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In the first year, students learn how to

differentiate and integrate polynomials

deal with negative and fractional powers,

use derivatives to find and classify stationary points, find equations of tangents and normals

solve polynomial differential equations of the form dy/dx=p(x) with a simple boundary condition

use calculus in the context of simple rate-of-change and maximisation problems

use logs to base 10, 2, a etc to solve equations and manipulate expressions (no calculus)

solving trigonometrical problems involving sin, cos, tan (no calculus)

In the second year, students learn how to

use ex

and ln x algebraically, as for logs to other bases in the previous year


differentiate and integrate sin, cos, tan, ex

, ln x

use the chain rule, product rule, quotient rule

integrate by parts, by substitution and by inspection (typically fractions resulting in ln (v(x)))

use cot, sec, cosec and associated trigonometrical identities including to facilitate calculus

solve seperable first order differential equations

use calculus with transendental functions to model growth and decay and rates of change

Note that in the first year, treatment of the derivative as a limit is encouraged by the specification but not
assessed. An additional A-level qualification called Further Mathematics is available that includes the study of
limits, but it is taken by a self-selecting minority of students.
Individual schools and examining boards are free to stage this as they please within the year, some covering all
of first year differentiation in the first term followed by all of first year integration in the second term, others
splitting the terms as calculus with positive integer powers then calculus with fractional and negative powers.

Advantages and Disadvantages I have come across for this two year
arrangement
Restriction to polynomials in the first year
The restriction to polynomials in the first year helps students become familiar with them, and is very helpful at
first.
However there are significant problems in the second year with over-generalisation of the method, particularly
when x appears as a power.
[Admittedly, over-generalisation is common elsewhere with linearity/the distributive law being a student
favourite, seemingly unbounded in the contexts in which it can be misapplied (logs, squares, square roots, 3(xy)
etc etc).]

If we were to introduce how to differentiate sin, cos and ex


in the first year, students might be less inclined to over-generalise, but there's no guarantee that that's the case.
Introduction of transendental functions
Introducing these is in my view necessary to motivate the product rule and integration by parts, otherwise in the
presence of polynomials alone it becomes a rather bizzare way of obtaining the correct result. It also provides a
much richer and diverse set of examples to use for all the calculus techniques of the second year.
I certainly use x2
and polynomial products as very early examples of the product rule, because it's then clear to students that
multiplying the derivative of two factors gives the wrong answer.
However I believe it's important to use these functions as much as possible and in as many different
combinations from as early as possible (we do so at our college as soon as we start second year work), precisely
because they behave very differently to each other and to polynomials, so that the students have a better
understanding of calculus which they would otherwise perceive as primarily about powers and coefficients.

Summary
Were I at liberty to alter the split, I would introduce sin, cos and ex
alongside polynomials and fractional/negative powers in the first year, including in simple differential
equations.
I believe early diversity is helpful in correctly generalising concepts from examples to principles, and the longer
they are exposed to these beautiful and interesting functions the better they will be able to deal with them.