ccdorset
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Hello,

After much deliberation I've decided that I'd like to return to education and apply to study a BSc in Mathematics at uni.

I'm 34 and haven't studied for 18 years now! (Feeling very old!) I achieved 10 GCSEs Grades A-C, including an A in Maths, but didn't do A-Levels.

I'm just wondering if anyone has done something similar and returned to Maths after not studying it for a long period of time and what you did to prepare?

I know I'm going to need to do some Level 3 study, but not sure on the route to go down. I've missed the boat for an Access to HE course this year, but not sure whether I could perhaps look at squeezing in Maths/Further Maths A-Levels this academic year via distance learning. Or whether OU modules will be sufficient.

I guess I will need to contact a few of the universities and check their entry requirements. Not sure if I'm being a bit too optimistic thinking I can get to the level required by next September, having not studied maths for so long!

Thanks for your help.

David
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willsenberg66
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Hey man, not sure if this is going to be any help,

Have you looked into foundation years at any universities? I like you have no level 3 qualifications, although I am a little younger at 21, I want to study physics and have also been a little worried about not being fresh enough on my maths and physics. So I looked into the AHE courses, however they're very limited around my area, so contacted many universities that would accept me as a mature student without any level 3 qualifications on a foundation year, to which I got a few positive responses to say they would definitely consider me and encouraged me to apply over the AHE course. So that's what I've done. Maybe take a look at them?

I know Aberystwyth, Bristol, York, and Liverpool definitely take on students without level 3 for the foundation year, but there will be definitely more!
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ccdorset
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(Original post by willsenberg66)
Hey man, not sure if this is going to be any help,

Have you looked into foundation years at any universities? I like you have no level 3 qualifications, although I am a little younger at 21, I want to study physics and have also been a little worried about not being fresh enough on my maths and physics. So I looked into the AHE courses, however they're very limited around my area, so contacted many universities that would accept me as a mature student without any level 3 qualifications on a foundation year, to which I got a few positive responses to say they would definitely consider me and encouraged me to apply over the AHE course. So that's what I've done. Maybe take a look at them?

I know Aberystwyth, Bristol, York, and Liverpool definitely take on students without level 3 for the foundation year, but there will be definitely more!
Hey! Thanks for your reply. :-)

I haven't really looked into any of the foundation years properly, but it sounds like they might be an option for me too! I'm in a similar boat to you with the AHE courses, they are very limited where I live too. That's really encouraging that they have said they would consider you without the Level 3 qualifications. I'll definitely take a look.

Bristol and York are on my list of possible choices too, so that's really positive.

Thanks :-)
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artful_lounger
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You would need to contact individual universities to see if OU modules might meet their requirements (I imagine a few will), or consider an Access to HE course plus maths with foundation year degree. Unfortunately I think it's unlikely that you will find an Access course that meets the requirements for direct entry. Taking the A-levels is an option and that would give you the benefit of knowing you are on the same footing as other applicants.

One thing I would note though is that degree level maths is very different in style and substance to GCSE and A-level Maths, which are more "mathematical methods" type maths. Degree level maths is very abstract and proof based. It might be worth looking into seeing if you can find some degree level maths textbook, for example and introduction to analysis or linear algebra (for the latter that is abstract/proof based) to see in a sense how university level maths "works".
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willsenberg66
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(Original post by ccdorset)
Hey! Thanks for your reply. :-)

I haven't really looked into any of the foundation years properly, but it sounds like they might be an option for me too! I'm in a similar boat to you with the AHE courses, they are very limited where I live too. That's really encouraging that they have said they would consider you without the Level 3 qualifications. I'll definitely take a look.

Bristol and York are on my list of possible choices too, so that's really positive.

Thanks :-)
For sure man no worries! Yeah, it was a really positive reply from the universities who encouraged me to apply, so I'm pretty confident I'll get a place, universities seem to love mature students anyway! Good luck!
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boulderingislife
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(Original post by ccdorset)
Hello,

After much deliberation I've decided that I'd like to return to education and apply to study a BSc in Mathematics at uni.

I'm 34 and haven't studied for 18 years now! (Feeling very old!) I achieved 10 GCSEs Grades A-C, including an A in Maths, but didn't do A-Levels.

I'm just wondering if anyone has done something similar and returned to Maths after not studying it for a long period of time and what you did to prepare?

I know I'm going to need to do some Level 3 study, but not sure on the route to go down. I've missed the boat for an Access to HE course this year, but not sure whether I could perhaps look at squeezing in Maths/Further Maths A-Levels this academic year via distance learning. Or whether OU modules will be sufficient.

I guess I will need to contact a few of the universities and check their entry requirements. Not sure if I'm being a bit too optimistic thinking I can get to the level required by next September, having not studied maths for so long!

Thanks for your help.

David
As long as you have the motivation, age is no barrier! I am in my early 30’s and studying alevel maths and f maths using my old textbooks from school which I kept. I’m doing it to relearn what I knew and have forgotten. In theory you could just get the text books and teach yourself alevel maths and f maths in a year, and next summer or jan start a foundation year in maths, then move onto a bsc.

bigger question is, how will you afford it all? Uni is very expensive because the tory scum made it 9k a year. I want to go back and do a second degree but being working class I cant afford 9k a year. I don’t have millionaire parents who can pay for whatever I want. I wish they would make uni free like in germany.
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AlphaZeta
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(Original post by boulderingislife)
As long as you have the motivation, age is no barrier! I am in my early 30’s and studying alevel maths and f maths using my old textbooks from school which I kept. I’m doing it to relearn what I knew and have forgotten. In theory you could just get the text books and teach yourself alevel maths and f maths in a year, and next summer or jan start a foundation year in maths, then move onto a bsc.

bigger question is, how will you afford it all? Uni is very expensive because the tory scum made it 9k a year. I want to go back and do a second degree but being working class I cant afford 9k a year. I don’t have millionaire parents who can pay for whatever I want. I wish they would make uni free like in germany.
Would I qualify for free tuition fees if I moved to Scotland?
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boulderingislife
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(Original post by AlphaZeta)
Would I qualify for free tuition fees if I moved to Scotland?
Nope I don’t think so. French would get free tuition in scotland because scots have to treat europeans the same as home students (other scots), but that rule doesn’t apply within the home country, so we are in a stupid situation where english students have to pay more to study the same degree in scotland than french students

It’s a totally dumb system!

Edit; come end of jan, french will have to pay international fees like chinese or americans studying in scotland I believe,
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Thisismyunitsr
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(Original post by boulderingislife)
As long as you have the motivation, age is no barrier! I am in my early 30’s and studying alevel maths and f maths using my old textbooks from school which I kept. I’m doing it to relearn what I knew and have forgotten. In theory you could just get the text books and teach yourself alevel maths and f maths in a year, and next summer or jan start a foundation year in maths, then move onto a bsc.

bigger question is, how will you afford it all? Uni is very expensive because the tory scum made it 9k a year. I want to go back and do a second degree but being working class I cant afford 9k a year. I don’t have millionaire parents who can pay for whatever I want. I wish they would make uni free like in germany.
This isn’t related to OPs question but they can make university free, providing less people go.


50% of people go to university.

25% of jobs require a degree.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist that most of them don’t need to be there and would be better suited to other methods of education. If we limited the number of people at university then we could reduce the fees or make university free as it would be more affordable for the government to pay tuition fees.
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AlphaZeta
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(Original post by boulderingislife)
Nope I don’t think so. French would get free tuition in scotland because scots have to treat europeans the same as home students (other scots), but that rule doesn’t apply within the home country, so we are in a stupid situation where english students have to pay more to study the same degree in scotland than french students

It’s a totally dumb system!

Edit; come end of jan, french will have to pay international fees like chinese or americans studying in scotland I believe,
I was wondering if you take up residence are you classed as home student like someone born in Scotland?
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boulderingislife
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(Original post by Thisismyunitsr)
This isn’t related to OPs question but they can make university free, providing less people go.


50% of people go to university.

25% of jobs require a degree.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist that most of them don’t need to be there and would be better suited to other methods of education. If we limited the number of people at university then we could reduce the fees or make university free as it would be more affordable for the government to pay tuition fees.
According to this 53% of young people enter tertiary education in germany: http://www.oecd.org/education/German...untry-Note.pdf

If they can make uni free, so can we. It isn’t about money, it’s about politics. If there were the political willpower to do it, it could be done.
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boulderingislife
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(Original post by AlphaZeta)
I was wondering if you take up residence are you classed as home student like someone born in Scotland?
I think you’d have to live there for a few years before you are treated as a home student. Even then, you’d have to check with the student loans company.

If you are geographically mobile, why don’t you go to europe? In germany it is free, and i believe many courses are taught in english.
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AlphaZeta
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(Original post by boulderingislife)
I think you’d have to live there for a few years before you are treated as a home student. Even then, you’d have to check with the student loans company.

If you are geographically mobile, why don’t you go to europe? In germany it is free, and i believe many courses are taught in english.
Unfortunately, I'm immobile to various constraints and would have been nice to do another degree.
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Thisismyunitsr
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(Original post by boulderingislife)
According to this 53% of young people enter tertiary education in germany: http://www.oecd.org/education/German...untry-Note.pdf

If they can make uni free, so can we. It isn’t about money, it’s about politics. If there were the political willpower to do it, it could be done.
If is about money. I know hundreds of people who have gone to university at 18 and are still doing the same minimum wage jobs they were doing before they started their degrees three years after they graduated. There is absolutely no demand for more graduates in this country and we should not be allowing people do to if they are not capable of going. Period.
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ccdorset
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
You would need to contact individual universities to see if OU modules might meet their requirements (I imagine a few will), or consider an Access to HE course plus maths with foundation year degree. Unfortunately I think it's unlikely that you will find an Access course that meets the requirements for direct entry. Taking the A-levels is an option and that would give you the benefit of knowing you are on the same footing as other applicants.

One thing I would note though is that degree level maths is very different in style and substance to GCSE and A-level Maths, which are more "mathematical methods" type maths. Degree level maths is very abstract and proof based. It might be worth looking into seeing if you can find some degree level maths textbook, for example and introduction to analysis or linear algebra (for the latter that is abstract/proof based) to see in a sense how university level maths "works".
Thanks for your reply, that's really useful. I will see if I can find some degree level material and have a look at the differences.

I definitely don't want to be overwhelmed and want to make sure I am not out of my depth, so it's looking like perhaps OU modules then a foundation degree, or taking A-Levels would be my options. I've contacted Newcastle uni already to explain my situation and enquire about their entry requirements, so will see what they say. Looks like they have a foundation year too.

Thanks :-)
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ccdorset
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(Original post by boulderingislife)
As long as you have the motivation, age is no barrier! I am in my early 30’s and studying alevel maths and f maths using my old textbooks from school which I kept. I’m doing it to relearn what I knew and have forgotten. In theory you could just get the text books and teach yourself alevel maths and f maths in a year, and next summer or jan start a foundation year in maths, then move onto a bsc.

bigger question is, how will you afford it all? Uni is very expensive because the tory scum made it 9k a year. I want to go back and do a second degree but being working class I cant afford 9k a year. I don’t have millionaire parents who can pay for whatever I want. I wish they would make uni free like in germany.
Thanks for your reply and the info!

I had a look at some sample A Level study material from the NEC and it looks like I will also need to brush up on my GCSE maths! I kind of want to do the whole GCSE course again now, but that's probably not needed or realistic! I'm very motivated, but at the same time like the thought of having a tutor to help me with the A Levels if I went down that route, so I probably would look at something like the NEC rather than doing it completely on my own. Though not sure if I've missed the boat for this year to do it via them.

I would have to apply for student finance, though not sure how that would work with a foundation year and I would have to fund the A Levels/OU module myself. I'm in a similar boat and will be supporting myself, so it is tricky. I have the small matter of having a mortgage on a flat as well, nowhere near a university, so that is another thing I need to think about at some point very soon!

Thanks again for your reply. :-)
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AlphaZeta
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(Original post by ccdorset)
Thanks for your reply, that's really useful. I will see if I can find some degree level material and have a look at the differences.

I definitely don't want to be overwhelmed and want to make sure I am not out of my depth, so it's looking like perhaps OU modules then a foundation degree, or taking A-Levels would be my options. I've contacted Newcastle uni already to explain my situation and enquire about their entry requirements, so will see what they say. Looks like they have a foundation year too.

Thanks :-)
You don't need to look at degree level content because you will learn this in the first year. What you need to demonstrate is that you can cope with work load by undertaking level 3 qualifications and meeting the minimum grade requirements. Since it's been a long time that you have studied, and with age it will take longer to sink in. However, you may find it easier to comprehend. Old O-level maths texts (A Greer, Harwood clarke) are good bridging material for A-level maths.
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GabiAbi84
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(Original post by AlphaZeta)
I was wondering if you take up residence are you classed as home student like someone born in Scotland?
If you move to Scotland before a certain cut off date of term time then you will get your OU modules for free.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by ccdorset)
Thanks for your reply, that's really useful. I will see if I can find some degree level material and have a look at the differences.

I definitely don't want to be overwhelmed and want to make sure I am not out of my depth, so it's looking like perhaps OU modules then a foundation degree, or taking A-Levels would be my options. I've contacted Newcastle uni already to explain my situation and enquire about their entry requirements, so will see what they say. Looks like they have a foundation year too.

Thanks :-)
OU would be a decent starting point, although be aware the style of the exams (multiple choice, no method marking) means that you can go into a little less depth than A-level Maths/FM in MST124 and MST125 (I did MST124 and was due to start MST125 alongside it but had to drop it due to funding delays). So it would probably be worth supplementing that study with doing some A-level practice papers in the summer(s) after taking them, and/or combining it with further maths modules at the OU so you have more experience generally with mathematical work. You could see if you could take the level 2 Pure Maths module, which introduces several of the more abstract topics I mentioned before (a couple are introduced in MST125 through the introduction to number theory in that module).
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Ki Yung Na
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Adding to the above regarding A level maths and degree maths being different.

If you do find you take a foundation year route; it’s usually possible to progress to either physics, maths or engineering and computer science options if you find you develop an interest in any of those.

Usually foundation years are a cross between extra content covered in first yr degree and then the typical a level syllabus. So it’ll give you a feel for if you wanted to do the maths/physics or something more applied like engineering courses.

All the best,
I knew two students who started degrees in their 30s.

One studied the physics route foundation year in Liverpool and he progressed to his chosen course and another taught himself GCSE maths and did a higher access and went to do maths in manchesters metropolitan uni. It’s perfectly doable, but others say - it’s different to A levels (I was shocked myself when I tried maths as a degree, but the maths in a physics degree is more like A level in the sense it’s more calculation orientated).
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