So, you’ve been offered a place on a maths degree course – congratulations! This is an exciting time for any student and you are probably feeling thrilled, but perhaps also a little apprehensive and unsure of what to expect. To help you best prepare for this next step, there are some simple things you could do over summer to get started.
Keep your mind sharp
It’s easy to become complacent in the months between your A-level exams and your first week at university. After all, you deserve a break after all that hard work, right? While it’s good to take time to recharge your batteries, you’ll need to do some preparation for your new course over the long summer break to keep your mind sharp and ensure you’re mentally prepared for the step up that higher level education brings.
Some universities will provide new undergraduates with revision work to complete before they arrive, which goes over key topics to ensure you have a sound understanding of these principles. If your university doesn’t do this, you can prepare yourself by going over some fundamental A-level topics such as Algebra, Calculus, Logarithms and Trig Identities. You can find some helpful quizzes and revision material online to help you so do look!
University learning will be quite different to your experience of education so far, with much more independent study involved. Doing some extra reading before you start your degree course is a great way to prepare for this and will provide you with valuable background knowledge to help you with your first lectures and assessments. Your university may have issued a reading list with some recommended texts, so select a few books from this as a starting point to give you a better idea of what to expect from your studies. Mathematics books can be expensive, so look for second-hand copies or visit your local library for your research. As you read, remember to take notes and try out some of the maths as you go.
Although there’s a wealth of funny animal videos online that you could spend hours watching, there is in fact a more productive way to spend time on YouTube, and it could help you immensely with your future studies. Next time you’re browsing take a look at some mathematical videos, which cover every topic you could imagine. These videos are a great way to learn about new topics or brush up on old ones and can help you gain a broader understanding of the principles you’ll be studying at university.
Enrolling in a summer school will give you a feel for what it’s like to study maths at university and can give you a head start on other students by equipping you with some of the key skills you’ll need during your first year. Immerse Education’s Cambridge Summer School offers a fantastic mathematics programme that bridges the gap between school and undergraduate level maths by introducing students to higher level content in a way that is comprehensible and engaging. Each two-week summer school Cambridge programme is led by expert tutors who guide participants to develop their knowledge and approach challenging material with confidence.
Don’t let rumours about how challenging a maths degree is get you into a panic before you start university. Although mathematics at degree level is a big step up from A-level, you’ve been accepted onto a course because you got the grades and you have the potential to succeed. As long as you are willing to work hard and prepare yourself using these methods, there’s no reason you shouldn’t thrive on your course and enjoy the challenge it brings.