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

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1. (Original post by usfbullz)
Was that a pun?
You tell me.
2. I'm surprised someone wanting to go to Oxford Maths can't use logic to tell that if they don't use a calculator at university maths it's not because they want you to use maclaurin series to approximate various functions or a binomial expansion to approximate a square root but is instead because the emphasis is not on being competent numerically and is more proof based etc
3. Exactly. I think the OP is probably doing GCSE's or AS Levels, where calculators are used much more heavily than in A2. In FP2 and FP3, you rely a lot less on calculators, and most answers need to left in exact terms (for example as a surd or a combination of logs rather than as a decimal). There are chapters in FP3 where no numbers are seen at all, which may be a foreign concept for someone who hasn't done further maths (certainly was for me).
4. (Original post by mehmehmeh01)
Exactly. I think the OP is probably doing GCSE's or AS Levels, where calculators are used much more heavily than in A2. In FP2 and FP3, you rely a lot less on calculators, and most answers need to left in exact terms (for example as a surd or a combination of logs rather than as a decimal). There are chapters in FP3 where no numbers are seen at all, which may be a foreign concept for someone who hasn't done further maths (certainly was for me).
True - I remember one of the answers in FP2 last year being

(1/2) + (35/8)sqrt(3),

and they wanted the answer left in exact form. Calculators usually help the most in applied maths modules (statistics especially, with all of the chi-squared, t-test and F-test stuff). At higher levels, pure maths rarely requires a calculator, and the UKMT maths challenges actually prohibit the use of a calculator. Lots of complex maths problems don't actually have any complex arithmetic in them.
5. (Original post by mupsman2312)
True - I remember one of the answers in FP2 last year being

(1/2) + (35/8)sqrt(3),

and they wanted the answer left in exact form. Calculators usually help the most in applied maths modules (statistics especially, with all of the chi-squared, t-test and F-test stuff). At higher levels, pure maths rarely requires a calculator, and the UKMT maths challenges actually prohibit the use of a calculator. Lots of complex maths problems don't actually have any complex arithmetic in them.
I use my calculator mostly for checking my answers though. Your example about the answer being 1/2 + 35/8 sqrt(3), I would work the answer out by myself, then plug the question into my calculator to see if I get a decimal that is the same as the answer I got by myself.
6. I've stopped watching this thread now, as I don't think I can get any more out of it.
7. The calculator really is the least of your worries
8. (Original post by purpleunicorns)
Eh maybe I'm more concerned than I need to be then
People did maths degrees long before calculators were invented. People even sat O level and A level without them <shock> ... I think you need to research what a Maths degree involves.

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Updated: February 16, 2018
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