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    (Original post by souktik)
    Well, if the material is not particularly difficult, an otherwise bright student might not feel challenged enough to do well. Being academically motivated doesn't imply that one will be interested in exam techniques, etc as well for an otherwise easy course, in my opinion.
    That's exactly what I feel. Good GCSEs and to an extent A levels rarely every reflect how good you are at a subject, more how well suited your style is to exam technique - something less important and sought after in university examinations. With the exemption of maths and the like, it's all a game of exam technique nowadays, so one could in fact spend hours intrigued by wider material and learning, but sitting a written paper and not writing the perfect 'exam essay' where you need to exaggerate and make explicit exactly what the examiner has been trained to look for. For example, the tip endorsed by my economics textbook for AS was to start your essay with a definition. Correct me if I'm wrong, but since when was it conventional, interesting, or proper to start an essay or article without an introduction, but with a plain, rehearsed definition? Anyone can list and develop points that they've learnt in a book, whereas few can make judgments and evaluate based on their understanding.
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    (Original post by Alex_Aits)
    Well from what I hear I believe you get a relatively broad choice of modules from which you select, so you'd be foolish to pick a module that you won't enjoy!
    Also, A levels are just as good an indicator in that case, if not more so. Indeed they're more confined in terms of range of subjects but you study a wider range of topics within the subject(s) that you are likely to pursue further and meet similar topics (though obviously in greater detail and difficulty), so in essence if AS level results are poor then surely you're more destined to suffer at university?
    The points I made thereafter are probably more applicable either way.
    No, you will always have modules you don't get along with and it's rare for someone to actually enjoy every aspect of a module. In fact, I could easily give you areas of every option I took this year that I didn't particularly enjoy. The idea that, because you find maths interesting at A-Level you're going to like it all at university is very much an 'A-Level student' mindset, and I assumed this to an extent as well. It isn't true though, maths is so broad and even the syllabus of individual modules are broad enough for you to love some bits and really dislike others. Personally, I find studying maths at Oxford to be no less broad than doing ~12 GCSEs, there isn't really just one 'ability in maths' that seems to be the case at GCSE and A-Level.

    Take the second year topology long option, the first ~60% is entirely algebraic topology while the last ~40% is on simplicial complexes and surface - generally speaking people will take a preference to one over the other and, from those I know who took it, it was usually a very strong preference in the favour of one.
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    (Original post by Alex_Aits)
    ...
    I understand where you're coming from, but I think if everyone was able to demonstrate their wider reading and true interest in a certain area of the subject, it would become very difficult for exam boards to standardise the responses. Examiners would have to be very knowlegdeable about all areas of the subject to be able mark each script appropriately.

    I'm afraid, with exams as they are currently, they simply provide candidates with equally sized hoops to jump through, and judge who does it the best. It's the simplest (albeit, as you've pointed out, least imaginative) way to examine candidates.
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    (Original post by Noble.)
    No, you will always have modules you don't get along with and it's rare for someone to actually enjoy every aspect of a module. In fact, I could easily give you areas of every option I took this year that I didn't particularly enjoy. The idea that, because you find maths interesting at A-Level you're going to like it all at university is very much an 'A-Level student' mindset, and I assumed this to an extent as well. It isn't true though, maths is so broad and even the syllabus of individual modules are broad enough for you to love some bits and really dislike others. Personally, I find studying maths at Oxford to be no less broad than doing ~12 GCSEs, there isn't really just one 'ability in maths' that seems to be the case at GCSE and A-Level.

    Take the second year topology long option, the first ~60% is entirely algebraic topology while the last ~40% is on simplicial complexes and surface - generally speaking people will take a preference to one over the other and, from those I know who took it, it was usually a very strong preference in the favour of one.
    Yeah that's fair enough - but don't assume that I adopt a permanent mindset just because I state it. I'm just throwing out ideas that cross my mind. I also never stated that I believe that A level mathematics is anything near university mathematics - I know for a fact that it's not, I'm friends with many people who take mathematics at university level, and made sure that the type of problem sheets that are set, however variable they are, are of the type that I would enjoy to complete.
    I also think it's a lot to do with your school - when you have nobody who's interested or any teachers to push you, it's difficult especially at that age to be motivated - the only subject where this was the case was mathematics! I had a whole burst of motivation and determination when I moved, especially with one absolute machine of a mathematician to sit next to! That's what I presume it'd be like to study at an institution such as Oxbridge, Warwick, Imperial and the like: plenty of people who's enthusiasm you can bounce off and an environment in which you can develop and follow your own enthusiasm!
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    (Original post by alexmufc1995)
    This must just be me, but I don't understand this^^

    If someone handed me a 6 year old's Maths paper, I'd still want to get 100%, whether I felt challenged or not
    Well, I don't know if I can say the same. I took the SAT, where the mathematics section was so ridiculously easy that I found it very hard to concentrate on the questions. For practice, I took 5 full length mocks, and got stuff wrong on all but one (you know, + instead of -, 17 instead of 71, misreading questions, etc). In the actual test I managed to somehow concentrate and not do anything stupid, but I wasn't quite confident of a full score before the test precisely because it was easy to the point of being singularly boring.

    I understand why it's important to test whether or not a student is doing challenging work that they might not enjoy, though.
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    (Original post by Noble.)
    No, you will always have modules you don't get along with and it's rare for someone to actually enjoy every aspect of a module. In fact, I could easily give you areas of every option I took this year that I didn't particularly enjoy. The idea that, because you find maths interesting at A-Level you're going to like it all at university is very much an 'A-Level student' mindset, and I assumed this to an extent as well. It isn't true though, maths is so broad and even the syllabus of individual modules are broad enough for you to love some bits and really dislike others. Personally, I find studying maths at Oxford to be no less broad than doing ~12 GCSEs, there isn't really just one 'ability in maths' that seems to be the case at GCSE and A-Level.

    Take the second year topology long option, the first ~60% is entirely algebraic topology while the last ~40% is on simplicial complexes and surface - generally speaking people will take a preference to one over the other and, from those I know who took it, it was usually a very strong preference in the favour of one.
    Oh god no!!!!
    Please stop before I fully decide not to do Maths at Uni (something I have been wanting to do for a VERY long time).
    GCSE was possibly the most depressing 2 years of my life. Leave me be with my naivety.
    If maths at Uni is in anyway similar to my GCSE experience, I will automatically take up a BTEC in Hair and Beauty in the hope of savouring my last dream in life which is to cut a perfectly spherical Afro. I will then proceed to suffocate myself with this afro and die a slow, dark and painless death
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    (Original post by souktik)
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    I think, mathematically, you're probably on a whole other level to me, which is probably why this disparity is arising

    I've never really considered myself to be particularly talented at Maths; I was honestly very shocked when I got an offer. I think it's just my competitiveness which has got me this far!
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    (Original post by alexmufc1995)
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    That's not true!
    I'm sorry if I came across as rude and condescending in the last post, I was just saying that easy stuff can be, well, a little boring. I would rather take a difficult course where I'm likely to be an average performer than an easy course in which I know that I can be in the top 5% if I just brush up exam techniques. In fact, I just might screw up the latter because I would lack the intent to excel, while I might do decently in the former because I would feel the need to prove to myself that I can handle the difficulty.
    Okay, now I've deviated completely from GCSEs and all, but I shouldn't be commenting on them anyway as I have no idea what they're like.
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    (Original post by souktik)
    That's not true!
    I'm sorry if I came across as rude and condescending in the last post, I was just saying that easy stuff can be, well, a little boring. I would rather take a difficult course where I'm likely to be an average performer than an easy course in which I know that I can be in the top 5% if I just brush up exam techniques. In fact, I just might screw up the latter because I would lack the intent to excel, while I might do decently in the former because I would feel the need to prove to myself that I can handle the difficulty.
    Okay, now I've deviated completely from GCSEs and all, but I shouldn't be commenting on them anyway as I have no idea what they're like.
    Don't be silly, I didn't think that at all! Remember I also applied for St. John's, but they didn't want me so I was moved elsewhere - I have a lot of respect for you, since I believe that your MAT score was almost k times mine (where k is the first prime)


    At the end of the day, as long as we both make it (aka I meet my offer) it doesn't matter about our ideas towards assessment - we'll talk about it over a drink in Oxford
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    (Original post by alexmufc1995)
    At the end of the day, as long as we both make it (aka I meet my offer) it doesn't matter about our ideas towards assessment - we'll talk about it over a drink in Oxford
    I'll look forward to that.

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    (Original post by Noble.)
    Take the second year topology long option, the first ~60% is entirely algebraic topology while the last ~40% is on simplicial complexes and surface - generally speaking people will take a preference to one over the other and, from those I know who took it, it was usually a very strong preference in the favour of one.
    I guess you mean analytic (or general) topology - it is the simplicial complexes/classification of surfaces material that most resembles algebraic topology (or perhaps combinatorial topology would best describe that bit of the course). Only mention this as there are later courses entitle Algebraic Topology and didn't want you to have the wrong idea.
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    (Original post by RichE)
    I guess you mean analytic (or general) topology - it is the simplicial complexes/classification of surfaces material that most resembles algebraic topology (or perhaps combinatorial topology would best describe that bit of the course). Only mention this as there are later courses entitle Algebraic Topology and didn't want you to have the wrong idea.
    Yeah, sorry I did mean analytic topology; it's been a loooong couple of weeks.:lol:
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    (Original post by Alex_Aits)
    Well from what I hear I believe you get a relatively broad choice of modules from which you select, so you'd be foolish to pick a module that you won't enjoy! .
    You say that, but the 1st year has no options so you're definitely going to find something you won't like there and although you start picking options, you're going to be limited by past experiences and how good you are.

    For example, I look at the 2nd year options, and I believe I have to pick 5 of the 9 long options to take next year. There are 3 courses I'm probably not going to do, and the chances of me liking all 5 of the remaining 6 is going to be pretty damn low. It's a shame I have to look at the courses and think, can I get a decent mark from this rather than think, this looks interesting, let's take it.
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    (Original post by arrow900)
    Oh god no!!!!
    Please stop before I fully decide not to do Maths at Uni (something I have been wanting to do for a VERY long time).
    GCSE was possibly the most depressing 2 years of my life. Leave me be with my naivety.
    If maths at Uni is in anyway similar to my GCSE experience, I will automatically take up a BTEC in Hair and Beauty in the hope of savouring my last dream in life which is to cut a perfectly spherical Afro. I will then proceed to suffocate myself with this afro and die a slow, dark and painless death
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    Haha, don't worry you won't be alone. I imagine the vast majority experience a bit of a shock to the system starting undergraduate maths, don't let it put you off though.
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    (Original post by Blazy)
    You say that, but the 1st year has no options so you're definitely going to find something you won't like there and although you start picking options, you're going to be limited by past experiences and how good you are.

    For example, I look at the 2nd year options, and I believe I have to pick 5 of the 9 long options to take next year. There are 3 courses I'm probably not going to do, and the chances of me liking all 5 of the remaining 6 is going to be pretty damn low. It's a shame I have to look at the courses and think, can I get a decent mark from this rather than think, this looks interesting, let's take it.
    I'm sure you'll be fine! To be fair, in every branch of mathematics that I've studied, without a doubt I've found some difficult, but I'd be hesitant to say I haven't enjoyed any one topic. Inevitably, you'd have studied a wider range than myself, but presumably it depends on what sort of person you are. I seem to find written subjects the most cumbersome and demotivating but I find in mathematics it's more of an enjoyment to work through something I'm not too keen on - knowing that there'll be that rewarding feeling at the end - unlike in other subjects where satisfaction is limited however hard you work.
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    (Original post by Alex_Aits)
    ...
    If it helps I tried to sum up the differences between uni maths and school maths in the following post:

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...05#post8303905
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    (Original post by RichE)
    If it helps I tried to sum up the differences between uni maths and school maths in the following post:

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...05#post8303905
    As I mentioned previously, I do in fact know the differences between university maths and A level maths... I've had plenty of exposure to the difference and am confident that I'll enjoy it...
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    (Original post by RichE)
    If it helps I tried to sum up the differences between uni maths and school maths in the following post:

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...05#post8303905
    The information you've given is helpful regardless so thanks for that!
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    (Original post by Blazy)
    You say that, but the 1st year has no options so you're definitely going to find something you won't like there and although you start picking options, you're going to be limited by past experiences and how good you are.

    For example, I look at the 2nd year options, and I believe I have to pick 5 of the 9 long options to take next year. There are 3 courses I'm probably not going to do, and the chances of me liking all 5 of the remaining 6 is going to be pretty damn low. It's a shame I have to look at the courses and think, can I get a decent mark from this rather than think, this looks interesting, let's take it.
    You really should pick options on the basis of what you find interesting (and I don't mean just superficial interest, but from actually having a small introduction to the course and making a determination based on that). You should remember that the courses you think you can get a good mark on are going to correspond to the courses a lot of other people can also get a good mark on (I think statistics is one good example of this, I didn't take it but from what I hear it has fairly consistent high grade boundaries - remember that getting 70% raw marks on a paper doesn't guarantee a first)

    Which three did you decide you weren't going to do?
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    (Original post by Noble.)
    You really should pick options on the basis of what you find interesting (and I don't mean just superficial interest, but from actually having a small introduction to the course and making a determination based on that). You should remember that the courses you think you can get a good mark on are going to correspond to the courses a lot of other people can also get a good mark on (I think statistics is one good example of this, I didn't take it but from what I hear it has fairly consistent high grade boundaries - remember that getting 70% raw marks on a paper doesn't guarantee a first)

    Which three did you decide you weren't going to do?
    Yeah, I think I just need to take time off and then look at the stuff again later with a more open mind. Thanks for the advice.

    I've been pretty poor this year in terms of actually learning the maths - I got on fine the past two terms but then when it came to Trinity, I realised I didn't really know a lot - I made the mistake of just getting sheets done and not actively learning the maths, though I'm sure I'm not the only one - potential undergrads, do take note of this.

    Topology - I don't really have much interest in it, and judging by the notes, it resembles analysis which I never really got to grips with...

    Numerical Analysis - I can't stand MATLAB

    Waves and Fluids - This one could still return to my list. There's quite a lot of calculus which might not be too bad, but I think I would be more interested in the other 6 modules.

    I just need a long break to be honest
 
 
 
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