What should I try to include in a Maths personal statement? Watch

Refrigerator
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Hi,

I'm currently in year 11 and considering doing either maths or computer science at university. For computer science, personal statements and the like seem very straight forward because there's a lot you can do with computers outside of school etc. but maths is looking a bit tricky...

I've started reading some books about and related to maths/logic and things, and have entered a few competitions over my school career but that's pretty much it. Work experience doesn't seem like it'll help, and I'm not really sure what else would help on my PS.

I still have a year and a half, so there's time to fill in the gaps which I haven't already covered, so I'm open to any suggestions!

I also used to play chess at a competitive level but recently kind of drifted from it, so would it be beneficial to restart that?

Thanks a lot
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alexs2602
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Not really sure why you're worrying about this quite yet; you have, as you say, a year and a half so if you really want to do yourself some favours then maybe take a look at C1 or C2 before September and if someone can post the link then a couple of books from the Cambridge reading list wouldnt go amiss but otherwise I wouldn't worry yourself.
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BramleyTutor
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I was an admissions tutor for about ten years in a university mathematics department (not a top tier one).

In all that time, I don't think I read even half a dozen Personal Statements on the UCCA (as it was then) forms which indicated that the applicant had any interest whatsoever in mathematics.

Ok -- that was probably the reality. They wanted to become accountants, and the maths degree was just instrumental in this.

But ... keep in mind that the person reading your application is probably passionately interested in mathematics, and may well have (unjustified) snobbish attitudes towards the people who do the things that allow him to spend his life doing mathematics: accountants, bankers, lawyers, etc. So even if your ambition is to be an investment banker or stockmarket manipulator, you should at least pretend to be interested in mathematics for its own sake.

So you need to appear to be -- and the OP seems actually to be -- someone who is genuinely interested in maths, and who will -- and this is key -- be FUN TO TEACH.

So, yes, read, or read through, some of the popular books on maths. See if you can look at some of the wonderful programs the BBC has done, such as the one on infinity.

Read "Lockhart's Lament": http://www.maa.org/devlin/devlin_03_08.html

And allude to these things in your statement.

(If you can't find those TV programs, PM me and I'll show you where to find them.)
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muffingg
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(Original post by Refrigerator)
[SIZE="2"]Hi,

I'm currently in year 11 and considering doing either maths or computer science at university. For computer science, personal statements and the like seem very straight forward because there's a lot you can do with computers outside of school etc. but maths is looking a bit tricky...

I've started reading some books about and related to maths/logic and things, and have entered a few competitions over my school career but that's pretty much it. Work experience doesn't seem like it'll help, and I'm not really sure what else would help on my PS.

I still have a year and a half, so there's time to fill in the gaps which I haven't already covered, so I'm open to any suggestions!

I also used to play chess at a competitive level but recently kind of drifted from it, so would it be beneficial to restart that?

Thanks a lot[/SIZE]
* Try to show them as much knowledge as possible that you have in maths.

* Mention particular topics of your a level course that you enjoyed most and read further about some topics that you haven't learnt yet.

* Look at universities' course details and pick something out and read upon it. Mention in your PS that you have done further readings on that, because you liked [something from your a level course] and wanted to broaden your knowledge by studying that advanced topic

* Say when you first became interested in studying it and any experiences (doesn't need to be work experience) you have had with Maths. (example: I applied for civil engineering and I mentioned that I found the channel tunnel fascinating when I first travelled in it in 1999 or something and this got me interested in civ)

Hope it helps
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alexs2602
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(Original post by saey)
um. Sorry to scrape in here, but does this mean that there is little to no work expirience that a maths applicant can do?
Depends what you mean by do. Sure you can do work experience but unless its specific to the course I wouldnt advise mentioning it. I probably could have mentioned my work experience come to think of it, however when I did it I didn't gain an experience worth putting in. Let me clarify; I did work experience at an equity firm and I could possibly have made a mention about particular areas in financial maths. I would like to emphasise though that the experience should portray your passion for maths.
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Refrigerator
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Thanks for the replies so far

I'm thinking of applying to Cambridge, so will I have to do anything apart from wider reading and showing interest, for example going to maths and science lectures or courses?
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Jampolo
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(Original post by Refrigerator)
Thanks for the replies so far

I'm thinking of applying to Cambridge, so will I have to do anything apart from wider reading and showing interest, for example going to maths and science lectures or courses?
on the 25th march im going to a conference in London about applying to oxford/cambridge, and my area of preference is mathematics. in your AS year this is something you should look to go to (if you live close to london, that is)
apparently 40% of applicants that have been to the conference get a place at Cambridge, so it aimed for people who are seriously thinking of applying, i would love to apply, i just need the grades first
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Refrigerator
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(Original post by Jampolo)
on the 25th march im going to a conference in London about applying to oxford/cambridge, and my area of preference is mathematics. in your AS year this is something you should look to go to (if you live close to london, that is)
apparently 40% of applicants that have been to the conference get a place at Cambridge, so it aimed for people who are seriously thinking of applying, i would love to apply, i just need the grades first
That sounds great! What's it called?

Thanks
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Kalliope
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Have you done the Intermediate/Senior Maths Challenges or any of the Physics ones?

If I were you I'd cut down your OP and ask in the Current Year 11: Mark 2 thread because we have at least 5 future maths applicants, many of whom are self teaching A level atm and want to apply to Oxbridge - they could tell you what they are doing in the same situation.
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Kasc
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How you've loved maths since the minute you were expelled from the uterus.... NOT.
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pappymajek
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(Original post by Refrigerator)
Hi,

I'm currently in year 11 and considering doing either maths or computer science at university. For computer science, personal statements and the like seem very straight forward because there's a lot you can do with computers outside of school etc. but maths is looking a bit tricky...

I've started reading some books about and related to maths/logic and things, and have entered a few competitions over my school career but that's pretty much it. Work experience doesn't seem like it'll help, and I'm not really sure what else would help on my PS.

I still have a year and a half, so there's time to fill in the gaps which I haven't already covered, so I'm open to any suggestions!

I also used to play chess at a competitive level but recently kind of drifted from it, so would it be beneficial to restart that?

Thanks a lot

Your personal statement needs to sound like someone who's genuinely interested in maths. Do Mention topics that you've enjoyed in maths, any competitions, prizes, etc will always add weight to your application. Maybe you can start by going through the personal statements section of this forum (http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/Category:Mathematics_Personal_St atements)-there are lots of examples of successful mathematics personal statements. This should get you started and give you an idea of what you need to get a place.

Good luck
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