AS & A Level Maths For Dummies (For Dummies (Math & Science)) Paperback – 8 Jan 2016
I use a lot of maths in my work as a lecturer and I am often asked to recommend books to help students.
The book. This is a typical Dummies style book with a bright yellow cover. The design of the book is excellent with a logical progressing through the essential knowledge needed .
Presentation. Colin Beveridge knows how to present the knowledge required in an accessible way. All of the information is superbly explained making it easy to follow and understand. The text is augmented with the usual tips, warnings and essential things to remember. There are copious worked examples that contain all the workings unlike many other text books who assume steps. This does not happen here, ever step is detailed so that there is no chance of misunderstanding or simply getting stuck. Other maths book authors could learn a lot about writing from this author. Particularly I like the introduction to calculus and the trip back to Y=mx +c and how this formula is used to introduce the concept of differentiation. This is a useful way to use the familiar to hand hold you into the unfamiliar. Using this approach makes the jump from GCSE to As level much easier.
Overall. Another excellent maths book from Colin Beveridge. It is well planned and takes the reader on a journey into the new level of maths in a way which is easy to follow. The examples are complete and nothing is assumed. This is how maths books should be written and anyone using this book will soon find out that it is money well spent. Excellent in every way.
Beveridge's AS & A level maths for dummies is just too dumbed down to be of much use. Yes you could follow everything in here and get an answer but too much of what is here is presented as a formulaic approach to maths, the paper version of telling someone what buttons to press on a calculator but without telling them why. That is a common fault of any text that tries to compress too much course into too few pages but without the why there is no real understanding or learning and without that you are relying purely on memory.
WIll I use it? Probably not. If my students understand the maths they do not need this and if they don't understand this doesn't explain enough.
My son is halfway through his A-level Maths course and he loves this book, which is logically structured and loaded with great advice.
The author clearly understands how students think, and he writes in an easy to read, confident style. He addresses several ways of solving each type of maths problem so that each student can find his preferred technique. The book is aimed at helping students who don't find maths easy, therefore every method includes all the tiny steps without leaving anything out.
Very importantly, the author covers pretty much every type of question an exam board is going to set (based on past experience) and analyses how to work through to the answer. This book contains many more worked examples than the standard maths coursebook.
Each page of the book is aimed at building confidence and understanding, two of the most important factors which lead to success. The first two chapters on attitude and study skills and the last chapter on how to tackle tough questions are an inspiration to students of any subject. The book is not exam board specific which makes it more widely applicable, and because of its comprehensive coverage it encompasses the syllabuses of all the UK boards.
There is no indication of where first year A-level ends and second year A-level begins but I believe that this is not really a fault because it enables you to follow a topic right the way through, no matter how it may be broken down in the course you are studying.