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What to do Over Summer-Before doing Maths at University

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    I will be going to university after the summer (Oxford if I get the grades) and was wondering if there was anything useful I could do over the summer. I plan to keep doing STEP questions daily (partly because I want to keep my maths skills sharp, but mostly because I think they are great fun to do) and have a couple of book I will read. Can anybody who is doing maths at unviersity give me any advice? What did you do/what would have been useful to do?

    I plan to try to learn some basic programming, any recomendations for where to start with this and what languege would be most useful?
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    (Original post by james22)
    I will be going to university after the summer (Oxford if I get the grades) and was wondering if there was anything useful I could do over the summer. I plan to keep doing STEP questions daily (partly because I want to keep my maths skills sharp, but mostly because I think they are great fun to do) and have a couple of book I will read. Can anybody who is doing maths at unviersity give me any advice? What did you do/what would have been useful to do?

    I plan to try to learn some basic programming, any recomendations for where to start with this and what languege would be most useful?
    (a) You could have a go at some of the more challenging problems at

    https://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/prospecti...ctice-problems

    You may well be set these anyway as summer work by your tutor.

    (b) You could read the Department's Study Guide available at

    https://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/system/fi...de/index.shtml

    or look into some preparatory reading for the course:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Introductory...0189048&sr=8-1

    for the pure or

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mathematical...5&sr=1-1-fkmr1

    for the applied.
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    (Original post by RichE)
    ...
    Are there any particular areas that you feel are not taught properly/emphasised enough at a level?
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    (Original post by ben-smith)
    Are there any particular areas that you feel are not taught properly/emphasised enough at a level?
    The obvious choice is rigorous proof, but I think your future Cambridge tutors are best placed to say what will help with the step up to their course. More nebulously, the lack of coherence in the a-level syllabus, its bittiness and failure to present the "larger picture" of mathematics and inter-disciplinary connections is another big problem.

    In fact the latter is more of a failure from an a-level point of view as proof has only ever really played a relatively small part of the syllabus, even going back some years.
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    Some Maths
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    I would advise that you don't overthink this and try to work out a perfect program or anything. Just read and do anything that you find fun. The best thing would just be to take a break from being in work mode and arrive fresh in September ready to crack on.

    A summer really isn't that long - you don't need to keep fresh. I worked every summer during my undergrad and was working for a few months in between finishing my Masters and starting my PhD and did pretty much no maths and I don't think I suffered too badly for want of sharpness - that will always return pretty quickly after a break.
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    (Original post by james22)

    I plan to try to learn some basic programming, any recomendations for where to start with this and what languege would be most useful?
    Learn C++ (yes I'm biased because that's what I use). Some people may tell you it's too complicated for beginners but I don't think that's true

    It may also be worth finding out whether oxford use a particular language and learning that/something similar
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    Interesting thread. I was wondering similar things too. Have not done any proper maths outside a-levels in ages other than the casual question or so, which is a big shame. Might try the step 2012 papers timed.

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