What's the Difference Between Pure Math and Math Lit?

Math in general is not the easiest of subjects, and when you get to Grade 10 you are stuck with the decision between Pure Math and Math Lit, but what's the difference? Here we have the difference and the pros and cons of the two subjects.


In South Africa, Mathematics is one of the four compulsory subjects that we have to take. The only question is: Maths Literacy or Pure Maths. 

High school itself can be a rollercoaster but, on top of that we still have to face the dreaded question of "what do I want to be one day?" 

The answer to this question will impact the decision you make when choosing which subject you will be taking. 

When it comes to choosing between Pure Maths and Maths Lit, the decision can either be easy or difficult, but it helps to know what the difference between the two is. 

Pure Maths

Pure Maths is mostly seen as the less practical decision when it comes to the two, as it is not everyday math that you will be dealing with but, it seems to be more problem-solving  

When we think of pure math we think of, trigonometry, algebra and basic calculus. 

The downside to pure math is that it is difficult. Many students find themselves having to take extra classes and putting in extra hours in order to pass.

The upside to pure math is that it teaches you problem-solving skills. Another upside is you are more likely to get accepted into a mathematics based or even non-mathematic based tertiary institution with pure maths. 

Pure math is a subject you would need if you intended on going into a career in physics, engineering and most science based careers. 

Math Lit

You'll find that maths lit is more of an everyday type of math. 

Calculating budgets, investments and other commonplace problems are all a part of math lit. 

Now the downside to math lit is that it is slightly harder to get into university with. Taking math lit can automatically limit your career choices. You are less likely to be able to study things like accounting, medicine, engineering, physics, chemistry and IT at most institutions.

The pro to maths lit however is that it is far easier and you are likely to receive higher marks (that does however depend on you). The best part of maths lit is that you actually might use it everyday. 

If you are interested in a career in psychology, marketing, music or anything in the arts, maths lit is the way to go. 

The decision might not be the easiest, you really need to consider the kinds of limits both subjects put on you before making your final decision. 

Maths in general can be difficult but, the choice between Math lit and Pure math can make a big impact on your life, so choose wisely.

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