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# How's discrete maths (ma210) as a second year choice?

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1. How's discrete maths (ma210) as a second year choice?
Hey, I'm a maths and econ students, thinking about my second year choices. Have anybody done MA210 before? How was it, eg exam, content, lecturer,etc. ? I went on its moodle page, it seems to have something to do with A-level decision, is that true? Thanks a lot in advance!!
2. Re: How's discrete maths (ma210) as a second year choice?
I guess it would be related to A-level Decision maths. If you're the sort of person who's good at discrete maths type problems (e.g. how many ways are there to get from the bottom left corner to the top right corner of a 3x3 grid, if you can only move up and right?) and enjoys them, then you'll really like MA210 - all the people who do it bang on about how it's the most amazing thing ever (I'm exaggerating, of course ) and the lecturer is supposedly really good too. Notes are a bit hit and miss though I think in MA210.
3. Re: How's discrete maths (ma210) as a second year choice?
(Original post by Swayum)
I guess it would be related to A-level Decision maths. If you're the sort of person who's good at discrete maths type problems (e.g. how many ways are there to get from the bottom left corner to the top right corner of a 3x3 grid, if you can only move up and right?) and enjoys them, then you'll really like MA210 - all the people who do it bang on about how it's the most amazing thing ever (I'm exaggerating, of course ) and the lecturer is supposedly really good too. Notes are a bit hit and miss though I think in MA210.
What would you say is the easiest half unit to go with MA203, particularly if you found MA103 hard
4. Re: How's discrete maths (ma210) as a second year choice?
(Original post by haqowado)
What would you say is the easiest half unit to go with MA203, particularly if you found MA103 hard

I personally found ma103 hard, that's why I'm trying to avoid as many courses with proofs as possible. I researched a bit on MA209 Differential equation. Although it has a high first/2:1 rate, there are loads of proofs. The good side is that some parts are similar to calculus.
5. Re: How's discrete maths (ma210) as a second year choice?
(Original post by haqowado)
What would you say is the easiest half unit to go with MA203, particularly if you found MA103 hard
I think virtually all people find MA203 easier than MA103, hence the really high 1st rate. I personally screwed up my 203 exam so badly I reckon I got a 3rd, but it was still an easy course I'd say.

In terms of your question though, it's hard for me to say when I've only done MA209 myself. I would think that MA209 is more analysis like than any of the others. I would say algebra + number theory is more like... algebra (e.g. group theory) than any of the others. So if you definitely want to avoid MA103, the choice comes down to optimisation vs discrete for you I guess. Optimisation is a hugely popular course and I would personally just go for that because the maths in it would be quite familiar, where as I think discrete can be more hit and miss. I think optimisation may have elements of MA103 in it. Discrete I don't know, I think it is actually quite proof based, but not like MA103 style - look up some past papers and see what the structure is.

(Original post by doughnutie)
I personally found ma103 hard, that's why I'm trying to avoid as many courses with proofs as possible. I researched a bit on MA209 Differential equation. Although it has a high first/2:1 rate, there are loads of proofs. The good side is that some parts are similar to calculus.
There aren't lots of proofs really. Sure, throughout the year, a large part of lectures is spent on proving theorems. In terms of the exam? You need to know maybe 2 really basic ones and 1 ridiculously complicated one which I don't think anyone bothers with. Over here, I'm talking about "prove theorem 4.5.5" sort of material. I think MA209 does word quite a few questions as "prove blah blah blah", but it's not really a proof of the style you see in MA103. There are some analysis like bits though, but they're largely glossed over or much easier than analysis type ones.

MA209 is basically just a list of theorems you need to memorise - a very long list of very long theorems, written in a very complicated and precise way. Apart from that, it's a really easy course. 40% of the marks in 2010 were given for writing out definitions that you're meant to memorise! Probably another 10 - 20% was just "bookwork". The last 40-50% was genuine maths, but a lot of which came up in past papers. The 2011 exam (which I just sat) was fairly straightforward also.

The department claims that there is no "easy" option to take here and this is one of the few things which I agree with. I think if you happen to be very good at discrete/counting type problems, discrete would be the easiest one, otherwise avoid like the plague. Out of the remaining 3, I think they're all really similar in terms of effort/intelligence required. If I had to pick, I'd argue that optimisation would be the easiest, but then I haven't studied it. Maybe wait till August for the lecturers to be revealed? Maybe look at the notes to see what they're like? I don't think the MA209 notes are very good - certainly the weekly exercises have NOTHING to do with the exam, so it's really annoying in Easter when you realise you don't know anything. Algebra + number theory is a dodgy one as it's a new course - few exam papers to go on/less practice available.
Last edited by Swayum; 01-07-2011 at 22:18.

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