# The new A-Level maths is badly preparing students for study at Oxford? watch

1. I found out today that apparently students at Oxford University are not allowed to bring calculators into the exams. However, in the new A-level maths, students are allowed to bring a graphical calculator into every exam! I'm thinking about applying to Oxford next year, but when I've been working with a calculator for so long, the transition to university without a calculator is sure to be difficult. What do you think?
2. If you're god enough at maths you will be fine. For a level maths and the questions that only require a calculator you still meed to show raw working out to show you understand it
3. I doubt you'll struggle with the transition. Everybody gets used to it and university maths papers are completely different in style anyway. They won't be asking for calculations that you type into a calculator like some A-Level questions.

Although you do mention graphical calculators. You shouldn't be relying on their graphs, you should be able to sketch them yourself
4. (Original post by JammieDodger27)
I doubt you'll struggle with the transition. Everybody gets used to it and university maths papers are completely different in style anyway. They won't be asking for calculations that you type into a calculator like some A-Level questions.

Although you do mention graphical calculators. You shouldn't be relying on their graphs, you should be able to sketch them yourself
I can (just about!) sketch graphs by myself, but the graphical calculator has so many other useful features: it can instantly find roots (including complex ones) of polynomials, it has several statistics functions, etc.
5. (Original post by amaraub)
If you're god enough at maths you will be fine. For a level maths and the questions that only require a calculator you still meed to show raw working out to show you understand it
I always show my workings, but there are some things that the calculator can do instantly, like factorising quadratics, which I don't need to show much workings for anyway.
6. (Original post by purpleunicorns)
I can (just about!) sketch graphs by myself, but the graphical calculator has so many other useful features: it can instantly find roots (including complex ones) of polynomials, it has several statistics functions, etc.
You need to learn to sketch graphs and find roots of polynomials quickly and efficiently without a calculator. Although somebody going to Oxford to study maths will be able to do the above with ease.

Get used to using a standard calculator like everyone else so you'll be on a level playing field for interviews which I presume are non-calc.
7. (Original post by JammieDodger27)
Get used to using a standard calculator like everyone else so you'll be on a level playing field for interviews which I presume are non-calc.
You say 'like everyone else' but most other people have a graphical calculator. Using anything else would put me at a disadvantage in the A-level.
8. (Original post by purpleunicorns)
You say 'like everyone else' but most other people have a graphical calculator. Using anything else would put me at a disadvantage in the A-level.
Nobody in my further maths class has a graphical calculator
9. (Original post by purpleunicorns)
You say 'like everyone else' but most other people have a graphical calculator. Using anything else would put me at a disadvantage in the A-level.
Nobody in my class has one, most of us were actually surprised when we recently found out we could have one and tbh don't see many if anyone forking out the money for it as some are going for close to £80.
10. Fairly sure the only non calculator exam on the old spec was C1, which is hardly good prep for Oxford maths, so I don’t get your point at all

I doubt you’d be asked to find sin(127.6637382) in an Oxford paper to
11. this is a non-issue. definitely a stretch on your part.
12. (Original post by purpleunicorns)
You say 'like everyone else' but most other people have a graphical calculator. Using anything else would put me at a disadvantage in the A-level.
If you're so dependant on your calculator, then Oxford really isn't for you.
13. (Original post by student2134)
Nobody in my class has one, most of us were actually surprised when we recently found out we could have one and tbh don't see many if anyone forking out the money for it as some are going for close to £80.
Surprising: everyone in my further maths class has to have a graphical calculator (there are 15 of us)
If you're so dependant on your calculator, then Oxford really isn't for you.
I mean, I didn't say Oxford is necessarily for me. It might not be, I don't even know yet if I'm going to apply: this is purely hypothetical. But my question wasn't completely about me, it was largely about the confusion that A-Level maths doesn't necessarily seem like good preparation for university, and people might be getting good grades at A-Level who will then do badly at university without a calculator and visa versa.

Also, I didn't say that I am dependent on my calculator. In reality, I don't know if I'm dependent on my calculator, because the A-Level allows me to use my calculator, and I'm not exactly going to ditch the calculator to find out if I'm dependent on it. In order to get good grades in my A-Levels, I don't want to take the risk of trying things without a calculator (yes, I know the MAT is non-calculator so obviously I won't use a calculator when preparing for that).

TL;DR: just because someone's worried about being dependent on their calculator doesn't necessarily mean that they are dependent on their calculator.
15. Also, is anyone here cross with me? Obviously on the internet I'm not hearing your tone of voice, so it's difficult to tell if your comments are to be said in an annoyed voice or a helpful one.
16. (Original post by purpleunicorns)
I found out today that apparently students at Oxford University are not allowed to bring calculators into the exams. However, in the new A-level maths, students are allowed to bring a graphical calculator into every exam! I'm thinking about applying to Oxford next year, but when I've been working with a calculator for so long, the transition to university without a calculator is sure to be difficult. What do you think?
It's common at many universities not just Oxford, and the old Maths A-level spec mostly allowed calculators anyway.

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17. (Original post by _rhapsodic)
this is a non-issue. definitely a stretch on your part.
Was that a pun?
18. (Original post by Doonesbury)
It's common at many universities not just Oxford, and the old Maths A-level spec mostly allowed calculators anyway.

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19. (Original post by purpleunicorns)
Concerned about what? It's been like this for years. Everyone copes.

University maths doesn't need a calculator.

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20. (Original post by Doonesbury)
Concerned about what? It's been like this for years. Everyone copes.

University maths doesn't need a calculator.

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Eh maybe I'm more concerned than I need to be then

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Updated: February 16, 2018
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