate lower secondary mathematics program.
Progression Cambridge O Levels are general qualifications that enable candidates to progress either directly to employment, or to proceed to further qualifications. Candidates who are awarded grades C to A* in Cambridge O Level Mathematics are well prepared to follow courses leading to Cambridge
International AS and A Level Mathematics, or the equivalent.
Syllabus content at a glance
Assessment at a glance
All candidates take two papers: Paper 1 and Paper 2.
Each paper may contain questions on any part of the syllabus and questions may assess more than one
Additional materials for examinations:
For both Paper 1 and Paper 2, candidates should have these geometrical instruments:
• a pair of compasses
• a protractor
• a ruler.
Tracing paper may be used as an additional material for both of the written papers.
For Paper 2, candidates should have an electronic calculator – see below for details.
Use of calculators:
Paper 1 – the use of all calculating aids is prohibited.
Paper 2 – all candidates should have a silent electronic calculator. A scientific calculator with trigonometric functions is strongly recommended. Algebraic or graphical calculators are not permitted.
The General Regulations concerning the use of electronic calculators are contained in the Cambridge
Unless stated otherwise within an individual question, three-figure accuracy will be required. This means that four-figure accuracy should be shown throughout the working, including cases where answers are used in subsequent parts of the question. To earn accuracy marks, premature approximation should be avoided.
In Paper 2, candidates are encouraged to use the value of π from their calculators. Otherwise, they should use the value of π given on the front page of the question paper as 3.142 to three decimal places.
SI units will be used in questions involving mass and measures, including use of centimeters.
Both the 12-hour clock and the 24-hour clock may be used for quoting times of the day. In the 24-hour clock, for example, 3.15 a.m. will be denoted by 03 15; 3.15 p.m. by 15 15, noon by 12 00 and midnight by 24 00.
Candidates will be expected to be familiar with the expression of compound units in the following form:
e.g. 5 cm/s for 5 centimeters per second; 13.6 g/cm 3 for 13.6 grams per cubic centimeter.
Please use the list of mathematical notation in section 7 of this syllabus.
Syllabus aims and assessment objectives
The aims are to enable candidates to:
• increase intellectual curiosity, develop mathematical language as a means of communication and
investigation and explore mathematical ways of reasoning
• acquire and apply skills and knowledge relating to number, measure and space in mathematical
situations that they will meet in life
• acquire a foundation appropriate to their further study of mathematics and of other disciplines
• appreciate the pattern, structure and power of mathematics and derive satisfaction, enjoyment and
confidence from the understanding of concepts and the mastery of skills.
The two assessment objectives in Cambridge O Level Mathematics are:
AO1 Mathematical techniques
AO2 Applying mathematical techniques to solve problems
AO1: Mathematical techniques
Candidates should be able to:
• recognize the appropriate mathematical procedures for a given situation
• perform calculations by suitable methods, with and without a calculator
• understand systems of measurement in everyday use and make use of them in the solution of problems
• estimate, approximate and work to degrees of accuracy appropriate to the context and convert between
equivalent numerical forms
• organised, interpret and present information accurately in written, tabular, graphical and diagrammatic
• use mathematical and other instruments to measure and to draw to an acceptable degree of accuracy
• recognize and use spatial relationships in two and three dimensions, particularly when solving problems
• interpret, transform and make appropriate use of mathematical statements expressed in words or
• recall, apply and interpret mathematical knowledge in the context of everyday situations.
AO2: Applying mathematical techniques to solve problems
In questions which are set in context and/or which require a sequence of steps to solve, candidates should be able to:
• recognize patterns and structures in a variety of situations and form and justify generalizations
• make logical deductions from given mathematical data
• respond to a problem relating to a relatively unstructured situation by translating it into an appropriately structured form
• analyse a problem, select a suitable strategy and apply an appropriate technique to obtain its solution
• apply combinations of mathematical skills and techniques in problem solving
• set out mathematical work, including the solution of problems, in a logical and clear form using appropriate symbols and terminology.
Relationship between assessment objectives and components
The weightings allocated to each of the assessment objectives (AOs) are summarized below. The table shows the assessment objectives as an approximate percentage of each component and as an
approximate percentage of the overall Cambridge O Level Mathematics qualification.