Sonnyjimisgod
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Hello all, I am interested in studying EEE and was wondering how vital further maths is for securing an offer. The only universities that request further maths for engineering are Imperial (that I want to apply to) but some people on the forums seem to say that you will get a straight out rejection from most universities without it. My school does offer it and I could take it as an AS next year but don't really want to (I currently take Maths, Physics and Chem, but will drop Bio at A2). My gcse's were adequate (7A*-I'm not from a private school and this was one of the best in the year). Also how relevant is work experience, as I have not got anything planned.
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JPB515
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Hi,


I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that you do not need further maths to get into Imperial. I was offered AAA for the MEng course with Maths, Physics, Systems and Control (electronics) and AS chemistry.


Now the bad news. Imperial really likes further maths. This means that if you don't have it, you need to have something else that shows them that you're a) capable of succeeding on their course and b) that you are passionate about electronics and engineering. This all needs to come across in your personal statement (the interviews are shorter than you think and you WON'T have time to 'add' anything to your application).


I put my offer (both the grades and the fact that I got one at all) down to several things. Firstly, the Systems and Control course consists of 2 major coursework projects, which if you're ambitious, can be complex enough to demonstrate both a level of electronic competence and enthusiasm. Secondly, I have an Arkwright Scholarship (http://www.arkwright.org.uk/), which is very highly regarded by Imperial (among other universities) and indicates that you have been selected as showing potential in engineering, giving the admissions team confidence that you are both serious about engineering and capable of doing well. My school also let me build their 3D printer when it arrived as a kit, and this made for a nice talking point at interview. Hopefully this will give you an idea of what they're looking for.


That's not to say you need to do all of these things. There are lots of ways in which you can demonstrate a passion and ability in electronics before you apply. My best piece of advice is probably to just build things and get stuck in to engineering type projects that you can talk about in your personal statement and at interview. If you need any help getting started with these, check out PICAXE and Sparkfun (google them), as they have some great ideas and tutorials for beginners. Also, do you know anything about/feel like learning a programming language (I'm told python is good for beginners), as there is an element of software engineering in the EEE course, and any experience here will be both very unusual and very welcome.


The relevance of work experience really depends upon your placement (its probably getting a bit late for this year) but if you can find something related to your course (i.e. an engineering company) then this would be a great boost to your application, as once again, it shows the admissions tutors that you're serious about engineering. This needn't be now or even over the holidays. If you can arrange something for next year and tell your universities that its all organised and 'booked in' then that will still help.


Basically, all of this means that you can get an offer without further maths, but you will be starting at a disadvantage. Personally, if you're serious about getting an offer and can take further maths next year, I would strongly recommend it, as it will put you on a more even footing with the other applicants.


Good luck!
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Sonnyjimisgod
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Hello, thank you for the very helpful information, much appreciated! Through thorough persuasion I have managed to gain a place with year 12's for AS further maths (our school only allows year-12s) so I guess I will be taking it next year. I also have a four week placement in-line for this summer and if I come in the top three places of their competition I could gain sponsorship from them which will mean I will only have to pay have the university fees.
I will have a look and the sparkfun projects later however I am still undecided between MechEng and EEE as I am so interested in both, however what sways me towards EEE is the much greater course integration with Electronics (as implied by the name) and my interest for all things electrical which can provide us with information on our surroundings (e.g. I made a mobile phone from a raspberry pi and programmed it to work with any sim etc.). Personally I don'y think the grades will be that hard to achieve, however what many people have told me about imperial is they really look for drive and passion, and they expect you to achieve the grades anyway. Can I ask what work experience you did in Y12 and whats the best way to prepare for a degree in EEE?
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JPB515
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Hi,

Glad I could help. The summer placement sounds really good, and will count for a lot in your application. Good luck with the competition. For work experience, I managed to get a week with Rolls-Royce in Derby since they sponsored my Arkwright Scholarship. Obviously, this isn't the sort of company that springs to mind when you think EEE, but I learned a lot about the day to day running of a world class engineering company, and it's this kind of first hand experience that that the universities like to see when you do work experience.

In terms of preparing for a degree in EEE, I really can only suggest that you just get in there and make stuff! The raspberry pi project sounds great, and anything like this is both fantastic experience and a really nice addition to an application. It may seem like a hobby to you and I, but there are people out there with 7+ A levels (I met them at my interview), who just aren't doing this sort of thing. The hands on experience is what makes the passionate engineers stand out above people who are just academically driven. Nothing screams "I love my subject" more than actually doing it!

Other than that, look at the course content (Imperial publish lists of all the different modules that you can take in each year) and try to get some idea of what they're about, after all, any of it could come up in an interview. This may also help you decide between EEE and MechEng. Also, if you're enjoying playing around with the pi and things like that, have you thought about the EIE course? Do have a look at it, if nothing else, because they usually ask you why you chose one over the other.

Hope this helps and feel free to let me know if you have any other questions.
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Sonnyjimisgod
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(Original post by JPB515)
Hi,

Glad I could help. The summer placement sounds really good, and will count for a lot in your application. Good luck with the competition. For work experience, I managed to get a week with Rolls-Royce in Derby since they sponsored my Arkwright Scholarship. Obviously, this isn't the sort of company that springs to mind when you think EEE, but I learned a lot about the day to day running of a world class engineering company, and it's this kind of first hand experience that that the universities like to see when you do work experience.

In terms of preparing for a degree in EEE, I really can only suggest that you just get in there and make stuff! The raspberry pi project sounds great, and anything like this is both fantastic experience and a really nice addition to an application. It may seem like a hobby to you and I, but there are people out there with 7+ A levels (I met them at my interview), who just aren't doing this sort of thing. The hands on experience is what makes the passionate engineers stand out above people who are just academically driven. Nothing screams "I love my subject" more than actually doing it!

Other than that, look at the course content (Imperial publish lists of all the different modules that you can take in each year) and try to get some idea of what they're about, after all, any of it could come up in an interview. This may also help you decide between EEE and MechEng. Also, if you're enjoying playing around with the pi and things like that, have you thought about the EIE course? Do have a look at it, if nothing else, because they usually ask you why you chose one over the other.

Hope this helps and feel free to let me know if you have any other questions.
Thank you for your help, you've really opened my eyes in what they're looking for. What equipment did you use while doing projects from sparkfun (ie what soldering kit etc), I currently do not have a soldering kit at home but really want to get stuck in, but don't want to make a mess out of buying the wrong equipment, also what projects did you do which really stood out, and how did you implement these i your personal statement ?
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JPB515
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Hello,

You really don't need to worry about specific equipment with electronics. You will need a multimeter, soldering iron and some wire strippers to get started, but it is really a case of see how little you can spend. I am currently using an Antex soldering iron (http://bit.ly/THyPeg) and rapid multimeter (http://bit.ly/1qo66JF). If you want to use lead free solder, then have a look for the lead free version of that soldering iron. The wire strippers and soldering iron stand are literally, the cheapest you can possibly find. If you want to start designing your own circuits, then a breadboard is also a useful thing to have - just pick the size that suits your project.

If you want to start working with programmable chips (to provide arithmetic, logical and communication functions), then you will need a download cable - but the sort that you get will depend upon which line of chips you want to use (I've always used PICAXE microcontrollers, but you may want to move onto Arduino if you 'outgrow' these). Of course, if you already have experience with the pi, then you could probably use this instead.

I think the main project that stood out to Imperial was an electronic dart board that I built for my AS coursework. This was scaled down to 32 segments and used microswitches to detect dart hits. I then used seven segment displays and an OLED to give a readout of score, calculated by a microcontroller.

I never actually got to tell them about my A2 project, since it was still in the concept stage when I applied (and I didn't want to have to talk about it in an interview) but it was an electronically controlled water show, sort of like these things they have in Vegas or Disneyland, but smaller. This was a lot less complicated on the input side, but featured some interesting challenges on the output side.

In many ways, I have been lucky that my school has a very well equipped engineering/electronics department, which enabled me to get these projects beyond the prototyping stage and into some sort of physical product. If you don't have these sorts of facilities, then you are probably more limited in what you can do once you have designed your circuit, but really, its the electronics that the universities are going to be interested in.

To get these into your personal statement isn't that difficult. I structured mine as basically a list of skills that I believe I possess, and then brought my various activities in as evidence for these. The electronics projects came under independent work, but if you have a friend or two who is also interested in electronics, then this could be good evidence of teamwork. It's worth saying that you shouldn't go into a lot of detail in how these projects worked in your personal statement, not least because you will run out of space very quickly. If they want to know more, then talking about something you've done is a nice way to spend your interview.

General engineering projects are also valuable here, as they still demonstrate a mindset that will be useful on an engineering course. For example, my school bought a Caterham kit car, which a team of students then built. This didn't involve much in the way of electronics, but can still be used as evidence for teamwork and problem solving as well as experience working on a much larger project than many other students will have an opportunity to experience. If you have a DT or engineering department at your school, ask what sort of things they have going on, and if you can come along to get some experience.
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Sonnyjimisgod
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Hello, sorry for replying so late but I have a few more questions to ask. Sadly my school is less equipped than yours and did not offer electronics/computing/d&t so I had none of the options to take these. The A-levels I did take were maths along with the three sciences, as-well as AS-further maths next year, do you think if I explain that I cannot take electronics they will understand or do you think they would've expected me to join another school or something else extravagant? Also I have decided that if I do get the grades at AS (all a's) that I will apply to the EIE as reading what the course is about seems much more interesting to me. I have begun to learn some java and have a basic level of C and am gradually learning these now with the aid of codecademy.com. In your interview did they ask you any technical questions (ie how to use java/c or working out current/resistance from some crazy circuit, or even some integration/differentiation).


I also have a question regarding the year abroad programme. If I apply to just the normal MEng will I have a greater chance of getting in as the year abroad could be more competitive, and would I still have the choice to do the year abroad even if I only did the normal MEng after the year ended.(I would really like to study at the University of California). How many people study abroad and do you have to be ridiculously clever to get into the year abroad scheme? From the forums read online I have seen that the offers for EIE are generally lower and are AAA usually, and many of them don't require further maths, but most people do electronics which I cannot . Anyway as for the work experience its going well apart from what I am doing is all mechanical based, so its all pretty much useless, and the sponsorship would be for MechEng which is pretty useless now. But not to worry as I have arranged another two work placements at two engineering consultants for electricity. Anyway a big thanks for your help!!!!
Also could I potentially have a look at your CV, I understand if you don;t want to share it but would help massively!
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JPB515
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Hi,

Sadly, this is the reason that so many universities are now looking for further maths. Very few schools now have the resources and expertise to teach engineering type courses, so students enter with far less knowlege and experience in this field. The universities therefore have more teaching to do and as a result, need students who are proven to be better at the maths content of the course. I really wouldn't worry about it too much. It's a great opportunity for those with access to it, but the unis do understand how few people do get these opportunities. They certainly won't have expected you to change school!

I was worried you would ask about the interviews, as there is a huge variation in what they ask, purely depending on who interviews you. I don't know how specific I am allowed to be, but I can probably say that my interviewer was more involved in EIE than EEE. We started off talking about my personal statement and went through the usual why engineering, why Imperial type questions, before talking about some general topics in electronic engineering, like how can electronic engineers improve x product. Then we talked a bit about sub-systems within an electronic product (smartphone) and how each could be developed. Finally, we talked a bit about algorithms (don't worry, this was really basic) and then optimization (you may well cover this in your programming), bringing this back to the smartphone.

I know that I was very lucky. These are all topics I was interested in and already knew at least something about. Talking to other people in my group, some were asked straight maths questions (calculus, trig, expansions etc.) for the whole interview and some got weird logic puzzles. It's fair to say that you really can't prepare for these interviews beyond the 'standard' interview questions. I really doubt they'll ask you specific programming questions.

Also, don't get too worried about which course you apply for. You can move between year abroad, management and the 'normal' course (as well as the BEng and MEng) at any point until the end of the second year. You can even change between EEE and EIE during the first couple of weeks! Getting on the year abroad is absolutely down to your choice, although if there are too many students wanting to take it (I don't know if there is a limit) then priority would be given to those who applied to it originally. I didn't know about EIE giving lower offers. It is a smaller course, so might not be as popular.

As long as your work experience is in an engineering field, it is not useless. Rolls-Royce is hardly an electronics company. The point is that you've seen how an engineering company operates, and have some industrial contacts. The other placements sound great.

I don't have a CV as such, but I don't mind showing you my personal statement. Unfortunately, my head of sixth form was very clear that we weren't to show our personal statements or applications to anyone until our places are confirmed. I'll post back when I can.

Good luck on results day!
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JPB515
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Hi,

How was results day? I got my grades for Imperial (actually A*AA) and so will be starting there in October. I have also put my personal statement on TSR wiki for you and anyone else to look at. There are also some others which may be of help.

Going right back to your initial question - 'can you get into Imperial without further maths?', I have some interesting information. Wednesday of freshers week, all EEE and EIE students have been told to expect a maths test on high level C3 and C4, as well as complex/imaginary numbers (presumably from further maths). The results of this will be used to select students for additional maths tuition to ensure that everyone is up to the same standard by the end of the first year. To me, this strongly suggests that they understand that not all students will have studied further maths and that many will not even have studied the same units in the regular maths A-level. They therefore have robust procedures in place to make up for any 'missing' knowledge.

Let me know how your AS exams went and if you have any other questions about Imperial.
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Sonnyjimisgod
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Hi,

How was results day? I got my grades for Imperial (actually A*AA) and so will be starting there in October. I have also put my personal statement on TSR wiki for you and anyone else to look at. There are also some others which may be of help.

Going right back to your initial question - 'can you get into Imperial without further maths?', I have some interesting information. Wednesday of freshers week, all EEE and EIE students have been told to expect a maths test on high level C3 and C4, as well as complex/imaginary numbers (presumably from further maths). The results of this will be used to select students for additional maths tuition to ensure that everyone is up to the same standard by the end of the first year. To me, this strongly suggests that they understand that not all students will have studied further maths and that many will not even have studied the same units in the regular maths A-level. They therefore have robust procedures in place to make up for any 'missing' knowledge.

Let me know how your AS exams went and if you have any other questions about Imperial.

Hi there,

So results day came and went and I did absolutely terribly. I achieved BBCC which B's in maths and physics (both narrowly missing A's, and C's in Chem and Bio). I know these are very poor grades and I will have resit two chemistry modules, one maths, and one physics (dropping biology). I know I have pretty much an extremely low chance of getting into imperial next year and so will probably not apply (as I will probably only be predicted (AAB) so have decided to apply to Bristol, UCL, Loughborough, Bath and Durham instead.

I was massively disappointed and upset as I had never received less than an A in a single GCSE exam (except R.E.) and am now in this position after lots of hard work and good reports being predicted straight A's across all subjects. I put this mainly down to exam technique and silly mistakes which will not be acceptable next year at A2.

I realise I will have to work ridiculously hard next year and am prepared to do 2 hours before school each day for my AS modules and then do A2 work when I get back home. I have also decided to ban my phone and laptop from use unless necessary for work until late at home. I am skeptical of taking AS further maths now as I just want to achieve 3 A's at least.

My question is, if I gain AAA-A*AA in Maths, chemistry and physics next year and defer with a YINI (year in industry at some engineering thing) would I be likely to still get into imperial with no further maths/many resits). I'm pretty sure there's no point of applying to imperial now as I will not get a place due to the competition.

I may not even apply to any uni's at all this year as I would rather focus on work and take a gap than get into an average-esque uni (e.g. exceter).
I don't want to sound too cocky but I am not deserved of these grades and am capable of much more.

What should I do?


Also very well done !!!!!
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JPB515
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Hello,

I'm sorry to hear your results weren't as hoped but don't give up. First, do you think that any units would benefit from a remark? It is unusual to see massive gains in maths or physics but it has happened in the past (in fact, my whole year's physics controlled assessment went up last year when they were marked wrongly). Luckily your maths and physics are high Bs (did you get As in any modules?) so they will still see that these are your strongest subjects. Personally, if you're dead set on Imperial, I would apply this year and then if it doesn't work out (don't be surprised), then do a year in industry or something similar. There is some good advice on the IET website here.

If you do apply and get rejected, be sure to ask for feedback on your application from your universities (ask all of your rejections), as they will be able to tell you what part of your application let you down (ie. results, personal statement, interview technique). This will help you to refine your application for the 'real thing'.

I would suggest talking to your head of sixth form or a careers adviser, as they will have experience dealing with this sort of situation. The only thing I would say is to be careful with resits. Now that there are no January exams, you will be resitting everything in June with all of your A2 units. I can't suggest that it is healthy to resit more than 1 module per subject. It's better to put all your time into one module and get lots more marks than several modules and only get a few. I would suggest resitting your lowest result from each subject (preferably a core module in maths, as this is knowledge that you will build upon at A2). You could also ask for your papers back to see if your teachers will look through them with you to find out where you went wrong.

If you really do need to resit the two chemistry units, then I wouldn't do the further maths this year, and instead look at the Further Maths Network, which is recommended by Imperial for student's whose schools don't offer a further maths course. You could probably do the AS in your gap year if you get an easy placement.

Personally, I think that if you can get A*AA (and make sure the A* is in maths or physics) by the end of next year, then you will very likely get a place at Imperial, considering all of the work placements and programming you have done. Imperial are not as fussy about resits as Oxbridge (I don't think they even found out about mine) but make sure that the ones you do will show a strong improvement. It might be a good talking point at interview if you can tell them about the changes you have made to your exam technique etc. to get the better grades.

I'm still subscribed to the thread if you want to ask anything else, but your next port of call should probably be your head of sixth form and subject teachers.
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Some Math Nerd
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I have my place secured at Imperial in EEE, and took further maths - however, I was sent an email by the department with a link to the EEE website - it contains this link, which you may be very interested in.

http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/electrica...41/mathematics

Best of Luck on your studies!
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Sonnyjimisgod
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(Original post by Some Math Nerd)
I have my place secured at Imperial in EEE, and took further maths - however, I was sent an email by the department with a link to the EEE website - it contains this link, which you may be very interested in.

http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/electrica...41/mathematics

Best of Luck on your studies!
Thank you for this, this at least shows that they don't expect everyone to have taken further maths, and they aid you if you haven't.

I have already decided to take a gap year and have applied to various gap year schemes including an engineering YINI, and to IBMs technology consultancy programme. I am also off to an open day next month and so will ask them if they would prefer me to do as/a level further maths in my gap year (depending on workload of gap year programme).

Hopefully with 4 resits and good A2s I can achieve at least A*AA with the A* in maths.

Also good luck with your studies too, may I ask what type of job you wish to have once you have completed your degree, as this is EEE at imperial there are many job opportunities you can pursue (e.g. banking/engineer)

Thanks!
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Some Math Nerd
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(Original post by Sonnyjimisgod)
Thank you for this, this at least shows that they don't expect everyone to have taken further maths, and they aid you if you haven't.

I have already decided to take a gap year and have applied to various gap year schemes including an engineering YINI, and to IBMs technology consultancy programme. I am also off to an open day next month and so will ask them if they would prefer me to do as/a level further maths in my gap year (depending on workload of gap year programme).

Hopefully with 4 resits and good A2s I can achieve at least A*AA with the A* in maths.

Also good luck with your studies too, may I ask what type of job you wish to have once you have completed your degree, as this is EEE at imperial there are many job opportunities you can pursue (e.g. banking/engineer)

Thanks!
I have three in mind, but I am hoping to become an astronaut (even though it is nearly impossible, but worth a shot!).
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Sonnyjimisgod
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(Original post by Some Math Nerd)
I have three in mind, but I am hoping to become an astronaut (even though it is nearly impossible, but worth a shot!).
That sounds exciting though why didn't you choose physics or aeronautical engineering? What are your other 3 choices too?
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