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Mathematics involves numbers, shapes, algebra and many more topics, but it’s much more than that. It is the study of the ‘language of the universe’. The logic and examples that underpin many mathematical concepts existed long before mathematics was created, and we can use them to help us understand how things work. Maths is essential for understanding the sciences. For…

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What is mathematics?

Mathematics involves numbers, shapes, algebra and many more topics, but it’s much more than that. It is the study of the ‘language of the universe’. The logic and examples that underpin many mathematical concepts existed long before mathematics was created, and we can use them to help us understand how things work. Maths is essential for understanding the sciences. For example, physics can tell us how objects should behave due to gravity, which is supported by the diverse tools that mathematics provides.

Mathematics is one of the subjects many students find most challenging during their studies. The key to mastering mathematics is to learn where topics come from and how they are linked and complete lots of practice questions to know how to approach all kinds of problems.

At StudySmarter, you will find mathematics revision notes covering every aspect needed for your exams, complete with flashcards to help you practice and gain a solid grasp of the key concepts!

We can split Mathematics into many subtopics; however, there are three main areas: Pure maths, mechanics and statistics.

Topics and learning goals of pure maths

Pure maths is dedicated to the study of maths independent of its application, but many of the concepts can still be implemented in everyday life.

Mathematics, especially pure mathematics, tries to extract the main concepts behind operations and numbers and utilises these concepts using symbols and relationships. The work done can then be applied to different fields such as social sciences, logic, engineering, biology, chemistry, and physics. For instance, calculus is the basis of many engineering courses. Many of the topics within pure maths, such as vectors, geometry, algebra, and coordinate spaces relate to each other.

Within pure maths, you can find the following topics on StudySmarter:

  • Proof – the area of maths that includes the verification of math theorems and laws.

  • Algebra – the topic comprising the study of the types of numbers and mathematical operations.

  • Functions – comprises the understanding of the relationships between two groups of numbers, the function input (independent variable) and the function output (the dependent variable). The relationship is created by applying operations on the input to obtain the output.

  • Coordinate geometry – is the study of geometrical objects using a system to locate them in a space. An excellent example is Cartesian geometry which is the coordinate system you would use to know the positions of objects in a 3D space when studying triangles and other shapes.

  • Sequences and series – sequences are lists of numbers such as n,n2,n3,n4,n5… where all n numbers relate to each other. Series are the sums of sequences.

  • Trigonometry – examines geometrical objects in a coordinate space, strongly related to coordinate geometry.

  • Exponentials and logarithms – these are special functions in maths. They are different from the ones you study in ‘Functions’ as they introduce something called a limit. When this limit is reached, the changes to the function input (independent variable) will produce little to almost zero changes in the function output (dependent variable). These functions are widely used to model different mechanisms in biology, physics and other areas of science.

  • Differentiation – the area of pure maths used to measure the rate of change of one function. The modern basis of differentiation and integration was created by Isaac Newton and Wilhelm Leibniz. Differentiation is widely used in many areas of science and engineering, providing solutions for many practical problems such as heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and dynamics of systems in movement.

  • Integration – this is the inverse of differentiation, used for finding the area under a graph. You can use it to obtain many physical properties such as energy, work, area, and so on.

  • Numerical methods – this area uses mathematical approximations to solve problems that are difficult to solve using the standard mathematical tools. It is used in conjunction with differentiation and integration to solve many practical problems in engineering and science.

  • Vectors – vectors are representations used to model quantities that have a direction. A common example is the representation of wind. The vector will have two main properties which are a magnitude (value) and a direction. In the wind example, the magnitude is its speed and the direction where it is blowing is the vector direction.

Topics and learning goals of statistics

Statistics involves the collection, analysis, organisation and presentation of data. It allows you to obtain meaningful results and conclusions from data collected through experiments, surveys, interviews or observations. As a student, statistics provides other important areas of application for your knowledge of mathematics.Statistics is widely used in social sciences, economics, the natural sciences and engineering. There are many different techniques and models in statistics, and you’ll need to learn how and when to apply them.StudySmarter will help you understand statistics and covers sampling, data interpretation, distributions, and hypothesis testing.


The only way of ensuring data is accurate is to test every item or individual in a population.

Sampling is the method of extracting a subset of the population to make general statements or predictions about the dataset.

StudySmarter will help you to understand the basics of sampling and its methods.

Data interpretation

Once data has been collected, it needs to be interpreted to analyse it effectively and draw conclusions. This process uses key information from your data analysis.

It’s also helpful to represent the data in a graph or chart, so it’s easier to understand and identify patterns.

At StudySmarter, we will teach you how to extract key information such as the measures of central tendency. You will learn how to present this data using plots, graphs, histograms and so on.


Statistical outcomes can be modelled in different ways depending on the event. For example, some events are independent, meaning the likelihood of it occurring is unaffected by previous results, while some are dependent - one result affects another.

For this reason, different probability distributions can be used in different scenarios, such as normal, binomial and Poisson distributions.

StudySmarter will guide you through learning how to analyse data and derive information from its distribution.

Hypothesis testing

Before collecting and analysing data, you often predict the expected result. This is known as a hypothesis.

The process of hypothesis testing allows you to quantify the accuracy of your prediction. You will need to know how to test hypotheses for different probability distributions, but the general method is the same.

On StudySmarter, you will learn all about the procedure of hypothesis testing and when to apply them.

Topics and learning goals of mechanics

Mechanics studies the relationships between force, matter and motion. To do so, we use the tools of calculus, which was invented for this purpose.Mechanics involves using examples of systems in movement, using real-life simplified scenarios for more straightforward calculations. Examples include a box on a slope or a weight on a rope pulley.On StudySmarter, Mechanics is divided as shown below:

  • Quantities, Units and Assumptions

  • Kinematics

  • Forces and Newton’s Laws

Quantities, Units and Assumptions

This subtopic covers the fundamental knowledge you will need to solve problems involving mechanics. This includes common assumptions you make and their implications for your answer – e.g. if you assume there is no air resistance on a moving object, you will get a higher theoretical velocity than would be the case in practice. You will also learn key units and how to convert between them.


Kinematics is the mechanics of motion, including acceleration (both constant and variable) and parabolic motion (projectiles).

Within this subtopic, you will also learn how to use the equations of uniform acceleration (constant acceleration), a set of equations that link displacement (s), initial velocity (u), final velocity (v), acceleration (a) and time (t). We refer to these equations as suvat equations.

Forces and Newton’s laws

A force is a ‘push’ or ‘pull’ acting on an object, which might cause a change in its motion.

An example is gravity, which is always acting on Earth at a force of approximately 9.8 N on a unit mass object.

Forces appear in a variety of situations. On StudySmarter, you will learn how to calculate forces when applied parallel to the object in motion or at an angle to the object in motion (component forces).

An example of when forces have components is when a box slides over a slope.

Newton’s Laws are a set of three laws that define the interaction between forces, acceleration and movement. The third law can be summarised as ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’. We know that gravity is a force acting downwards, but in order to keep us in equilibrium, there must be some other force acting upwards, too - otherwise, we would sink into the ground!

How can StudySmarter support me through mathematics?

To gain a solid understanding of mathematics, it’s important to complete lots of practice questions to know which techniques you need to use in different situations and how to approach different types of questions. StudySmarter provides notes, flashcards, quizzes and other comprehensive revision materials to help you get top grades in your exams - completely free!

In addition, the StudySmarter app:

  • Creates an intelligent learning plan just for you.

  • Tracks your progress and motivates you with badges and awards.

  • Lets you quickly create notes and flashcards and share them with other students in your class. You can also join a wider learning community of other maths students.

By using our resources, you will be well prepared and confident for every level of exam.


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