Mathematics A/B

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Most of the lecture notes are already in the lecture booklet. This means you may find it easier to make fewer notes during the lectures so you can spend more time concentrating on the lecture itself. Try to understand concepts, don’t memorise everything as it is not possible to memorise all information thrown your way. A copy of the notes that the lecturer writes will be uploaded onto Moodle afterwards (though some lecturers may take a few days to upload them). Reading over your lecture notes from the last lecture and making sure you understand them before the next one is important as if you don’t get the last lecture’s content it’s difficult to understand the next ones.

Derivations of some theorems/results are shown in lectures but you don’t need to memorise every proof in complete detail as questions relating to them aren’t very common in exams and don’t carry many marks. However, it is still good to understand why various results work and some people find it is easier to practice deriving a formula really quickly than memorizing it.


At the start of each term, a booklet of questions is given which contain the supervision questions to accompany the lectures. Your supervisor decides which questions you do each week. The length of the questions varies quite a bit so some weeks you might do a few longer answer questions and other weeks you might do more shorter answer questions. Supervision time is mostly taken up with going through the corrections to your answers.


You will have sessions and lectures on scientific computing with three assessed exercises. Make the most out of the practical sessions when people will be around to help you – it is possible to do the majority of each assessed exercise in them if you work fast. The course handbook gives everything you need to know to complete the tasks – read the relevant sections before doing the exercises to save a lot of time. Ask a friend if you get stuck and try not to spend forever on each task – just make sure you do everything required (eg. axis labels, a suitable scale, etc.) without needing to make it look fancy and you should score highly. Try look back over and remember the coding you have done in previous weeks- you don’t want to restart learning all the code from week 1 every session!


The best way to revise maths is to practice doing supervision and past paper questions. Don’t worry about doing the papers within the time until closer to the exam. You may not be able to answer some questions in your revision – ask your friends/supervisor for help but don’t spend hours on one question. It may be useful to write down formulae that you need to learn on one/two pages as a reference when you start your revision. Use the supervisor’s comments/answers to past paper questions to guide your revision. You may be asked to show a shorter proof from the lecture notes, but there aren’t many questions like these and they won’t carry a lot of marks. Additionally, many people say it is easier to practice deriving a formula very quickly instead of memorising it. Again understanding is more important than memorising everything and will take far less time.


In the exam there are two sections – A and B. Section A has 10 short answer questions and only your final answers are marked; don’t worry about showing your method. If you can’t do a question, leave it and move on as each question is worth very little of your final mark. (Just for your reference, the whole of Section A is worth the same number of marks as one question from Section B). Section B has 10 questions, of which 2 relate to the Maths B course and the rest relate to the Maths A course only. Starred questions require knowledge from the Math B course although they can sometimes be easier than other questions if you have a good understanding. From these 10 you do a maximum of 5 questions. Technically, you are able to do more than 5 but only the 5 highest scoring questions will be taken, and as the exam is so time-pressured it’s very unlikely you’ll want to address more than 5.  You will need to learn how to choose the questions that you will score most highly.

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