The course in general
How many contact hours do you have in the average week?
Ideally, what 3/4 subjects would you recommend doing in order to be in the best position for your course?
Maths, Further Maths is also recommended, I did not have this A Level. They say you don't need it but I felt at a disadvantage by not having it. It purely depends on how fast you pick new things up.Physics.
Why did you decide to study your degree programme?
I was always good at Maths at school and didn't need to do much work for it and still did well. I chose it because I didn't want to do anything else and I also quite enjoyed it (as geeky as it may sound!) Anyway when I got to Uni I realised I would have to start doing some work for Maths and found it very difficult. I stuck with it and it got a lot better. Also having a degree in Maths opens up so many career options, so if you're good at it, I'd recommend you think about it.
Explain the things you wish you'd known about your degree before you applied:
I wish I'd known more about the format of the modules, although I'm sure I could have found out if I'd researched more before I started. I generally just wish I'd known how difficult it was going to be, so I could prepare myself more and do more work!
Describing your average day
Explain how your day is made up. For example, do you have labs/seminars/tutorials/lectures?
Average day, 1/2/3 lectures, 3 in a row on a bad day! The best was 1 lecture and 1 tutorial. We also have a 2 hour computer lab once every 2 weeks on a Monday morning. We probably had an average of 2/3 examples classes per week. So the average day would consist of about 4 hours in Uni - lectures and examples classes.
How much extra work/reading are you required to do out of lectures?
You're told when you start Uni that for every 1 hour lecture you should do 2 hours of reading. This seems like quite a lot, and I'm sure in your first year you can get away with doing less. We got about 3/4 sheets of 'homework' a week and to answer some of these questions requires some extra reading. Most of it can be done from learning/taking notes in the lectures but obviously if you miss lectures/don't understand what's going on, which happens a lot of the time trust me!- then extra reading will be required. I know definitely in second/third year this reading time will increase! Most of the time if you need help with any homework, you can speak to lecturers/postgraduate students in the examples classes or out of hours in their offices.
Is there anything else you think is relevant or that you would like to add in respect of your course?
Only do it if you're going to be committed because I know a lot of people who've done a year and then dropped out because they can't deal with how hard the course is.
The best and worst parts of the course
What do you like best about your degree programme?
I like the fact we don't have to do much writing! I say 'much' because one nasty thing about degree Maths is that we have to write lots of proofs for everything we do. In general, Maths involves numbers, so there are no essays and not as much reading as there is for most other subjects.
What do you like least about your degree programme?
It's difficult! It takes a lot of work and a lot of concentration.If you miss 1 vital point in a lecture, it may prevent you from being able to do the homework. It is a very hard course which requires a lot of commitment.
Academics and course content
What do you think of your university's academics and facilities?
Birmingham University has fantastic facilities. The library is huge, although doesn't always have computer space but you can take your laptop and connect to the Uni's wireless and just sit in any of the rooms. The Maths Learning Centre is also a good place to meet other people and do your homework and also has a few computers you can use. You can't really ask for much more. The lecturers are all very good, I just find it difficult when I can't understand their accents as a lot of them are foreign. But they are all very intelligent and approachable.
Explain how you expected your course to be and how it compares to how it actually is. Give an outline of the content of the course.
I took the 3 year maths course and I took 6 modules in my first year. This includes 2 core modules (algebra and calculus), 1 statistics module, 1 mechanics module, 1 module on foundations and abstraction (the foundations of maths) and 1 you can take either an optional maths module, or you can take a module in a completely different subject which is nice because it counts towards your first year and you can take 20 credits in a totally different area. The teaching methods used are purely writing on the board. Some lecturers use overhead projectors, but most use the classic chalk on board method. This is quite old fashioned, but works well for Maths. There is also a web portal with some lecture notes/revision quizzes on which you can access from home or University.
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Other reviews for Mathematics
India J, 1st Year doing Mathematics at The University of York
Henny F, 1st Year doing Mathematics at University of Bristol
Finlay G, 1st Year doing Mathematics at University of Bristol
Bobby F, 2nd Year doing Mathematics at University of Manchester
Jamie T, 1st Year doing Mathematics at University of Bath
Charlie B, 2nd Year doing Mathematics with Actuarial Science at University of Southampton
Sasha L, 2nd Year doing Mathematics at Aston University Birmingham
Calum G, 2nd Year doing Mathematics at The University of Warwick
Katie C, 2nd Year doing Mathematics at Newcastle University
Emma P, 3rd Year doing Mathematics at King's College London, University of London
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Describing your university
Sum up your university in one paragraph:
I'd say Birmingham University is an absolutely fantastic University to be a student at and has a very pretty campus. The city is lively and vibrant and very multicultural and there is loads to do. The accommodation is lovely, although expensive and the student village Selly Oak is a great place to live with loads to do.
What is the academic life like at your university?
Birmingham University is a red brick University with a very good reputation, therefore the academic life is very good. There are lots of facilities and the lecturers are very helpful.
Describe your Freshers' Week - was it as you expected, better or worse? Why?
To be honest I expected much more. Going out with people you've only just met is difficult, and I had very high expectations of it. If you're lucky and get put with nice flatmates it's absolutely brilliant, but if you don't get on with the people in your flat it's very difficult to find people to stick with, as most people tend to stick with their flatmates in the first week. This, however, improves a lot throughout the year as you meet loads of people in your halls and you end up being friends with whoever you choose to be. I'd just recommend to be the friendliest person ever, this is what everyone says but even if you just introduce yourself to someone and get their number, they will be a potential friend.Try and meet as many people as possible as it'll make it easier later in the year and everyone remembers Fresher's week.
Are there any other notes you would like to add about life in general at university or anything else which would be relevant to a prospective student?
Don't have too high expectations of Fresher's week but if all turns out well then enjoy it! Don't have the attitude that you only need to get 40% in your first year, because you need to be aiming for higher. Choose your course wisely and attend open day talks. Try and meet loads of people in Fresher's week and join loads of clubs and societies!
What is the best and worst thing about your university?
The best thing about Birmingham University is the nightlife and the lively vibrant city. The shopping is great (in the Bullring) and Broad Street is great with all the bars and clubs. You'll definitely have an amazing time going out in Birmingham and there's also loads to do during the day as well. The University is a really pretty campus and has a good sports centre, library and Student Union. People from other Universities have said that our SU is fantastic and I believe it has just been refurbished as well.
Sport and extra curricular
What are the sport and other activities on offer like at your university?
Birmingham University is one of the top Unis in the country for sport, therefore there is a lot to do. This also means it is very competitive and a lot of people who will have played sports all the way through school will find it very hard to get on a sports team, as there is so much competition. You can still join clubs for hobby purposes but if you want to compete for the University you have to be outstanding.
The social scene
What is the social scene (and/or nightlife) like at your university? Is it particularly alcohol orientated?
The social scene at Birmingham is one of the best in the country. The nightclubs are great and there are loads of clubs/societies within the University that you can join. Like most Universities, it is very alcohol orientated and I'd say it would be less difficult to socialise if you're not a drinker. However, there is still a big cinema, and shops, and you can go out without drinking!
What do you think of the city your university is based in or near (as a city)?
It's great! There's loads to do and loads of nightlife. The best club is Gatecrasher which is a superclub and has about 6 rooms. Birmingham also has Cadbury's World, Drayton Manor, safari parks and loads of shopping! It's a great city to be a student in and the University is lovely too.
Do you live in a halls of residence or a student house (or college)? What would you suggest is best in your opinion?
In my first year I lived in Hunter Court, a private halls of residence associated with Birmingham University. The halls were very nice and it felt more like living in an apartment, although they were very strict on keeping it immaculate.Liberty Living, the company who owns Hunter Court take a Ã‚Â£200 deposit from you at the start of the year and people got as little as Ã‚Â£15 back from it due to Ã‚Â£60 charges for a tiny stain on the mattress. The halls are lovely, but all damage needs to be reported immediately, otherwise you'll pay for it at the end. The halls were very sociable.They had a Residents Association who organised nights out for everyone in Hunter Court all through the year. This included alcohol related nights as well as cinema trips, bowling and comedy nights.With all of this, I would recommend halls are the best option for your first year, in order to make new friends.
If you are in a hall or college, is it catered or self catered? Which is better for the first year in your opinion and why?
My halls were self catered which was great because you can eat when you want and have what you want. The kitchen facilities are nice and you can usually share cooking with your friends and flatmates. At Birmingham, the catered halls don't seem to be of particularly good value, as the difference in price is more than I would spend on food in the whole year. You also have to eat in Shackleton, so if you don't live in Shackleton, this means a walk across the grass, maybe in the rain to eat your breakfast every morning.
Approximately, what is the average cost of accommodation per week in your first year for catered and non-catered halls/colleges?
About £100pw for 42 weeks self catered. The halls at Birmingham University are very expensive compared to other cities.Catered halls can be as much as £6,000 pa. There are cheaper options, with the cheapest I think being 3500 for the year (self catered and shared bathroom).
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