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    Hi there,

    I'm studying MST124 and would love to know others' opinions of it compared to that of A Level Maths (specifically Core 1-4).

    I'm currently about 3/4 of the way through and finding the content to be much more straightforward than how I remember the A Level, which I studied about 8 years ago. That could be down to a number of things, namely my study skills have greatly improved since then and the content is similar so it's more of a refresher than studying it for the first time.

    However, I glanced through some of my old Core 3 and 4 textbooks earlier this evening and the material does in fact appear to be much tougher! But again, this could be down to the simple fact that the OU lays out the subject in a much more coherent way.

    The reason I'm asking is, I'm trying to decide whether it's worth continuing with MST125 in September or self-studying another A Level in Further Maths. What has been your experience?
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    (Original post by dwann)
    Hi there,

    I'm studying MST124 and would love to know others' opinions of it compared to that of A Level Maths (specifically Core 1-4).

    I'm currently about 3/4 of the way through and finding the content to be much more straightforward than how I remember the A Level, which I studied about 8 years ago. That could be down to a number of things, namely my study skills have greatly improved since then and the content is similar so it's more of a refresher than studying it for the first time.

    However, I glanced through some of my old Core 3 and 4 textbooks earlier this evening and the material does in fact appear to be much tougher! But again, this could be down to the simple fact that the OU lays out the subject in a much more coherent way.

    The reason I'm asking is, I'm trying to decide whether it's worth continuing with MST125 in September or self-studying another A Level in Further Maths. What has been your experience?
    Firstly: first year of OU degrees are different to both A-levels and other university degrees, (Captain State the Obvious remark maybe), so the three things aren't comparable. The first year of an OU degree is designed so that everybody from different educational backgrounds is given a strong grounding in their subject to allow them to cope with the large jump in difficulty at level 2 and then level 3. In my experience OU L1 is equivalent to a bridge between GCSE - A-level with some A-level content touched upon.

    Secondly: Your A-level textbooks will be harder because they are aimed at people with a strong grounding in GCSE maths.

    Thirdly: I don't know your aims, so I don't know if doing FM will help. What will you be doing with it? If you want to continue study with the OU, you can't substitute FM for MST125, or any other OU module.

    Finally: I haven't done either module, but having to spoken to, and read forum posts of people who have done the modules. There is a significant jump from MST124 to MST125, hence why they aren't supposed to be studied together. So you may feel more fulfilled when doing MST125 maybe.
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    (Original post by SuperCat007)
    Firstly: first year of OU degrees are different to both A-levels and other university degrees, (Captain State the Obvious remark maybe), so the three things aren't comparable. The first year of an OU degree is designed so that everybody from different educational backgrounds is given a strong grounding in their subject to allow them to cope with the large jump in difficulty at level 2 and then level 3. In my experience OU L1 is equivalent to a bridge between GCSE - A-level with some A-level content touched upon.
    I agree that the three things are not directly comparable. However, I assumed Level 1 would at least get you up to A Level standard and then cover a little material that is equivalent to first year of a brick university. This brings up the question again of how can the OU get you to the same degree standard by the end of the course? I understood that the OU has a steeper ramp than most other universities so that by the end, the two degrees are roughly comparable. What you're indicating is that by the end of Level 1, you're not at the same level as someone who has taken an A Level in the subject!

    (Original post by SuperCat007)
    Secondly: Your A-level textbooks will be harder because they are aimed at people with a strong grounding in GCSE maths.
    I thought the purpose of MU123 was to get you up to the level of GCSE such that MST124 is A Level standard?

    (Original post by SuperCat007)
    Thirdly: I don't know your aims, so I don't know if doing FM will help. What will you be doing with it? If you want to continue study with the OU, you can't substitute FM for MST125, or any other OU module.
    Aim is a combination of taking it to refresh my maths knowledge, to help me with another related subject, and also for fun. I am toying with the idea of taking the full degree but I'm paying for it out of pocket, hence my questions.

    (Original post by SuperCat007)
    Finally: I haven't done either module, but having to spoken to, and read forum posts of people who have done the modules. There is a significant jump from MST124 to MST125, hence why they aren't supposed to be studied together. So you may feel more fulfilled when doing MST125 maybe.
    Both have been designed to take together (or staircased with October and February start dates) for those students who have passed at A Level. I have heard the same, but from looking at the topics on the website it looks to me like it's an extension to MST124, rather than building on its depth. I'm more than up for being proven wrong, though!
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    I am an Arts student (English Lit) and I find the content comparable to that of A-level. The content covered is broader, but the essays on Classics and English are strikingly similar to their A-level counterparts having studied both.

    The year 1 content is denser, when I was studying history at A-level, I had one textbook with everything in it. For the first year of my lit degree, I have eight textbooks around 300 pages each and I have numerous set texts.

    All OU degrees tend to begin with A-level standard work, they progress rapidly to undergraduate level. Next week, I am expected to complete what would have taken a month at A-level, in a week (The period of Stalinism). That is half of my workload as it is only my set weekly work for one of my 60 credit modules. The initial module of any OU degree starts off fairly straightforward but advances rapidly. Your second level 1 unit should be significantly harder (hence why they recommend you don't study them together initially).

    The OU bypasses entry requirements by utilizing the ungraded first year to ground everyone. It provides a basis for specialization. Years 2 and 3 are comparable to that of a traditional brick uni degree. Year 1 in traditional universities is not graded at all, year 2 and 3 carry the weight of the degree in its entirety.

    The OU has to meet a certain rigor, otherwise, it would lose its charter to award degrees.

    If the difficulty is the only thing holding you back from finishing the degree, why not buy a year 2 textbook? I bought mine and the content is tough, it is more like a learning cliff.

    If you intend on leaving the OU, completing a FM A-level and then joining a brick university to take on a degree, you might want to look at this:

    https://www.timeshighereducation.com...asc/cols/stats

    The OU is currently in 12th place in the UK rankings for young universities.
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    (Original post by Phillip Banks)
    I am an Arts student (English Lit) and I find the content comparable to that of A-level. The content covered is broader, but the essays on Classics and English are strikingly similar to their A-level counterparts having studied both.

    The year 1 content is denser, when I was studying history at A-level, I had one textbook with everything in it. For the first year of my lit degree, I have eight textbooks around 300 pages each and I have numerous set texts.

    All OU degrees tend to begin with A-level standard work, they progress rapidly to undergraduate level. Next week, I am expected to complete what would have taken a month at A-level, in a week (The period of Stalinism). That is half of my workload as it is only my set weekly work for one of my 60 credit modules. The initial module of any OU degree starts off fairly straightforward but advances rapidly. Your second level 1 unit should be significantly harder (hence why they recommend you don't study them together initially).

    The OU bypasses entry requirements by utilizing the ungraded first year to ground everyone. It provides a basis for specialization. Years 2 and 3 are comparable to that of a traditional brick uni degree. Year 1 in traditional universities is not graded at all, year 2 and 3 carry the weight of the degree in its entirety.

    The OU has to meet a certain rigor, otherwise, it would lose its charter to award degrees.

    If the difficulty is the only thing holding you back from finishing the degree, why not buy a year 2 textbook? I bought mine and the content is tough, it is more like a learning cliff.

    If you intend on leaving the OU, completing a FM A-level and then joining a brick university to take on a degree, you might want to look at this:

    https://www.timeshighereducation.com...asc/cols/stats

    The OU is currently in 12th place in the UK rankings for young universities.
    So, I am in no way disputing the excellence of the OU. My experience so far has been terrific. I'm already a fan.

    In fact, I picked up a book on electromagnetism in a bookshop the other day which is authored by researchers at the University of Manchester. In the preface the authors explicitly mentioned that much of the content was developed by the OU and one of the Level 3 modules is based on it. I'm certainly impressed.

    My point here is, I already have an undergraduate degree from a brick university. My goal is to gain a solid (and somewhat rigorous) grounding in the foundations of mathematics. I am asking these questions because I need to evaluate continuing to study with the OU vs. alternatives.

    Your experience with your degree thus far may certainly be the case. However, as with all universities, not all courses are created equally. Maths (and indeed most sciences) are linear and have to be taught in a particular order. I am simply trying to figure out if MST124 and 125 will fulfil my goals.

    You raise a good point on getting hold of some L2 module textbooks. I'll look into that!
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    Is the content similar?

    Have you considered self-teaching FM on the side of studying your current modules? I self-taught AS chemistry for a while and it was pretty good. I would imagine that if you completed MST124 and 125, your foundation might be set. I suppose only you can determine how much will fulfill your desire.

    Gl with your studies!
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    (Original post by dwann)
    So, I am in no way disputing the excellence of the OU. My experience so far has been terrific. I'm already a fan.

    In fact, I picked up a book on electromagnetism in a bookshop the other day which is authored by researchers at the University of Manchester. In the preface the authors explicitly mentioned that much of the content was developed by the OU and one of the Level 3 modules is based on it. I'm certainly impressed.

    My point here is, I already have an undergraduate degree from a brick university. My goal is to gain a solid (and somewhat rigorous) grounding in the foundations of mathematics. I am asking these questions because I need to evaluate continuing to study with the OU vs. alternatives.

    Your experience with your degree thus far may certainly be the case. However, as with all universities, not all courses are created equally. Maths (and indeed most sciences) are linear and have to be taught in a particular order. I am simply trying to figure out if MST124 and 125 will fulfil my goals.

    You raise a good point on getting hold of some L2 module textbooks. I'll look into that!
    Now you've said that, and if you don't consider GCSE/A-level material to be a solid grounding in the foundations of maths (which arguably it is). Then I'd suggest you find some OU L2 and 3 maths textbooks and work through those.

    If you're wanting to continue to get a degree with the OU then obviously you will need to complete MST124 and 125 and all prerequisites, but if it is just for your enjoyment and to fulfil a want then I'd suggest ignoring L1 study and move onto L2 on your own. The OU may allow you to go straight into L2, but usually they insist on fulfilling the L1 prerequisites beforehand.
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    In MST124, the first quarter or so takes you through GCSE stuff, the middle half takes you through A-level maths (except for statistics/probabilities), and the last quarter takes you into some beginning A-levels further maths (complex numbers, matrices, etc.) but not all the way through them. MST124 is only a quarter of the OU Stage 1 credits, so going from lower than A-level maths to beyond it seems a pretty decent speed for me.

    MST124 and MST125 have different study calendars depending on whether you're taking them independently or jointly, so I think they probably are designed to be taken at the same time. I also disagree with the postulate that OU Stage 1 modules take students to less than an A-level education. If that were the case, surely they would simply teach students A-levels as the National Extension College does. Stage 1 should always take students beyond A-levels.

    Not having taken MST125 or A-level further maths, I don't know how much overlap there is between the two. Obviously there's some, in proofs, further calculus, differential equations, but it appears there are concepts taught in both that don't overlap.

    You can look at the syllabus for A-level further maths here, which shows you where it diverges from MST125.

    I do agree with SuperCat007 on one key point: Buying the textbooks sounds ideal for you, rather than signing up for the modules and spending the money. I certainly wouldn't have learned any less without a tutor.
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    Thanks for the replies.

    I've also done some further research and if the University of Bath's alternative entry requirements for Maths+Physics, Economics and Computer Science are anything to go by, it seems a grade of 80%+ in MST124 and MST224 is roughly equivalent to a grade A (or above) at A level. That is probably the level I'm aiming for at the moment and seeing as MST224 only really requires MST124 as a precursor, it looks to be the natural next step for me.
 
 
 
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