Unit 2 Higher: Number and Algebra

This unit covers all the number work tested without a calculator including:

  • the four rules of arithmetic applied to any number including surds
  • approximation and estimation to find solutions
  • understanding index laws including manipulation of negative and fractional indices
  • elements of algebra including solving simultaneous equations and quadratics without the formula
  • sequences
  • some linear graphic work.

Functional elements are less evident in this unit and it contains the highest proportion of straightforward questions drawn from Assessment Objective 1. There are, however, opportunities to select and apply skills and solve problems.

Students should be familiar with:

  • Working with numbers and the number system
  • Fractions, decimals and percentages
  • Ratio and proportion
  • The language of algebra
  • Expressions and equations
  • Sequences, functions and graphs.

There are interlinking strands between these skills so content will impact on teaching approaches.
Here, content is split into:

Depending on your teaching order, some content may already have been covered in Unit 1. However, the Assessment Guidance does cover all the specfiication references in detail. Unit 1 will usually assess number skills in a statistical context; this unit, however, may test these skills discretely. Although the unit has a significant focus on algebraic assessment, some teachers may choose to teach this unit first to ensure that the number work for all three units is addressed early in the study.

In areas where content is common across units, teachers are advised to look closely at the Assessment Guidance for details of where specific content will be assessed. For example N6.12, which refers to plotting graphs, appears in Unit 2 and Unit 3 but assessment of distance-time graphs only appears in Unit 2. Further algebraic content is featured in Unit 2 / Unit 3 due to the need for a calculator.