Mathematics

University mathematics is in a way both the natural continuation of your school subject, and your first leap into a completely new and exciting field of study.  You will learn about familiar topics, for example calculus and geometry, and of course it would be impossible to begin these courses with no prior knowledge.  On the other hand you will have to master new skills, such as constructing rigorous proofs. You will encounter abstract objects which seem strange and exotic but which capture exactly the properties of space, structure, quantity and change.

I chose to study mathematics because I enjoyed solving problems and I loved the clarity and elegance of mathematical reasoning.

In the first year, you will take around twenty courses, split between the applied side of mathematics and the pure side. These include introductory courses which are taught at the start of the first term, which ensure everyone starts with a good foundation of knowledge.

A notable difference to school maths is that the material of each course is learnt primarily by attending lectures and through reading lecture notes and/or books. This places a large responsibility on the student, but lots of support is provided by your tutors in college.

Each week your college tutors set problem sheets, which are both for checking you are keeping up with the course and to push your understanding further. The problem sheets are discussed in tutorials, of which you have 3 to 4 of in a given week. Tutorials often involve a tutor talking with just 2 or 3 students, and so are great opportunities to ask questions.

The challenges a maths degree throws at you require logic, determination and creativity but the understanding it brings and the skills you acquire are a great reward.