As mentioned in the previous post, I am writing a resource book for the first year course that I will be in charge of this year. I want to crowd-source ideas for this a little. By that I mean that I will put up a number of the sections that I’m writing, and I’m keen to know, from those who have been through the course whether you feel that there is anything wrong, or missing from this. It is hard to know for someone who has not been on the learning end of a course like this for a long time what makes for the most useful information.
The second reason for doing this is that I think that these thoughts can be used for a wide variety of courses, and so if anyone wants to take these resources and use them in other contexts, then I will be very happy for them to do so.
As explained in the previous text, I am very aware that this is very text heavy, and so am looking into multi-lingual, and multimedia options for this information.
So, please take a read and let me know what could be changed to make it a more useful piece of text. Still to come in future posts: Why study mathematics, how best to revise, and more…
MAM1000W has a reputation for being a tough course. It is absolutely true that it is an intensive course, and it will almost certainly be the deepest level of understanding you have ever had to acquire in such a short time. It is also true that you will have many other things going on in your lives, from getting used to the more independent life at university, to meeting new friends, to getting to grips with all of your other courses. There’s a lot to take on board, and without a doubt, at times it will feel overwhelming.
While there is a lot going on, there is also a lot of support for you, from the lecturers, as well as from tutors, mentors in the second and third year (see the section on mentors, ahead), and of course your fellow students, who will be going through many of the same challenges that you face.
It is important to remember that the fact that you are here means that you absolutely have the capability to make it through MAM1000W, and even enjoy the experience along the way. This is a course which challenges you, and you will grow intellectually in ways that you have never thought possible. You will think about new concepts and see the world in different ways than ever before. For those going on to do MAM2000W, this course will set up the foundation of many of the core concepts which you will see in your later maths courses, while those who are stopping after finishing MAM1000W, you will have expanded your cognitive capacities in amazing directions, in terms of your ability to think in abstract terms, and solve problems which would have appeared impossible just a few months ago.
One key thing to note though is that keeping up with the course as it goes along makes all the difference in the world. Trying to catch up with weeks and weeks of material which you got behind on, while learning new stuff is a really tough challenge, and so if you find yourself falling behind, it is important to find solutions to the problems which are holding you back. We are here to help you do that, but it involves a lot of motivation and effort from yourselves. I advise you to find out about the support around you before you get behind, rather than looking for it, if it looks like things are not going as you’d hoped.
Mathematics is a subject which involves active participation. Sitting in the lectures and feeling that you understand the material is not enough to do well in the exams. There is a very simple way to do well in this course, and it is this: Practice, practice, practice! Two years ago I did a survey of students, and found that those students who did top in the class, generally put in about 4 hours work a week, on top of the tutorial work. This might seem like a lot, but it’s a little over half an hour a day. Think about how much time you spend on Facebook, and Whatsapp, and watching series, when 8, half hour sessions a week of going through exercises could take you from a 40\% student, to an 80\% student. That figure is not a promise, but in my experience, those students who have actively practiced solving questions throughout the course have thrived and found MAM1000W to be an incredibly fulfilling experience. You don’t have to believe me. Find a few second year students and ask them yourselves. Conversely, those students who got behind, and came to ask for advice in the second semester because they hadn’t been practicing that much in the first semester really struggled when it came to the final exams. Again, don’t trust me, ask them yourself!
So, all this being said, MAM1000W is an intense course, but if you do it right, and you can all do it right, you will come out of it with a renewed sense of your own capacities and a sense of accomplishment unlike anything you may have felt before.
Take home points
MAM1000W is renowned for being difficult, but with the right attitude and a consistent effort, you can get through it successfully, and even happily!
There is a lot of support available to you
Staying ahead of the game makes all the difference in the world!
The key to success on this course is practice!
A few hours a week is the difference between failure and doing very well.