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# STEP Prep Thread 2016 (Mark. II) watch

1. (Original post by drandy76)
Which one is stats, the one with those awful tables full of data?

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Probability is inferring a sample from the population.
Statistics is inferring the population from a sample.
2. (Original post by Insight314)
Alexis Kaminski. Did you have her?
No it's like we applied to different colleges lol.
3. (Original post by 13 1 20 8 42)
Warwick first year probability is taught terribly and it was still more interesting than stats
So approximately 1
Going to Warwick in October, how are the problem sheets and such? Do you get many very challenging problems or is it mainly practising the stuff you've learnt?
4. (Original post by IrrationalRoot)
Going to Warwick in October, how are the problem sheets and such? Do you get many very challenging problems or is it mainly practising the stuff you've learnt?
I wouldn't say most of them were particularly challenging in first year, but then most of the exams/modules weren't that challenging (overall anyway, there are some nasty questions). They take time and require thought and it is generally pretty stupid and ineffective to leave them really late, but they are nearly always doable. There are A, B and C questions; A are ones that on the whole are pretty easy and just for warm-ups, Bs are the assessed ones which need work but are still okay, Cs are unassessed and tend to be a bit harder (sometimes C questions or similar will come up on exams so they are worth doing as we all discovered in geometry and motion this year..) I often found, though this may simply be due to my lecture skipping habit, that I learnt the material through doing the assessments: I would necessarily read up on stuff in the lecture notes and then have to apply it in non-trivial ways and it made it stick fairly well.
5. (Original post by IrrationalRoot)
Going to Warwick in October, how are the problem sheets and such? Do you get many very challenging problems or is it mainly practising the stuff you've learnt?
Most of the questions on the problem sheets are applications of what has been learned. The difficulty of them varies from module to module - personally, I felt they were relatively hard when I was in the first year.
6. (Original post by shamika)
Agree with this (except if you are going to insist on starting early, do N&S. An easy introduction is given by Liebeck's book intro to pure maths). But you can get a high first without self studying in advance. Dabble if you really want, but definitely don't do it out of a mistaken belief you'll get left behind.
(Original post by shamika)
You know you can still go to the N&S and D&R lectures right? (They're scheduled so that they don't overlap.) For mathmos I still suggest N&S over Groups because it's a foundational course designed to get you infused to rigorous mathematics with objects (numbers and sets) which you'll be familiar with. If you don't want to do N&S, how about V&M? It's another foundational course that follows on from FP3.

Groups is probably the hardest of the lot you can start with, hence me suggesting otherwise to raff. It's entirely doable to self study though. Whatever you decide, don't waste money on textbooks - get lecture notes instead. A few mathmos have beautiful notes on their blogs which I'm sure you can find with some googling (hopefully some of those in Cambridge now can link to some). Ill put some suggestions for books to look at if you really want some, once you've decided which course you're going to start with
Aah yes. I'm trying to avoid N&S because a) I'm maths with physics, b) I'm just not to fond of it. I am really dabbling, as you nicely put it rather than really studying, because I've decided to lighten my workload and take a break after STEP. But V&M seemed rather interesting so I'm picking up a bit of that.

So I'm using Dr Stephen Cawley's 2010 notes primarily and Alan Beardon's Algebra and Geometry for reference for stuff I can't make head or tail of (since the schedule didn't have any daggered text book for V&M). Is there something you'd suggest would be nice material to begin with?
7. (Original post by Mathemagicien)

lol I guessed people didn't - Siklos is eventually going to have to fill STEP with GCSE level statistics just to get people to give the stats section a go

"Teenagers flood Twitter with statements of relief after opening STEP III and finding Q12 is a stem and leaf question".
8. (Original post by davros)

"Teenagers flood Twitter with statements of relief after opening STEP III and finding Q12 is a stem and leaf question".
I can't see how 500 candidates can flood Twitter but all right.
9. Easy stats questions in step is like the tree in the woods riddle "If there is an easy stats question but no one is there to read it, does it even count?"

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10. (Original post by 13 1 20 8 42)
I wouldn't say most of them were particularly challenging in first year, but then most of the exams/modules weren't that challenging (overall anyway, there are some nasty questions). They take time and require thought and it is generally pretty stupid and ineffective to leave them really late, but they are nearly always doable. There are A, B and C questions; A are ones that on the whole are pretty easy and just for warm-ups, Bs are the assessed ones which need work but are still okay, Cs are unassessed and tend to be a bit harder (sometimes C questions or similar will come up on exams so they are worth doing as we all discovered in geometry and motion this year..) I often found, though this may simply be due to my lecture skipping habit, that I learnt the material through doing the assessments: I would necessarily read up on stuff in the lecture notes and then have to apply it in non-trivial ways and it made it stick fairly well.
Ah thanks. About skipping lectures, don't they ask why when you don't attend one or do they not bother?
11. Are there any other Oxford offer holders who have done STEP for fun?

All I can say after STEP III is that I'm SUPER glad that I applied to Oxford lol.

Hope all the Cambridge/Warwick offer holders here meet their offers.

STEP is a b*tch.
12. (Original post by IrrationalRoot)
Ah thanks. About skipping lectures, don't they ask why when you don't attend one or do they not bother?
lol nah, no attendance for them so they don't know anyway. I missed an entire module (probability B) and all but two of fifteen lectures for another module (probability A..) They care if you skip tutorials or supervisions though.
13. (Original post by krishdesai7)
I'm using Dr Stephen Cawley's 2010 notes primarily
I've read those notes, he's hilarious. Sounds like a great lecturer.
14. (Original post by 13 1 20 8 42)
lol nah, no attendance for them so they don't know anyway. I missed an entire module (probability B) and all but two of fifteen lectures for another module (probability A..) They care if you skip tutorials or supervisions though.
Might do that for some lectures lol. How are the tutorials?
15. (Original post by IrrationalRoot)
Might do that for some lectures lol. How are the tutorials?
Tutorials..well mine haven't been the best as my tutor isn't. However he has at least given us some interesting problems and some of them have been quite fun. Supervisions are the more productive endeavour and my supervisor was mostly very good (supervisions are with a fourth year or PHD student and focus on the core modules, tutorials are with an academic who gives more general help)
16. (Original post by 13 1 20 8 42)
Tutorials..well mine haven't been the best as my tutor isn't. However he has at least given us some interesting problems and some of them have been quite fun. Supervisions are the more productive endeavour and my supervisor was mostly very good (supervisions are with a fourth year or PHD student and focus on the core modules, tutorials are with an academic who gives more general help)
Oh right, didn't realise there was a difference lol. Yeah I'd probably enjoy tutorials/supervisions more than lectures.
Last question, are many of the problems similar to STEP questions in style?
17. (Original post by IrrationalRoot)
Oh right, didn't realise there was a difference lol. Yeah I'd probably enjoy tutorials/supervisions more than lectures.
Last question, are many of the problems similar to STEP questions in style?
I wouldn't say so. I'd say there are two main types. There are questions which have the directness and technique-based emphasis of an A level question but with new techniques (well, sometimes - in modules like differential equations a lot of it you'll have already done). These (especially in geometry and motion) often tend to be more demanding in terms of the calculation/algebra skills. Then there are proof style questions, and in general you will be using more formality and more words than you would in STEP, especially with something like analysis, but it won't usually have a "trick" in the manner that STEP questions often do. It will often be a proof you can learn or similar to something you have already done.
It is very different to A level, but also different to STEP. I don't think STEP is as great a predictor as one may think cos honestly I found STEP a lot harder than I found the more demanding parts of first year, even though both require some out of the box thinking/ingenuity
18. (Original post by Zacken)
I've read those notes, he's hilarious. Sounds like a great lecturer.
Is there anything you haven't read, lol? I'm so scared I'll bottom the curve because Cambridge will be filled with genii (geniuses?) who know everything before they've even begin uni.

I know right. He's got these wry comments which never fail to put a smile on your face. He interviewed me and he frequently dropped these wry slightly sarcastic lines which made the interview a lot more chilled than I'd expected.
19. (Original post by krishdesai7)
Is there anything you haven't read, lol? I'm so scared I'll bottom the curve because Cambridge will be filled with genii (geniuses?) who know everything before they've even begin uni.
I should clarify: I read the first 10 pages or so and then realised I was in mid exam-season and put it away.

I know right. He's got these wry comments which never fail to put a smile on your face. He interviewed me and he frequently dropped these wry slightly sarcastic lines which made the interview a lot more chilled than I'd expected.
He interviewed you?! That's fantastic.
20. (Original post by 13 1 20 8 42)
I wouldn't say so. I'd say there are two main types. There are questions which have the directness and technique-based emphasis of an A level question but with new techniques (well, sometimes - in modules like differential equations a lot of it you'll have already done). These (especially in geometry and motion) often tend to be more demanding in terms of the calculation/algebra skills. Then there are proof style questions, and in general you will be using more formality and more words than you would in STEP, especially with something like analysis, but it won't usually have a "trick" in the manner that STEP questions often do. It will often be a proof you can learn or similar to something you have already done.
It is very different to A level, but also different to STEP. I don't think STEP is as great a predictor as one may think cos honestly I found STEP a lot harder than I found the more demanding parts of first year, even though both require some out of the box thinking/ingenuity
Oh ok, thanks. Yeah I'd like lots problems that require ingenuity; what I wouldn't like is just a load of application of methods/techniques. Ideally something similar to STEP problems since they were very enjoyable, but anything that requires ingenuity is good.
Either way at least it'll be better than A-Level maths/further maths. That stuff was genuinely painful.

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