MAT/STEP tuition and Oxbridge interview preparation

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skateboardwhiz
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#1
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#1
Any recommendations for any places that offer such tuition/training in London or nearabouts?
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IrrationalRoot
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#2
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#2
You don't need tuition or training; best approach for both is just to practise solving as many problems as possible.
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MaxBenjamin
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#3
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#3
This is one of the books I use to teach STEP.

Just work through the problems. Attempt the problem FIRST, then compare with the worked solutions.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/udthdtcjj2...81%29.pdf?dl=0
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EnglishMuon
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#4
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#4
do not use tuition. best way is to just sit and do it. talk about qs on tsr if needed for help, but it cant be taught.
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Heptagon
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#5
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#5
(Original post by IrrationalRoot)
You don't need tuition or training; best approach for both is just to practising solving as many problems as possible.
(Original post by EnglishMuon)
do not use tuition. best way is to just sit and do it. talk about qs on tsr if needed for help, but it cant be taught.
How come it can't be taught? Is it because you have to develop your own version of mathematical ingenuity to solve problems? Which you can't get from someone holding your hand?
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RogerOxon
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Student1914)
How come it can't be taught? Is it because you have to develop your own version of mathematical ingenuity to solve problems? Which you can't get from someone holding your hand?
The MAT is designed to test ability, not the amount of tutoring that you've had. That's hard to achieve, but does tilt the balance towards having really understood by grappling with Maths yourself. You need to be really sure of the basics and have good mathematical reasoning. There are plenty of past papers to look at, and identify your weaknesses with.

Good luck, and have fun!
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Physics Enemy
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Student1914)
How come it can't be taught? Is it because you have to develop your own version of mathematical ingenuity to solve problems? Which you can't get from someone holding your hand?
Can be taught to an extent, in the same way someone may get a tutor for A-Level Maths. Or learnt by doing nearly every type of Q through a sea of past papers. Neither are something I'd be interested in personally, but some are willing to go the extra mile.

(Original post by RogerOxon)
The MAT is designed to test ability ... there are plenty of past papers to look at
Mmm, having a good teacher/tutor/helper and doing a sea of past papers really helps, I wouldn't call that testing ability really, though ability helps. Else one could do the exams cold/blind.
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Zacken
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#8
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#8
Agree with tutoring being a waste of money. You're better off using the free resources (Siklos booklet, TSR thread, cambridge maths step assignments, step forum run by cambridge) most of which are official, Cambridge-run things. A tutor who'll mark your papers (and will likely not know how marking works) and shows you how to do questions (actively harmlful imo) is just going to be ripping you off.
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artful_lounger
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#9
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#9
Also interview prep courses/tutors tend to backfire from what I've heard, as the admissions tutors usually see pre-prepared responses a mile away and change subject and ask you about something else - they're trying to understand how you think, not how well you can memorise a canned response.

For STEP I understand the best preparation (as with all maths, really) is just working through as much of it as you can yourself. There is a thread here (I think actually made by Zacken) which discusses some common "tips and tricks" for it (e.g. certain shortcuts that are often able to be used on some questions) but there isn't really a formal way to tutor it as it's functionally the same material as A-level; they would just be teaching you the same material again, or trying to teach you how to take a particular exam (which usually doesn't work very well, isn't very helpful, and ends up being a waste of money - or worse, becomes an industry and undermines the integrity of said exam as a measure of success, ala the SATs in the US).
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MaxBenjamin
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#10
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#10
You wouldn't actually get the student to memorise a canned response, that would be silly. But you have to assume that the candidates they are competing against are as academically capable as they are (i.e top UMS marks also).

Applying to Oxbridge? You have to stand out, simple as that.

Do you have potential? There are certain key things that are common in maths students that have great potential. And these are what Cambridge and Oxford they will be looking for. And these are easy to spot.

How would someone who is extremely interested in maths behave? Chances are he/she would have an insatiable appetite for anything maths, and would be reading around the subject and learning more than what is taught, spending majority of your spare time thinking about and doing maths.

What interesting maths can you talk about?

Do you understand the Monty Hall problem and the maths for it?

If they ask "Why Maths?" or "Why do you want to study this?" etc Do you talk about how your amazed at all the myriad of ways to prove 

 \zeta\left({2}\right) = \sum_{n \mathop = 1}^\infty \frac{1}{n^2} = \frac{\pi^2}{6} 

, which span every area of maths? How you can barely understand one of the proofs you've read, but are desperate to understand every one of them all??

Can you talk about how you would one day want to contribute to the human understanding of maths?

Do you have an overwhelming desire to learn maths?

Can you talk for hours about maths, how interesting it is, what it all means and it's importance, well beyond the typical student?

Can you convey that you are self-driven? Low maintenance? Put in a lot of effort? Do you use perfect mathematical notation? Do you do LOTS of maths questions?

And bear in mind, all the top independent schools have Oxbridge preparation programs for their students, and I think it's safe to say they know what they are doing.
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black1blade
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#11
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#11
I think my state school will give me a couple mock interviews but that'll be extent to which they help probs.
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MaxBenjamin
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#12
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(Original post by black1blade)
I think my state school will give me a couple mock interviews but that'll be extent to which they help probs.
Oxbridge will actually take that into account.
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black1blade
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#13
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#13
(Original post by MaxBenjamin)
Oxbridge will actually take that into account.
Honestly I'll wanna skip to the questions part of the interview asap rather than potentially rehersed for some "why do you want to study this" ect bits.
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Zacken
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#14
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#14
(Original post by MaxBenjamin)
Oxbridge will actually take that into account.
Huh? They won't specifically ask you if your school provides interview help and so, can't directly take that into account. Of course, they do view your application contextually and know what kind of school/region/situation you're at, but they won't assume you have interview help just because you go to a particular school and so can't take it into account.
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MaxBenjamin
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#15
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#15
(Original post by black1blade)
Honestly I'll wanna skip to the questions part of the interview asap rather than potentially rehersed for some "why do you want to study this" ect bits.
If you really are interested in maths, you'll be able to answer that.
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Zacken
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#16
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#16
(Original post by MaxBenjamin)
You wouldn't actually get the student to memorise a canned response, that would be silly. But you have to assume that the candidates they are competing against are as academically capable as they are (i.e top UMS marks also).

Applying to Oxbridge? You have to stand out, simple as that.

Do you have potential? There are certain key things that are common in maths students that have great potential. And these are what Cambridge and Oxford they will be looking for. And these are easy to spot.

How would someone who is extremely interested in maths behave? Chances are he/she would have an insatiable appetite for anything maths, and would be reading around the subject and learning more than what is taught, spending majority of your spare time thinking about and doing maths.

What interesting maths can you talk about?

Do you understand the Monty Hall problem and the maths for it?

If they ask "Why Maths?" or "Why do you want to study this?" etc Do you talk about how your amazed at all the myriad of ways to prove 

 \zeta\left({2}\right) = \sum_{n \mathop = 1}^\infty \frac{1}{n^2} = \frac{\pi^2}{6} 

, which span every area of maths? How you can barely understand one of the proofs you've read, but are desperate to understand every one of them all??

Can you talk about how you would one day want to contribute to the human understanding of maths?

Do you have an overwhelming desire to learn maths?

Can you talk for hours about maths, how interesting it is, what it all means and it's importance, well beyond the typical student?

Can you convey that you are self-driven? Low maintenance? Put in a lot of effort? Do you use perfect mathematical notation? Do you do LOTS of maths questions?

And bear in mind, all the top independent schools have Oxbridge preparation programs for their students, and I think it's safe to say they know what they are doing.
I disagree with most of this. I think you have a flawed perception of maths interviews at Cambridge and what they're looking for. For the record, I'm a current maths student at Cambridge.
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MaxBenjamin
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#17
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#17
(Original post by Zacken)
Huh? They won't specifically ask you if your school provides interview help and so, can't directly take that into account. Of course, they do view your application contextually and know what kind of school/region/situation you're at, but they won't assume you have interview help just because you go to a particular school and so can't take it into account.
They know.
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Zacken
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#18
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#18
(Original post by MaxBenjamin)
They know.
No, they do not.
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black1blade
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#19
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#19
(Original post by Zacken)
Huh? They won't specifically ask you if your school provides interview help and so, can't directly take that into account. Of course, they do view your application contextually and know what kind of school/region/situation you're at, but they won't assume you have interview help just because you go to a particular school and so can't take it into account.
Is there an initial, "why do you want to study x" question or is it straight into testing problem solving and communication skills?
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Zacken
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#20
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#20
(Original post by black1blade)
Is there an initial, "why do you want to study x" question or is it straight into testing problem solving and communication skills?
There's no standard rule, but I'd say it's incredibly rare (I certainly don't know anyone who has) to be asked "why do you want to study x" at a maths interview at Cambridge. My DoS's and supervisors also say that they don't care about that sort of thing. It's just jumping straight into mathematical problems. Of course, as always, there will be the exceptions.
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