Chr15
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I'm currently in year 12 deciding what I want to study for university, I do maths, further maths, physics and chemistry but I might be forced to drop chemistry soon .

But I'm figuring out if I want to study maths or general engineering since I have no preference right now of what engineering I might like, I've just heard what they're like but never experienced engineering other than doing work experience at a civil engineering consulting company.

With maths I've really enjoyed a lot and love to do more than physics but one of my teachers makes me dislike maths and I sometimes feel like I don't want to study maths.

I'm aiming to go to top universities like warwick durham and maybe cambridge but we'll see

Any advice?
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Harrybeld
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Go to open days and look into both courses and see what picks your fancy.
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Smack
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(Original post by Chr15)
I'm currently in year 12 deciding what I want to study for university, I do maths, further maths, physics and chemistry but I might be forced to drop chemistry soon .

But I'm figuring out if I want to study maths or general engineering since I have no preference right now of what engineering I might like, I've just heard what they're like but never experienced engineering other than doing work experience at a civil engineering consulting company.

With maths I've really enjoyed a lot and love to do more than physics but one of my teachers makes me dislike maths and I sometimes feel like I don't want to study maths.

I'm aiming to go to top universities like warwick durham and maybe cambridge but we'll see

Any advice?
What do you want to do career wise?
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Chr15
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(Original post by Smack)
What do you want to do career wise?
I'm honestly not sure yet but I've been interested in teaching, engineering or if I want to make money early on then banking and finance.
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David Getling
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(Original post by Chr15)
I'm currently in year 12 deciding what I want to study for university, I do maths, further maths, physics and chemistry but I might be forced to drop chemistry soon .

But I'm figuring out if I want to study maths or general engineering since I have no preference right now of what engineering I might like, I've just heard what they're like but never experienced engineering other than doing work experience at a civil engineering consulting company.

With maths I've really enjoyed a lot and love to do more than physics but one of my teachers makes me dislike maths and I sometimes feel like I don't want to study maths.

I'm aiming to go to top universities like warwick durham and maybe cambridge but we'll see

Any advice?
Do you like to get your hands dirty, doing practical things? If so you will probably enjoy engineering. If not maths might be a better choice.
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Muttley79
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(Original post by Chr15)
I'm honestly not sure yet but I've been interested in teaching, engineering or if I want to make money early on then banking and finance.
Do you prefer pure or applied maths?

For Engineering the RG universites are always the best - look for unis with a year in industry and a course that is more than theory.
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Smack
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(Original post by Chr15)
I'm honestly not sure yet but I've been interested in teaching, engineering or if I want to make money early on then banking and finance.
All of those can be accessed via both engineering and maths - although engineering is much easier with an engineering degree, unless you're only looking at highly mathematical type roles.
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Dysf(x)al
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(Original post by Chr15)
I'm currently in year 12 deciding what I want to study for university, I do maths, further maths, physics and chemistry but I might be forced to drop chemistry soon .

But I'm figuring out if I want to study maths or general engineering since I have no preference right now of what engineering I might like, I've just heard what they're like but never experienced engineering other than doing work experience at a civil engineering consulting company.

With maths I've really enjoyed a lot and love to do more than physics but one of my teachers makes me dislike maths and I sometimes feel like I don't want to study maths.

I'm aiming to go to top universities like warwick durham and maybe cambridge but we'll see

Any advice?
I was in basically the same position as you 2 years ago, ended up going with maths and don't regret it (although I'm sure I'd have been happy had I ended up doing engineering).

Main thing I'd recommend is to think about what bits you enjoy about both subjects. In my case I always prefered the more mathsy bits of physics and engineering, and I liked the rigourous proof-type stuff that you get in a maths degree (and not really anywhere else). On the other hand if you really like the practical/lab side of engineering and would miss it if you did maths, go for engineering. Bear in mind for cambridge maths (not sure about other courses) you can do courses like fluids, electromagnetism etc, but of course you'd get a more theoretical stance.

Also go to as many open days as you can to really get a feel for what your subjects will be like at uni level.
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Chr15
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(Original post by David Getling)
Do you like to get your hands dirty, doing practical things? If so you will probably enjoy engineering. If not maths might be a better choice.
I like the practicals and being able to play with stuff but I want to be able to use maths mostly at the same time, I've done some work experience and the maths I've done is like year 1 maths without calculus which I find a bit boring.
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Chr15
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(Original post by Dysf(x)al)
I was in basically the same position as you 2 years ago, ended up going with maths and don't regret it (although I'm sure I'd have been happy had I ended up doing engineering).

Main thing I'd recommend is to think about what bits you enjoy about both subjects. In my case I always prefered the more mathsy bits of physics and engineering, and I liked the rigourous proof-type stuff that you get in a maths degree (and not really anywhere else). On the other hand if you really like the practical/lab side of engineering and would miss it if you did maths, go for engineering. Bear in mind for cambridge maths (not sure about other courses) you can do courses like fluids, electromagnetism etc, but of course you'd get a more theoretical stance.

Also go to as many open days as you can to really get a feel for what your subjects will be like at uni level.
Yeh I tend to find the maths part between my subjects so much more interesting but I still enjoy having to think a lot in terms of physics and chemistry terminology but being able to play with numbers and proofs are what I'd do for fun.
I still want to be able to look at practicals sometimes but maybe if I was to study just maths then could I do certain practicals for fun? Like building some stuff with 3d printing or doing research into particle physics I'm not sure if I'd be able to do that
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Chr15
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(Original post by Muttley79)
Do you prefer pure or applied maths?

For Engineering the RG universites are always the best - look for unis with a year in industry and a course that is more than theory.
I'd say I hate applied mostly because of how my teacher treats me :/ I just feel dumb and unwanted by him but with pure I enjoy that alot more overall.
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Muttley79
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(Original post by Chr15)
I'd say I hate applied mostly because of how my teacher treats me :/ I just feel dumb and unwanted by him but with pure I enjoy that alot more overall.
OK - applied is more closely allied to Engineering. I'd go to some Open Days on a Saturday to find out more and read course descriptions.
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Smack
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(Original post by Chr15)
I like the practicals and being able to play with stuff but I want to be able to use maths mostly at the same time, I've done some work experience and the maths I've done is like year 1 maths without calculus which I find a bit boring.
If you want to regularly use more advanced maths like calculus etc. then lots of engineering jobs aren't going to be for you (although some might be. And you might change your mind by the time you graduate, too). Perhaps you could also look at certain fields within software and data science, that might be quite mathematical? Statistics? Research?
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Dysf(x)al
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(Original post by Chr15)
Yeh I tend to find the maths part between my subjects so much more interesting but I still enjoy having to think a lot in terms of physics and chemistry terminology but being able to play with numbers and proofs are what I'd do for fun.
I still want to be able to look at practicals sometimes but maybe if I was to study just maths then could I do certain practicals for fun? Like building some stuff with 3d printing or doing research into particle physics I'm not sure if I'd be able to do that
It sounds like you really enjoy both the maths side of things and the engineering side, so really try to get to some open days (or even better, summer schools if you can qualify for them). Unfortunately at Cambridge I don't think you can do labs if you're not on that course (I imagine this holds for other unis too), but you could look into joint courses such as maths with physics or a particular branch of engineering that interests you most.
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GlassPlant
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(Original post by Dysf(x)al)
It sounds like you really enjoy both the maths side of things and the engineering side, so really try to get to some open days (or even better, summer schools if you can qualify for them). Unfortunately at Cambridge I don't think you can do labs if you're not on that course (I imagine this holds for other unis too), but you could look into joint courses such as maths with physics or a particular branch of engineering that interests you most.
Are you at Cambridge? I'm in y12 and still sort of undecided between maths physics and engineering as I enjoy the practical part of engineering and the idea of a career where you use science to solve real world problems, but I've heard that engineering careers don't actually use that much maths which I'm not as much of a fan of. Would you mind elaborating a little bit more on what "rigorous" means in terms of university maths or engineering? Also at Cambridge is there any possibility that you can switch courses if you find that your current course isn't the right fit for you?

(Original post by Smack)
If you want to regularly use more advanced maths like calculus etc. then lots of engineering jobs aren't going to be for you (although some might be. And you might change your mind by the time you graduate, too). Perhaps you could also look at certain fields within software and data science, that might be quite mathematical? Statistics? Research?
I saw in some university prospectuses that engineering courses have "methods" modules that uses a lot of higher level maths but is it true that you don't really use it in your career?
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Chr15
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(Original post by Smack)
If you want to regularly use more advanced maths like calculus etc. then lots of engineering jobs aren't going to be for you (although some might be. And you might change your mind by the time you graduate, too). Perhaps you could also look at certain fields within software and data science, that might be quite mathematical? Statistics? Research?
I'd prefer to use more advanced maths or a lot of problem solving that makes me think. Kind of like UKMT or STEP questions I find them really fun but I've never really looked at sofware and data science as I thought they'd be a bit too much applied or use of computers and coding.

(Original post by Muttley79)
OK - applied is more closely allied to Engineering. I'd go to some Open Days on a Saturday to find out more and read course descriptions.
Unless you have any articles or websites I should go look at as well to decide. I've always looked at maths questions (like ukmt and step) more than a PAT or engineering entrance exams so I guess I've been exposed to more maths complex stuff rather than engineering. Also are there any upcoming open days before july?
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Muttley79
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(Original post by Chr15)
I'd prefer to use more advanced maths or a lot of problem solving that makes me think. Kind of like UKMT or STEP questions I find them really fun but I've never really looked at sofware and data science as I thought they'd be a bit too much applied or use of computers and coding.


Unless you have any articles or websites I should go look at as well to decide. I've always looked at maths questions (like ukmt and step) more than a PAT or engineering entrance exams so I guess I've been exposed to more maths complex stuff rather than engineering. Also are there any upcoming open days before july?
Look here for some: https://www.opendays.com/calendar/
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Dysf(x)al
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(Original post by GlassPlant)
Are you at Cambridge? I'm in y12 and still sort of undecided between maths physics and engineering as I enjoy the practical part of engineering and the idea of a career where you use science to solve real world problems, but I've heard that engineering careers don't actually use that much maths which I'm not as much of a fan of. Would you mind elaborating a little bit more on what "rigorous" means in terms of university maths or engineering? Also at Cambridge is there any possibility that you can switch courses if you find that your current course isn't the right fit for you?


I saw in some university prospectuses that engineering courses have "methods" modules that uses a lot of higher level maths but is it true that you don't really use it in your career?
Yep - I'm currently a first-year studying maths (but I'll try to be unbiased). Someone with more experience could probably give a better answer, but I would say "rigour" is partly to do with accuracy (e.g. if you approximate something with a binomial/taylor expansion, you would also prove a bound on the error) and partly the "why"s rather than the "how"s. For example rather than just learning how to do something, you would learn why it's done that way (even down to things like why the real numbers behave how they do) and investigate how to extend it to other things or what happens if you change the "rules". Of course the downside is a lot of this won't immediately have obvious applications.

You can switch courses if you're quick about it, but they might require you to have met the entry requirements for whatever you're switching to. Switching to engineering is supposedly easier than switching to maths but having done STEP probably strengthens your case. In fact definitely look at STEP anyway as it'll give you a better idea of whether maths at uni is for you. Also consider that engineering courses are basically all 4 years (giving you a MEng which is pretty much required to be an actual engineer), whereas maths can be either 3 or 4, and sometimes to do the 4th year you have to have done quite well in the first 3.
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Smack
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(Original post by GlassPlant)
I saw in some university prospectuses that engineering courses have "methods" modules that uses a lot of higher level maths but is it true that you don't really use it in your career?
There is quite a big variance in engineering careers in terms of what they entail, but I'd estimate on average relatively few will require proficiency with the kind of advanced maths taught on the degree, or even A-level standard (like calculus). Virtually all engineering degrees will have maths modules to cover the maths methods required for the degree, but engineering jobs often have a lot more to them than just doing sums, and many of the sums aren't that mathematically challenging.

You can get some jobs that require a solid understanding of the type of maths taught during the degree, e.g. analyst/analysis jobs, doing things like finite element analysis (FEA), computational fluid dynamics (CFD), etc.

(Original post by Chr15)
I'd prefer to use more advanced maths or a lot of problem solving that makes me think. Kind of like UKMT or STEP questions I find them really fun but I've never really looked at sofware and data science as I thought they'd be a bit too much applied or use of computers and coding.
I'm not sure what kind of maths UKMT or STEP uses, but from what you're saying you'd probably be more suited to a maths degree.
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(Original post by Dysf(x)al)
Yep - I'm currently a first-year studying maths (but I'll try to be unbiased). Someone with more experience could probably give a better answer, but I would say "rigour" is partly to do with accuracy (e.g. if you approximate something with a binomial/taylor expansion, you would also prove a bound on the error) and partly the "why"s rather than the "how"s. For example rather than just learning how to do something, you would learn why it's done that way (even down to things like why the real numbers behave how they do) and investigate how to extend it to other things or what happens if you change the "rules". Of course the downside is a lot of this won't immediately have obvious applications.

You can switch courses if you're quick about it, but they might require you to have met the entry requirements for whatever you're switching to. Switching to engineering is supposedly easier than switching to maths but having done STEP probably strengthens your case. In fact definitely look at STEP anyway as it'll give you a better idea of whether maths at uni is for you. Also consider that engineering courses are basically all 4 years (giving you a MEng which is pretty much required to be an actual engineer), whereas maths can be either 3 or 4, and sometimes to do the 4th year you have to have done quite well in the first 3.
Thanks! I've heard that maths courses are significantly more proof-based than A level courses as for example the way my teachers taught differentiation and integration this year (even in further maths) was quite wishy washy and didn't really explain why integration "reverses" differentiation or what it has to do with areas or gradients. Is the type of proof you do in uni maths on a similar level to the small amount of proof in A level or is it really different in style?

Do you think it's particularly more difficult to get into Cambridge for maths compared to engineering since maths has STEP which cuts out lots of people who manage to get offers? Also do they ask you about your personal statement in interviews for maths>
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