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    For ages I had wanted to do a straight maths course but more recently I had wanted to do sort of a maths physics combination but I really wasn't sure. For the past 5 days ive been on a physics summer school and I thought the content seemed really good and made me want to do physics. After speaking to the lecturers they said I should do physics because although I like maths at school, maths at uni is all proofs which im not so keen on and if my favourite topic is mechanics, then I should do physics.

    So the lecturer said to me I should apply to do Natural sciences at cambridge and take the maths and physics options (as well as other options that seem interesting) - but i havent studied chemistry.

    At A level I do Maths, Further Maths, Physics and History.

    Just wondering if you think this would be a good idea?

    Also if you do know for sure, if the other would include STEP as part of the requirement.
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    Hi westhamfan!
    Okay, before you ask any more questions, go here: http://www.cam.ac.uk/admissions/unde...sci/index.html. It's the prospectus pages for Natsci, and tells you everything about the course (and it's as accurate as you're going to get).

    There is no mention of a STEP offer for Physical Natural Sciences, no. I'm not an authority on the subject at all, but the prospectus doesn't refer to it except in the case of straight Maths.

    You do not have to take a Chemistry option in the Natsci course - so it doesn't matter you've not done it for A Level. However, take a close look at the course requirements on the website. With Maths, Further Maths & Physics they *might* want another sciency thing in there (Essential: 2 science/maths A Levels; Highly desirable: 3rd science/maths to at least AS Level). As I say, read the website.

    As for whether the course is right for you, only you can say for sure. With a developing interest in Maths and Physics, though, it makes sense to keep your options as open as possible at this stage. By taking Natsci at Cambridge you can make choices throughout according to your new interests and abilities. It's a good, very flexible course. Have a read of the prospectus.
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    if you want my advice, as a physicist at cambridge entering my 4th year....

    you sound like someone suited for the Maths with Physics course at cambridge, which is part of the Maths tripos. Because you will do physics, you wont do all the maths which the proper maths students do, and I can tell you that when you get further down the line with the physics, the mathematics involved is crazy hard! So if you can cope with it, I would recommend maths with physics.
    I personally did natural sciences, and I did chemistry and computer science in my first year before moving to the physics option. I did this because I've always tried to avoid the mathematics, but it's now come back to haunt me because I'm having to learn all this complicated maths in my later years.
    I think you need to decide what you're more interested in: Science or applied mathematics. Physics really does become a lot of applied mathematics at university, and since you were considering maths at uni, I would go for the physics and maths.

    Of course, doing that will probably lead to the STEP exams. Physical natural scientists are rarely made offers involving STEP, if at all! But with the maths tripos students it's the norm. But if you have the confidence to take on those exams, then go for it!

    hope that helps.
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    thanks, do you think I would stand a good chance if i Just applied to do Natural Sciences straight off rather than Maths and physics?
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    do you think I would stand a good chance if i Just applied to do Natural Sciences straight off rather than Maths and physics?
    That's not for us to say.
    If you've a good load of GCSEs, and strong AS Levels/A Level [predictions] you stand as good a chance as any.
    So long as your wider reading is relevant and your interest real, it probably won't matter whether you go for the Maths/Physics or the straight Natsci courses. You will learn plenty in both, and it's all about learning, rather than knowing, at this stage (thankfully!).

    READ THE PROSPECTUS for both courses, please (if you haven't already...)
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    cheers Epitome, il have read of the cambridge prospectus. My GCSEs are q gd, and I do have a genuine interest in subject so I guess il start doing some wider reading on relativity and stuff...
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    Genuine interest is ace.
    Take time to read around the subject, yep! And one or other of the courses will probably be more appealling once you've read about them properly...and if you don't feel automatically drawn to one of them specifically then it doesn't matter - go for either and you'll learn lots of funky stuff whichever you end up going for!
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    You sound exactly like me, except I was going to do physics (went to the Cambridge summer school too, last year). I changed my mind at the last minute though, I applied for maths with physics, because I'm only interested in physics (and maths too now, after having spent the last 6 months of my life trying to get up to scratch in it) and didn't really want to take chemistry in first year (or any of the other natsci options).

    If you do maths with physics, you can go into physics after first year (that's probably what I'll do). The mathematical background isn't going to do any harm for the remainder of the physics degree, and even if you're not too keen on the proof-side of maths it's worth considering whether you would prefer the new style maths to a new subject altogether.

    The downside is you have to do STEP. It's probably worth working through the Siklos booklet (which is linked to from the mathematics website, look here) before deciding against STEP for being too difficult, because it does get easier with practice.
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    (Original post by ad absurdum)
    The downside is you have to do STEP. It's probably worth working through the Siklos booklet (which is linked to from the mathematics website, look here) before deciding against STEP for being too difficult, because it does get easier with practice.
    Seconded - STEP starts off looking impossible, but over time gets down to just being usually 'quite hard', though very much doable!
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    klkl, what would people think about applying for the NatSci though without the mathsphys combination?

    Can u do math modules within the Natsci course?
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    Read the prospectus - last time I looked there were Mathematics options within the tripos.
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    (Original post by westhamfan)
    klkl, what would people think about applying for the NatSci though without the mathsphys combination?

    Can u do math modules within the Natsci course?
    Not only can you do maths, but everyone has to do maths in some form for at least a year (there are 3 options, taught in 4 courses - as calcium posted, read the prospectus, here, for the details. You can then take maths as one of your 3 second year options. Beyond that, I think the physics courses can become somewhat maths-intensive with certain options, but I don't know any details of those courses (being a chemist myself).
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    (Original post by westhamfan)
    klkl, what would people think about applying for the NatSci though without the mathsphys combination?

    Can u do math modules within the Natsci course?
    If you're a Physical NatSci (I think this applies if 2 of your 3 experimental subjects are 'physical' rather than biological but it probably depends on your DoS) you'll have to do a special Maths course for NatScis. Biological NatScis get a choice of that or two namby-pamby options for people who are scared of numbers.

    NatSci Maths IA and IB (the syllabuses, called 'schedules' are online) are quite different from the maths you'd do doing Maths and Physics in the first year and Maths in the second year (course details).

    The NatSci courses are mostly things they think you'll need to do physics and if you do the theoretical options in the third year you'll end up using most of the stuff that's in them. In proper maths they spend a lot more time doing things properly/faffing around. I guess it just depends how into maths you are and whether or not you want to do any other experimental subjects.

    One other thing you might like to consider is that if you want to be a genius whizz kid String Theorist at some point you'll have to switch to Maths anyway, unless they change things, because those courses are in the 4th year Maths course. If you're that amazing though I think you can normally switch from 3rd year Physics to 4th year Maths.
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    If you do Maths with Physics, then in your second year you can transfer to NatSci and do double Physics and Maths. Or you could continue with Maths and Physics. So if you decide you want to do more physics, you can change.
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    (Original post by ukebert)
    If you do Maths with Physics, then in your second year you can transfer to NatSci and do double Physics and Maths. Or you could continue with Maths and Physics. So if you decide you want to do more physics, you can change.
    After the first year you have to choose between doing the Maths course or doing Natsci. You can't continue with Maths and Physics.
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    If you're not keen on proofs, you'd probably be better suited to NatSci maths than Tripos maths. In particular, in the Maths Tripos there's an Analysis course that spends twenty-four lectures proving things about calculus that most scientists would be happy to either accept without proof or disregard entirely. (There's a Numbers and Sets course too which could be problematic, but I don't think you'd be doing that.) Plus the Dynamics, aka mechanics, isn't examined for Maths with Physics students, so you miss a lot of the stuff that would apply to Physics directly and maybe(?) be most interesting to you. Also, STEP is hell, even if (like me) you find the past papers fun.

    The NatSci maths courses are methods courses, which means they're pretty similar to A level maths - there's a focus on solving problems, and occasionally a lack of rigorous proof. Again, if you like that sort of thing, go for it. They normally take up about a quarter of the year.

    Hope that helps!
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    Cheers, I mite just apply for Oxford Physics...

    I don't really want to be bogged down with doing biology and other subjects

    That is probably more what I want to do
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    (Original post by westhamfan)
    Cheers, I mite just apply for Oxford Physics...

    I don't really want to be bogged down with doing biology and other subjects

    That is probably more what I want to do
    Well you wouldn't be able to do Biology without at least one of Bio or Chem at a-level...

    But yer, if you did Maths with Physics you wouldn't study anything other than Maths and Physics and if you did NatSci you'd probably only be able to take CompSci, Materials (I guess) and Geology as your other options - you wouldn't be forced into doing any sort of Biological Sciences...

    If you're undecided between Physics and Maths then applying for a joint course - with the option of transferring to either when you've had a year of studying them is probably quite good for you. Cambridge Maths w/Physics or some similar joint degree at Oxford would seem like the best option for you
 
 
 
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