A Level Math Vs. AP Calculus BC: Which one is harder?

A Level Math Vs. AP Calculus BC
Two Students Discussing A Level Math Vs. AP Calculus BC

If, like most of my students, you are trying to decide between taking A-level math or AP calculus BC; you have come to the right place. Both are advanced courses and offer different opportunities for learning.

A Level Math and AP Calculus BC are two of the most popular courses for advanced students; they are also both rigorous in their own way and offer plenty of challenges for mathematically inclined students.

A Level Math Vs. AP Calculus BC: Which one is harder? A-level math, particularly A-level further maths, is harder than AP Calculus BC. A level Further Math syllabus is vast and rigorous in testing, including Pure Maths, Mechanics, Probability, and Statistics. In contrast, AP Calculus BC focuses mainly on calculus, including differentiation and integration.

Keep reading to find out the differences between A Level Math and AP Calculus BC so that you can make an informed decision about which one is best for you. You might also enjoy reading: The 13 Most Difficult A-Level Subjects to Study.

A Level Math

Advanced Level (A-Level) Mathematics is a qualification for further education, mainly in the United Kingdom and other countries. It is designed to help students develop their understanding of mathematical principles through problem-solving, reasoning, and modeling.

A-level math covers topics such as:

  • Pure maths includes polynomials, complex numbers, differential equations, linear spaces, matrices, calculus, etc.
  • Mechanics includes simple harmonic motion, circular motion, momentum, moments of inertia, etc.
  • Statistics have bivariate data, hypothesis tests, confidence intervals, etc.

After A-level maths, students will be well prepared for college-level math courses and exams.

AP Calculus BC

Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus BC focuses on the advanced study of limits, derivatives, integrals, infinite series, and other related topics in calculus. This course begins with the fundamental concepts of differential calculus before moving on to integral calculus.

Additionally, AP Calculus BC also covers parametric equations and polar coordinates, as well as vector analysis in two-and three-dimensional spaces. Taking AP Calc BC gives students a foundation in calculus that they can use in college or pursue further studies in mathematics or science at a higher level.

The first thing to note is that A Level Math is mainly for students who plan to pursue their studies in the United Kingdom, while AP Calculus BC is an excellent choice if you plan to study in the United States of America.

Both A Level Math and AP Calculus BC are offered internationally and are both internationally recognized programs and provide the necessary prerequisites for maths at a higher level.

If you are currently studying for AP calculus BC, I encourage you to watch these free online videos.

A Level Math Vs. AP Calculus BC: Differences in content

When it comes to content, A Level Maths content is quite vast and rigorous and tends to be more challenging.

A level Further Maths program includes advanced calculus and other topics, including Pure Maths, Mechanics, Probability, and Statistics. In comparison, AP Calculus BC covers the material usually found in “Calculus II” courses at American universities.

Generally speaking, A level Further Maths course offers more variety in topics, but they are both excellent programs for ambitious students.

Both courses cover calculus. However, A Level Math focuses more heavily on pure mathematics, while AP Calculus BC contains more applied math topics such as differential equations and numerical methods. As a result, A Level Math, particularly A level Further mathematics can be seen as more challenging than AP Calculus BC.

Both AP Calculus BC and A Level Math courses require hard work and dedication and are an excellent choice for any student looking for a greater challenge.

AP Calculus BC( Source: College Board)A-level Further Mathematics(Source: AQA exam board)
Content – Limits and Continuity
– Differentiation: Definition and Fundamental Properties
– Differentiation: Composite, Implicit, and Inverse Functions
– Contextual Applications of Differentiation
– Analytical Applications of Differentiation
– Integration and Accumulation of Change
– Differential Equations
– Applications of Integration
– Parametric Equations, Polar Coordinates, and Vector-Valued Functions
– Infinite Sequences and Series
Pure Maths 
– Algebra
– Coordinate geometry
– Differentiation
– Integration
Sequences and Series
Pure, Statistics and Mechanics 

– Circle
– Trigonometry
– Exponential and logarithms
– Further Probability
– Discrete Random Variables
– Bernoulli and Binomial Distribution
– Motion in a straight line with constant acceleration
– Motion in a straight line with variable acceleration
– Forces and Newton’s Laws
– Momentum and Impulse
Pure Maths 
– Algebra and Functions
– Sequences and Series
– Coordinate Geometry in the (x, y) plane
– Trigonometry
– Exponentials and Logarithms
– Differentiation
– Integration
– Differential Equations
– Numerical Methods
– Vectors
Poisson Distributions

– Continuous Random Variables
– Exponential Distribution
– Normal Distribution
– Estimation
– Hypothesis Testing
Mathematical Modelling

– Kinematics
– Statics and Forces
– Newton’s Law of Motion
– Projectiles
– Work and Energy
– Uniform Circular Motion
Table Contains The Differences Between A Level Math And AP Calculus BC in terms of Content.

What to read next:

In Conclusion

When deciding between taking A-level math or AP calculus BC, I encourage you to consider your goals for the future. A Level Math is designed to prepare students for UK university admissions while AP Calculus BC prepares students for American university admissions.

No matter which route you choose, both A-level math or AP calculus BC will challenge your knowledge and prepare you for what lies ahead.


I am Altiné. I am the guy behind mathodics.com. When I am not teaching math, you can find me reading, running, biking, or doing anything that allows me to enjoy nature's beauty. I hope you find what you are looking for while visiting mathodics.com.

Recent Posts