Is it possible to get admitted to a maths degree and not be bright enough for it?

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Report Thread starter 5 years ago
I got admitted to a maths degree at a decent uni (in top 10 maybe or at least top 20), but according to 2 psychiatrists I've had serious difficulties in the last four years (schizophrenia, clinical depression, autism, social phobia) so I'm looking at getting only an ordinary degree at best, but even that feels unlikely.

Right now, I find it hard to work even in a menial thing. I volunteered for four months and really struggled and ended up leaving.

I got the usual grades for someone going into such a degree. Straight A*s at GCSE, straight A*s at A level, through to BMO1 but not BMO2.

Apparently I've never really been a hard worker, and I think that's been compounded by my psychiatric difficulties.
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Report 5 years ago
Unfortunately it's not uncommon for these things to crop up once you get to the undergraduate level in mathematics. When you can easily get straight A*s throughout secondary school and college without much work, and are then thrown into the deep end finding yourself having to work significantly more just to get to grips with the basics, it's when underlying mental health conditions can rear. What kind of support did your university give you after seeing two psychiatrists?
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Report 5 years ago
Generally speaking, universities don't want their students to fail and will offer a lot of help when students ask for it. In my experience of going through a physics degree*, the department can be very lenient if people have legitimate reasons to not do as well as they should in coursework and exams. If you're worried that the particular university course you're currently enrolled on will be too intense then you may wish to consider transferring after the end of your first year to a less intense course at a different university. Obviously that's not without its difficulties but when it may make the difference between leaving your third year with a degree at a decent grade and not getting a degree at all I think it's worth investigating.

It may also be worth pointing out that quite a lot of physics/maths students are further along the autistic spectrum than the general population and many are not very good with social situations. I was in the latter category when I started but the university experience definitely changed that and brought me out of my shell!

If you're capable of getting A* at A Level without really working hard then I would say you're probably capable of doing well in a degree environment.

*which in terms of academic rigour/difficulty is fairly comparable to maths, or so the people who did joint honours tell me.

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