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!
Transitioning to university learning involves a notable shift toward independent study. To prepare for this, engaging in extra reading becomes crucial, whether it involves understanding concepts like “what is 1600 military time and how to calculate it” or exploring historical applications of mathematics, such as its use in the Roman Empire to solve intricate problems. This proactive approach before commencing your degree equips you with valuable background knowledge, aiding in the assimilation of initial lectures and assessments. Universities often provide recommended reading lists; choosing books from these lists or exploring second-hand copies can be cost-effective. Additionally, regular visits to the local library can support your research. As you delve into your readings, take diligent notes and actively apply mathematical principles for a comprehensive understanding.
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.