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The difference between a 2:1 and a First with regards to career opportunities? Watch

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    It's recently come to my attention, with the help of some family members, that I'm (apparently) putting too much pressure on myself to achieve a first.

    How much more of an advantage does a first class mathematics degree give me than an upper second class one?

    Will I see a significant increase in job offers or interviews?

    Also, slightly off topic, but what do you do when you have an incompetent lecturer, he's provided no answers to his homework solutions, textbooks are too complicated to teach the basics and the rest of your course apart from the two immensely naturally gifted people understand the content either? The course is being scrapped next year, too.
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    gaining a first is meant to push you to your 'limits'. Keep at it, getting a 2:1 or first is good either way, but aim for gold, not silver
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    there is none
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    (Original post by wanderlust.xx)
    How much more of an advantage does a first class mathematics degree give me than an upper second class one?
    2:1 = McDonalds
    First = Burger King

    I'd be surprised if it makes any difference outside of applying for postgrad.

    (Original post by wanderlust.xx)
    Also, slightly off topic, but what do you do when you have an incompetent lecturer, he's provided no answers to his homework solutions, textbooks are too complicated to teach the basics and the rest of your course apart from the two immensely naturally gifted people understand the content either? The course is being scrapped next year, too.
    You sit down and realise that your lecturer isn't being incompetent and by not providing answers to his homeworks he is doing you a favour by making you do your own work for at least 5% of your degree rather than spooning down the other 95% from printed lecture notes and model answers etc.

    I think it is pathetic how little people are expected to do to get a maths degree in the UK. People get firsts without ever having to go to the library and getting a book out or otherwise learn how to access material for themselves.
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    (Original post by Jake22)
    You sit down and realise that your lecturer isn't being incompetent and by not providing answers to his homeworks he is doing you a favour by making you do your own work for at least 5% of your degree rather than spooning down the other 95% from printed lecture notes and model answers etc.

    I think it is pathetic how little people are expected to do to get a maths degree in the UK. People get firsts without ever having to go to the library and getting a book out or otherwise learn how to access material for themselves.
    Well, if the class agrees that he hasn't taught us well, then surely there's some logic backed up in there somewhere?

    I agree, the solutions aren't needed. He did not, however, make the subject entertaining. Not to mention the fact that, since it's a new course, there are no previous papers either and no scope to see whether what you're learning is actually correct or not.

    Of course, I'd be happy with it all if I didn't have another 7 modules to learn with it, and perhaps if the other lecturers were happy with his methods, the students would be more grateful.
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      (Original post by wanderlust.xx)
      Well, if the class agrees that he hasn't taught us well, then surely there's some logic backed up in there somewhere?

      I agree, the solutions aren't needed. He did not, however, make the subject entertaining. Not to mention the fact that, since it's a new course, there are no previous papers either and no scope to see whether what you're learning is actually correct or not.

      Of course, I'd be happy with it all if I didn't have another 7 modules to learn with it, and perhaps if the other lecturers were happy with his methods, the students would be more grateful.
      Don't you have tutorials/seminars? That's where you find out your weaknesses and get answers to your questions.
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      It depends on your career aspirations. It probably won't make much of a difference outside of academia but within academia, especially in very highly technical field of study, the difference in quality of a student who gets a First and 2.1 can be quite remarkable.
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      (Original post by cybergrad)
      Don't you have tutorials/seminars? That's where you find out your weaknesses and get answers to your questions.
      The problem here was that the lecturer was running these, but only once every 3 weeks. For the other two weeks he had postgraduate students running them and they couldn't explain much at all. Not to mention the workshops he cancelled.

      We don't have tutorials in the second and third year either, and my advisor isn't specialized in group theory.

      In response to the other question, I wouldn't want to do anything that required any rigerous research... Probably just Finance or teaching or some sort of Admin job, really.
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        (Original post by wanderlust.xx)
        The problem here was that the lecturer was running these, but only once every 3 weeks. For the other two weeks he had postgraduate students running them and they couldn't explain much at all. Not to mention the workshops he cancelled.

        We don't have tutorials in the second and third year either, and my advisor isn't specialized in group theory.

        In response to the other question, I wouldn't want to do anything that required any rigerous research... Probably just Finance or teaching or some sort of Admin job, really.
        Such things happen in every university even in the Russell Group(speaking from experience), sometimes the lecturer will be present and sometimes the postgraduates with the solutions in hand or sometimes both. Most modules have tutorials every two weeks or so. About the lecturer not doing a good job at teaching, again, it happens in every university some of them are "forced" to take up a module even though they are not interested in it, it is just part of their contract. You have to stick with it and learn as much as you can from his notes and tutorials and the rest from textbooks. What you see now happening at university will also happen at the work place, there will be times that you will be given a job to do without much help or support and yet, you are expected to do well. You have to learn how to adapt to such situations, you have left your family home now, it is part of the learning process.
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        if u work in the hr, u probably get
        2.1, 2.1, 2.1, 2.1, 2.1, 1, 2.1, 2.1, 2.1, 2.1, 2.1, 1, 2.1, 2.1, 2.1, 2.1, 2.1 . . . . .
        and u pick 5 for the next round.
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        (Original post by wanderlust.xx)
        Well, if the class agrees that he hasn't taught us well, then surely there's some logic backed up in there somewhere?

        I agree, the solutions aren't needed. He did not, however, make the subject entertaining. Not to mention the fact that, since it's a new course, there are no previous papers either and no scope to see whether what you're learning is actually correct or not.

        Of course, I'd be happy with it all if I didn't have another 7 modules to learn with it, and perhaps if the other lecturers were happy with his methods, the students would be more grateful.
        I believe that the lecturer's only job is to make sure that students in her lecture course know what they are supposed to learn about. I think that maths students are too used to being spoon fed everything. I think that it should be the students responsibility to go off and find a book and try to understand the material. If you are doing a maths degree and aren't able to tell for yourself whether things are right or wrong then there is no point in knowing - it means that you don't understand the material.
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        (Original post by cybergrad)
        Such things happen in every university even in the Russell Group(speaking from experience), sometimes the lecturer will be present and sometimes the postgraduates with the solutions in hand or sometimes both. Most modules have tutorials every two weeks or so. About the lecturer not doing a good job at teaching, again, it happens in every university some of them are "forced" to take up a module even though they are not interested in it, it is just part of their contract. You have to stick with it and learn as much as you can from his notes and tutorials and the rest from textbooks. What you see now happening at university will also happen at the work place, there will be times that you will be given a job to do without much help or support and yet, you are expected to do well. You have to learn how to adapt to such situations, you have left your family home now, it is part of the learning process.
        +1

        It is pathetic what universities have become since students became customers. I don't think teaching should have as much emphasis in undergraduate education as it would seem students demand. I think by this level students should expect guidance and learn how to learn for themselves.

        All of this pussying around with mock exam solutions and model answers is just like killing people with kindness. It just promotes formulaic and rote learning rather then forcing people to buck up and try to understand something.
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        (Original post by Jake22)
        2:1 = McDonalds
        First = Burger King

        I'd be surprised if it makes any difference outside of applying for postgrad.
        Hmm, how big is it in postgrad. Like instant rejection if you get 2:1. I should get a first through.

        (Original post by Jake22)
        It is pathetic what universities have become since students became customers. I don't think teaching should have as much emphasis in undergraduate education as it would seem students demand. I think by this level students should expect guidance and learn how to learn for themselves.
        I agree with this. The big problem is that students have paid £3,000 a year to do it. So the idea that you should be paying someone so you can learn for yourself seems like a scam.


        (Original post by wanderlust.xx)
        We don't have tutorials in the second and third year either, and my advisor isn't specialized in group theory.
        You don't need a expert to teach first year or even second year. I'm pretty sure the first three years are not taught by a specialist and they circle the lecturers, so one year you could have an algebra researcher teaching analysis.

        (Original post by shiny)
        It depends on your career aspirations. It probably won't make much of a difference outside of academia but within academia, especially in very highly technical field of study, the difference in quality of a student who gets a First and 2.1 can be quite remarkable.
        I heard other people say the opposite. I remember MrShifty say something along the lines of a 10% difference among undergrad doesn't say anything. To get a first doesn't seem that hard, just do the example sheets over and over again and learn the proofs.
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        (Original post by Simplicity)
        I agree with this. The big problem is that students have paid £3,000 a year to do it. So the idea that you should be paying someone so you can learn for yourself seems like a scam.
        Rubbish. It isn't (or shouldn't be) a service industry. Academic staff don't make you cups of tea and leave mints on the lecture theatre seats just because you have shelled out a few quid.
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        (Original post by Jake22)
        I believe that the lecturer's only job is to make sure that students in her lecture course know what they are supposed to learn about. I think that maths students are too used to being spoon fed everything. I think that it should be the students responsibility to go off and find a book and try to understand the material. If you are doing a maths degree and aren't able to tell for yourself whether things are right or wrong then there is no point in knowing - it means that you don't understand the material.
        What about those many times you think you're right but there's a flaw in your proof? Or what if you have a solution but there is a much better way to do things?
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        (Original post by Jake22)
        Rubbish. It isn't (or shouldn't be) a service industry. Academic staff don't make you cups of tea and leave mints on the lecture theatre seats just because you have shelled out a few quid.
        If you're paying tuition fees then you should be receiving (good) tuition. You can't just imply it's right for students to pay thousands in tuition fees and yet receive little to no teaching, on the premise of 'learning for yourself'. That's a glaring flaw in all your arguments.

        Why even do a degree then, why not just learn the stuff at home, perhaps with the aid of a local library to use books? And the internet? Well, people need the 'piece of paper' for jobs, so uni becomes a job factory, thus charging people ...

        I'm sure many students would be happy for fees to be scrapped and for them to learn the stuff alone, since many end up doing so anyway e.g.) thread starter. But the unis want their money, so the students expect the service in return.

        Fair is fair. A scam shouldn't be ran, which Simplicity correctly refers to.
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        (Original post by Dirac Delta Function)
        What about those many times you think you're right but there's a flaw in your proof? Or what if you have a solution but there is a much better way to do things?
        Students pay fees so they expect a decent service. If one proposes students to be self-learning and pro-active, then scrapping fees and forcing them to self-teach is the solution. But unis want their money. It's about money, not education.
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        (Original post by Physics Enemy)
        If you're paying tuition fees then you should be receiving (good) tuition. You can't just imply it's right for students to pay thousands in tuition fees and yet receive little to no teaching, on the premise of 'learning for yourself'. That's a glaring flaw in all your arguments.

        Why even do a degree then, why not just learn the stuff at home, perhaps with the aid of a local library to use books? And the internet? Well, people need the 'piece of paper' for jobs, so uni becomes a job factory, thus charging people ...

        I'm sure many students would be happy for fees to be scrapped and for them to learn the stuff alone, since many end up doing so anyway e.g.) thread starter. But the unis want their money, so the students expect the service in return.

        Fair is fair. A scam shouldn't be ran, which Simplicity correctly refers to.
        I actually agree with Jake22. Was just giving the counterpoint. Note, don't think students are being scammed.

        What uni? Also, does your lecturer have office hours? As you can always seem him during that or talk to him after the lecture. But, nobody does that as that would mean doing something and not being spoon fed.

        Do you go to the library and read around the subject? I guess no. If you was studying English literature you wouldn't expect the lecturer to read out the book in class or understand it without actually reading some of the book itself. However, most Maths students don't read books. They sit reading lecture notes, rote learn example sheets, then bang out past papers.

        I'm always in the library. Yet no one takes out books from it. Pretty depressing like Jake22 said.
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        (Original post by Simplicity)
        What uni? Also, does your lecturer have office hours? As you can always seem him during that or talk to him after the lecture. But, nobody does that as that would mean doing something and not being spoon fed.

        Do you go to the library and read around the subject? I guess no. If you was studying English literature you wouldn't expect the lecturer to read out the book in class or understand it without actually reading some of the book itself. However, most Maths students don't read books. They sit reading lecture notes, rote learn example sheets, then bang out past papers.

        I'm always in the library. Yet no one takes out books from it. Pretty depressing like Jake22 said.
        Royal Holloway. Yes, the lecturer does have office hours; but again, if I were to go, I'd have to know what questions to ask. For that, I'd need a basic level of understanding of the content, which I seem to have.

        The questions, however, seem to be drawing from intuition far more than the other courses - ie, there's no "groups" to the questions (where you can understand the proof for one question and then adapt it to other, similar questions), mostly because we haven't seen enough questions to become familiar with them.

        I admit that I don't read around this module in particular, because I've lost all passion for it. I read around Calculus topics or Mechanics modules because they interest me and I genuinely enjoy doing them, but the lecturer hasn't made the topic interesting, and I have another 40 people who would completely agree with me.

        To be fair, I try not to rote learn. I understand what I'm doing so I can at the very least know why I can create a solution in one way, whereas I cannot in another. I know plenty of peers who rote learn and can in no way remember, for example, what a vector space is from last year, which I agree, is pathetic and depressing. There are, however, the individuals with some level of understanding and enjoyment of mathematics who want to enjoy a topic but aren't inspired.

        That, in my opinion, is a real shame. I actually learnt last year's course on Matrix Algebra from videos of a series of MIT lectures, since I had the same problem with a lecturer last year. The MIT lecturer made the subject interesting and taught it well, and I understood the concepts far more clearly than I ever did sitting in the lectures listening to the monotonous voice of my bored teacher. I got my highest mark in that module.

        If my Group/Graph theory lecturer was a little more adept at teaching/inspiring, perhaps I'd be more inclined to learn the subject rather than complain about it.
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        (Original post by Simplicity)
        I heard other people say the opposite. I remember MrShifty say something along the lines of a 10% difference among undergrad doesn't say anything. To get a first doesn't seem that hard, just do the example sheets over and over again and learn the proofs.
        I'd agree with MrShifty generally because I am actually only referring to a scenario which probably affects very few people in the grand scheme of things.

        I was more thinking about the difference between people who are comfortably getting Firsts and who are genuinely exceptional at mathematics and people who get mid 2.1s (might scrape a First with a bit of luck) and are very competent at maths but not special. In some very specialist technical fields (particularly in some areas of pure mathematics) you might just not get a look with some of the choice PhD supervisors if you just have a 2.1 (unless you have some serious heavyweight referee to back you up) because there are so many other candidates they can choose from with (on paper at least) superior credentials and so few graduate study places available. Given the choice, you'd rather be applying for PhD places with a First than a 2.1, it is just one less barrier.

        Hey, there are always exceptions to the rule, like the geniuses who for whatever reason just don't turn in the exam results to reflect their genius but like hey good luck to them.
       
       
       
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