For parents and students alike, choosing the appropriate SACE courses can be a challenging and confusing experience, especially when there are a number of options, as is the case with mathematics.

This guide, produced by our vastly experienced maths tutors, is designed to assist parents and pupils to understand the various SACE mathematics courses that are available in order to help you to make better informed choices and to ensure that you are choosing a course that is appropriate for your needs and capabilities.

Mathematical Methods v Mathematical Studies

There is a large degree of overlap in terms of content in these two subjects. Both include units on Matrices, Statistics, Exponents and Logarithms, Differential Calculus, and Modelling. The major difference is that the Mathematical Methods course includes a unit on Linear Modelling that features Linear Programming, whereas this unit is not covered in Mathematical Studies. Instead, Mathematical Studies includes a unit on Integral Calculus, which is not found in Mathematical Methods .

There are also some differences within the common topics. For example, Mathematical Methods students are expected to know and use residuals when discussing models. In addition, while both Mathematical Methods and Mathematical Studies students study Confidence Intervals in Statistics, Hypothesis Testing is only covered by Mathematical Studies students.

There are also more subtle differences between the subjects. Methods tends to concentrate on the applications of the mathematics and while this is also true for Studies, there is more of an expectation in the latter that students will be familiar with the theoretical aspects of the topics. The other difference is perhaps harder to quantify, but the general feeling is that Mathematical Methods is slightly “easier” than Mathematical Studies.

An important point which should be taken into account when deciding which of these two subjects you choose is how they are viewed by Universities. From 2016, all students who achieve at least a C- in Mathematical Studies will gain 2 Bonus Points from all three South Australian universities when calculating their ATAR. These Bonus Points are not gained by Mathematical Methods students.

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