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Want to study maths? Go to Warwick!
Mathematics At University of Warwick
Member Name: maths_babe
Mathematics At University of Warwick
Date: 23/10/09, updated on 29/10/10 (927 review reads)
Advantages: Great staff, good support network, interesting modules, good reputation
Disadvantages: Work is VERY challenging
The maths department is very prestigious and you generally need very good A level results (or equivalent) to be accepted. You must be studying maths A level and although not required, Further Maths A level would be beneficial. To be accepted into the maths department at Warwick you really need to be predicted A grades in both of these subjects, and to be predicted another A in a different subject. For full details on this, see Warwick's website.
Basically, to get into Warwick you have to be very very good at maths.
Your First Year
During your first year at Warwick University you will be shocked by how different studying maths at uni is from studying it at school. The difference is highlighted by the module called "Foundations" which you study in your first term. It is all based on proving all the things you assumed were true during A level maths. This will probably be the first time you really encounter rigorous mathematical proof, and it certainly won't be the last! Almost every single module you can choose to study as part of your maths degree will feature proof very heavily, and it can be very difficult to adjust to this. However, the maths department wants to help its students adjust to this change, and so one of the most important modules, Analysis I, is taught in the more familiar style of sitting in a classroom with twenty other people and being taught by a post graduate. Learning in this way is much easier than being taught in a lecture theatre with 300 people. This is a great system as it helps students get used to the new style of maths that is being taught. Unfortunately, almost all modules apart from this one is taught with lectures.
There is help out there for you though. Every student is put into a group with three other students and each group is assigned a tutor, who is a lecturer or researcher at Warwick, and a supervisor, who is a final year or postgraduate student. You visit your tutor once a week in your small group and discuss problems you might be having and concepts you might not understand perfectly. Your tutor helps you make decisions regarding module choices and is always there to answer any questions you have. Twice a week your group has a session with your supervisor who goes through examples with you and helps you with your homework sheets. The three people in your group will quickly become your very good friends as the homework sheets get harder and harder and eventually become simply impossible to do single handedly.
In first year and second year there are certain modules that you must study. These are from the sector of maths we call Pure, and are in general the most difficult. For some of the modules there are weekly or fortnightly homework sheets which you will probably find very difficult. Some modules have an exam in January and some have one in June. You will probably also find these very difficult. Some modules don't have exams though (and you will find yourself very grateful for these modules!) for example Maths by Computer is a module where credit is given for handing in a few assignments, and the Second Year Essay module, which is assessed by writing an essay and giving a short presentation on your essay. For a list and descriptions of all modules visit Warwick's website.
The maths department building is by far the best on campus. We have two computer rooms (one Windows, the other Linux), a work room (which is always completely full an hour before a homework deadline!) and lots of huge lecture theatres and small classrooms. There are also many toilets and some vending machines.
In general, the lecturers I have experienced at Warwick are absolutely amazing. Clearly very intelligent, but also very funny. Lectures are usually very enjoyable, even if the subject matter is hard to follow or simply boring. Most lecturers are really good at maintaining a web page for their module, where they upload PDFs of lecture notes, example sheets, and any additional information you might need.
A maths degree from Warwick University is a golden ticket to success. When the jobs market picks up again, you will find employers biting your hands off to give you a job. And remember that in the UK we have a deficit of maths teachers so if you have a maths degree you can easily get onto a PGCE course and be given £9000 for becoming a teacher!
I love studying maths at Warwick, although I have found it incredibly challenging. You have to have lots of enthusiasm for maths to succeed, as you will have to spend a lot of time studying, and if you find what you are studying boring, you will not be motivated enough to put in the hours of work that the course requires. If you are sure you want to study maths, then I would say that Warwick is the best place for you to go, as the staff are brilliant, the building and resources are brilliant, and we even have Ian Stewart, one of the UK's favourite popularists (and one of the few celebrities of maths!) in our department.
If you need any more information visit Warwick's website, and make sure you come in for an open day and see for yourself how brilliant it is!
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
I graduated in July and got a 2:1!!! Yay!
I'm now doing a PGCE (teacher training) at Warwick. Look out for a review on that course soon...
Summary: If you love maths, you'll have a great three years here.
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