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Studying Math in North America

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    I'm a UK university student considering a study abroad year (I study mathematics) and my friend just completed a year in Canada studying econ, but he said a lot of math students he spoke to complained about the style of teaching (not that it is bad, just that it was different to UK style and was hard to adapt to).So my question is, how are you taught over there? Do you get access to past papers? Do you get a lot of (preferably good) examples, and a lot of practice question? Do you have workshops with tutors where you go through questions and they help if required?These are the types of questions I'd like answered, thanks.Please state how you know about the teaching styles (from first hand experience or from friends etc etc) Thanks

    (Original post by irelandd)
    So my question is, how are you taught over there? Do you get access to past papers? Do you get a lot of (preferably good) examples, and a lot of practice question?
    Hey there,

    First of all, good effort on saying "Math" in the title opposed to "Maths" - you'll fit right into North America.

    I've only got experience of the teaching in the US, so what I'm going to say may not be completely relevant to Canada. The education systems are more similar than with the UK, but others may give better insight into the specifics of Canada.

    I studied abroad to California and the style of teaching was incredibly different. You are continually assessed, so you can be graded on class participation, weekly homeworks, midterm exams, final exams, class projects and so on. I am, and many other UK students are, used to having a final exam which constitutes, say, 80%+ of the overall grade. Whereas in the US, your final exam can be 40% of your overall grade. You have to keep on top of everything, missing a homework here and there can soon drop you a grade band down, so you do need to be very organized with all of your work.

    From my experience, I've never had any past papers, and they would rarely help anyway as exam formats and questions can vary a lot year to year. Practice questions were dependent on the professor, it's quite often where you would have tutorial sessions to go over homework questions or sample questions. Most of my work was through reading books. Almost every class I had required you to buy a book, and you NEEDED that book, it wasn't just recommended, it was your study material.

    Every single one of my professors were friendly, and encouraged students to go along to office hours, or to ask questions after class. Many classes will have one or two teaching assistants for similar purposes in getting help. This can range from how to solve a question (usually homework related) to what you should be reading.

    Just to note, none of this is necessarily bad - it's just very different from the UK system. After my first few months I had settled into it. My main issue was I had zero concept of what it would be like. It can be a bit overwhelming, but you get into the habit quick enough, there's plenty of help for you so it's perfectly manageable.

    Studying abroad was without doubt the best thing I've ever done, I honestly cannot recommend it enough. Read up on what to expect, be as prepared as possible and you'll adapt to it no problem. Keep on top of all of your work from day one and you'll get used to the teaching style.

    Hope this helps!

    Undergraduate Rep
    School of Engineering
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