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how to know if you're good at maths Watch

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    hello.

    i recently sat my c1 and c2 papers and got 190 ums marks overall; my parents have started hinting that i should take mathematically-based degree (engineering, theoretical physics etc.), but i don't that i'm not very good at maths! i can't derive any of the formulae (if the cosine rule were not in the info. booklet i would have been in trouble in the exam!) and sometimes struggle with the solomon paper questions, which require more application of knowledge and are less HERP DERP in general.

    are these things indicative of a non-mathematical mind? if so, is a mathematical degree a no-no?
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    Clearly you have the potential to be good at maths if you try your best, as I see no reason why not. In terms of a maths degree or maths based degree the most important thing is that you really need to enjoy the subject to be able to excel. I have chosen to do a maths degree because I really enjoy Mathematics and because I work hard at it I have eventually become good at it. So in short, if you really love Mathematics then a Mathematics based degree is not a bad idea at all.
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    You say that you are not very good at maths, (and I sometimes do too) but what I am trying to say is that if you love the subject - and try your best - then nothing can stop you in doing well in a Maths or Maths based degree.
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    What is more important than your perceived ability is whether you like the subject. Ability comes naturally as a product of spending time doing the things you like doing, so if you will enjoy a maths-related degree, you will manage.
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    (Original post by genuinelydense)
    hello.

    i recently sat my c1 and c2 papers and got 198 ums marks overall; my parents have started hinting that i should take mathematically-based degree (engineering, theoretical physics etc.), but i don't that i'm not very good at maths! i can't derive any of the formulae (if the cosine rule were not in the info. booklet i would have been in trouble in the exam!) and sometimes struggle with the solomon paper questions, which require more application of knowledge and are less HERP DERP in general.

    are these things indicative of a non-mathematical mind? if so, is a mathematical degree a no-no?
    Generally, at degree level, you're at a huge advantage if you can do the intuitive stuff, so you should maybe practice on STEP questions to boost your maths.

    Also, you must remember that maths and physics are considered amongst the most difficult degree courses. Therefore, you should only proceed to apply for maths if you're willing to practice the questions you have to actually think about as opposed to the ones where you "just do this". If you think you can't, you might want to look at another option.

    Also, you must be willing to spend a lot of time on the subject, so you have to really enjoy it.

    For example, considering you've just done C2

    Spoiler:
    Show


    Prove that for any triangle ABC (with angles A, B and C and sides a,b and c), we have

    a^2 = b^2 + c^2 - 2bc\cos A

    Deduce that

    b^2 = a^2 + c^2 - 2ac\cos B

    c^2 = a^2 + b^2 - 2ab\cos C

    Hint: you might like to draw a triangle and drop a line from the top to split it up into two right-angled triangles.

    But what if I didn't give you that hint? THAT is what you have to be prepared for

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    Try this website http://brilliant.org/ .Their olympiad mathematics(not curriculum mathematics),especially, require out-of-the-box thinking.

    From their website,
    Brilliant is a high-quality free online mathematics and science problem solving website for bright young students around the world. Brilliant aims to democratize the way smart, driven youth are identified and developed by offering an intellectually challenging environment to all students.

    After a short diagnostic test,you'll be assigned to weekly updated problem set of your level.Solution will be posted on the coming week.I have been using this for a few weeks and I'm keep on learning something new.
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    (Original post by miser)
    What is more important than your perceived ability is whether you like the subject. Ability comes naturally as a product of spending time doing the things you like doing, so if you will enjoy a maths-related degree, you will manage.
    It's hard to tell whether you would like a maths degree based on whether or not you enjoy doing A-Level C-modules, though - University maths is arguably more detached from it's A-Level counterpart than any other discipline with an A-Level course; it's very different.

    @OP; the best you can do is read around the subject on undergraduate-style topics and attempt questions that require you to think/be flexible mathematically (as suggested by Indeterminate, STEP is a good place for such questions). Then you may be able to make a good decision.

    That said, your results still suggest that you probably aren't as bad at maths as you're saying so it's definitely worth consideration.
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    (Original post by Farhan.Hanif93)
    It's hard to tell whether you would like a maths degree based on whether or not you enjoy doing A-Level C-modules, though - University maths is arguably more detached from it's A-Level counterpart than any other discipline with an A-Level course; it's very different.
    I agree (or at least I assumed it was so). If a person enjoys their subject, it's reasonable to expect them to research the subject's contents before committing to study it for 3 years - or at least I hope so. It's quite easy to find out what topics are covered in widespread courses like maths and research them to see how you fare.
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    I don't know about how to know if you're good at maths on the basis of A-Level modules, but you'll soon realise how relatively not good you are at maths when attending a top university studying it.
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    i took a look at brilliant: i got level 5 for algebra and trig. and level 2-3 for everything else. i've realised that i am pretty rigid in my problem-solving ways and am prone to acts of immense stupidity when confronted with something foreign. i've also realised that i have no mathematical intuition at all (i didn't realise that the angle/360=area of sector/total area!); i'll take biology instead.

    thanks for all of the help.
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    In order to get 198 UMS you must have put in a lot of hard work, and regardless of any degree of natural talent you may possess, hard work beats talent every time. If you did choose a Mathematical degree, I would fully expect you to get a good result. That said, remember that you don't have to take one if you don't want to - if you don't enjoy your degree you will be less inclined to put in the work. So if you do take a Maths based degree, take it because you enjoy it rather than because you feel you can.
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    everyone knows that maths a-level is a joke; you never have to apply your knowledge at all, which is what i have a problem with. i interpret this inability to apply my knowledge to harder questions (like the ones posed on brilliant.org) as a funamental inability to understand mathematical concepts, and god knows i worked hard to try to understand them (there's a funny thread of mine wherein i repeatedly misunderstood people's explanations of the binomial theorem)!

    and finally, as vain as it sounds, i'd like to really excel in the subject that i study at uni--and that's not gonna happen if i study maths.
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    (Original post by genuinelydense)
    hello.

    i recently sat my c1 and c2 papers and got 198 ums marks overall; my parents have started hinting that i should take mathematically-based degree (engineering, theoretical physics etc.), but i don't that i'm not very good at maths! i can't derive any of the formulae (if the cosine rule were not in the info. booklet i would have been in trouble in the exam!) and sometimes struggle with the solomon paper questions, which require more application of knowledge and are less HERP DERP in general.

    are these things indicative of a non-mathematical mind? if so, is a mathematical degree a no-no?
    A-level maths is nothing like uni maths. Uni maths is all proof based and if u can't derive cosine stuff, then uni is gonna be like nightmare :eek: You can be good at maths but not necessarily like maths at uni. I loved a-level maths but hated uni maths so changed to engineering then natural sciences then to geophysics :P.

    Just be very careful what you choose cos if you change around as much as I did it could be very expensive for you, especially with the £9k fees. When i dropped out of my maths degree fees were £1150 a year. Cos I dropped out and went to uni after a gap year when the 3k fees kicked in I had to payd £3k a year :eek: Now if you go it's £9k .... and if you drop out that's £9k down the toilet, so be very careful what you choose to study at uni. If in doubt, it's an awesome idea to take a gap year. You can work and think more about what you want to do in life.

    Best of luck!

    Edit: you are pretty good at maths . The real test is to see if you can keep it up for C3-4
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    Personally, I think that being good at maths is being able to get given a problem and just solve it, using a mixture of all the things you've been taught. Are you the kind of person who, when doing past papers, you managed to work your way through the more difficult question 9s and come up with the solution while everyone else didn't know where to start? If yes, then you are good at maths. If no, it doesn't mean you aren't good at it, but maybe you need more practise.

    Plus, does it really matter if you love it? People do better at things they enjoy, and what's the point in doing a career that you won't love just because you might be slightly better at it
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    (Original post by jassi1)
    Clearly you have the potential to be good at maths if you try your best, as I see no reason why not. In terms of a maths degree or maths based degree the most important thing is that you really need to enjoy the subject to be able to excel. I have chosen to do a maths degree because I really enjoy Mathematics and because I work hard at it I have eventually become good at it. So in short, if you really love Mathematics then a Mathematics based degree is not a bad idea at all.
    What do you love about maths?
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    Being able to derive proofs and the level of algebra required is considered pretty detrimental for maths at uni, BUT more applied courses (engineering and such) won't require it as much. Still, that is something you can easily get better at.. With C3 and C4 you need to know them, so you'll learn them. You could easily get an A* in maths with that so far, so there is no reason you would struggle with deriving them, once you get used to it :P Try reading through the proofs in textbooks. But if you don't LOVE maths, it's a waste of your time. Maths and maths based graduates are paid the best though!

    As a side note: I got 86 in C1, and 88 in C2... I then managed to get 100 in C3, predicted A*A*A, and have offers from cass, LSE and warwick for maths related degrees. Your results show that you are much better than me, so you should really consider it.
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    (Original post by Holz888)
    Personally, I think that being good at maths is being able to get given a problem and just solve it, using a mixture of all the things you've been taught. Are you the kind of person who, when doing past papers, you managed to work your way through the more difficult question 9s and come up with the solution while everyone else didn't know where to start? If yes, then you are good at maths. If no, it doesn't mean you aren't good at it, but maybe you need more practise.

    Plus, does it really matter if you love it? People do better at things they enjoy, and what's the point in doing a career that you won't love just because you might be slightly better at it
    the part of maths that i really enjoy is thoroughly understanding a concept and applying it to real life problems. the problem is that truly understanding the concept is the hardest/impossible part of maths for me.
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    Oh, and when you get to second year and are thinking about maths, look at the STEP papers, they really helped me to improve my proofs and rearranging skills.
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    If you have trouble understanding A-level concepts fully, then University maths will be pretty near impossible. The only way you can survive is by thoroughly understanding, since very little of it is actually learning an equation/theorem and then simply applying it; there's a substantial amount that not only requires you to understand definitions/theorems, but also see through them and what it really means when applied in different situations.
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    First of all, no one actually knows what the primal definition of 'maths' is. If we're talking A level maths, then I suppose so.
 
 
 
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