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Year 1 Module Reviews

MA106 Linear Algebra

2017/2018

(I studied the version for maths students, but the content is the same for non-maths students taking the module too.) This module can seem very odd as you study it, and you don't really feel like you know what you're meant to be learning. In the past, the exams have been very lemma-proof based, but in 17/18 the exam was based on calculations, which I think suits the module a lot better. Overall a nice module with pretty good teaching, just make sure you can remember what it is you've already proved, or the following proofs won't make any sense.

MA112 Experimental Maths

2016/2017

I thoroughly recommend this module. Most people were put off by it being in term 3 but it was a nice module. Firstly, you work in groups of 3 on the assignments so they don't take up too much revision time. Also, the lab teachers are very helpful when you're stuck on a question. The labs don't take the full 3 hours allocated. Personally, I liked having a coursework module and I found it gave some structure to the first few weeks of term 3.

MA117 Programming for Scientists

2017/2018

I thoroughly enjoyed the lectures for this module, but found the actual projects very stressful. There are 2 hour support classes every week, and as long as they're not busy, you can go along to as many as you want, and the TAs are very helpful in explaining the nuances of coding that you haven't picked up from the lectures. There was a large jump from writing little bits of code to entire programs that many people struggled with, but once you've got a grip on it, you'll be fine. It's a good module for anyone interested in coding, as it gives an introduction to a very useful language. I would recommend it to anyone who likes coursework modules and/or wants to do more coding.

MA124 Maths by Computer

2017/2018

The lecturer for this module is great, and I enjoyed his lectures so much despite being a Monday 9am. His lectures were fun and interesting, and he explained very well how to use the new commands you'd need to use in that week's assignment. That having been said, I found the size of the assignments and having them every week rather stressful, and I'd definitely recommend pairing up for this module, as it can be quite a lot of work! As long as you can put the time in though, you can get a very high mark in this module overall.

MA125 Introduction to Geometry

2017/2018

Would 100% recommend for any maths student. It’s a short 6 CAT module, and although the lectures can be quite confusing (Mondino likes to go through really complex arguments) the exams are really nice - none of the confusing stuff from lectures comes up, and you can easily get a 2:1 just by learning definitions and standard proofs. No assignments either so less workload during term.

MA131 Analysis

2017/2018

Term 1 Analysis is really scary. Don't worry if you don't see the point of the lectures - the maths department have basically decided the lectures are pointless, and you don't need to go as long as you're going to the classes. Make sure you revise for the January exam (and that means start more than a week before the exam!) and look over the past papers to get a feel for what the exam style is. Term 2 - this was very badly taught. I mainly studied from the lecture notes, as they were much better than the lecturing. The assignments were moderately hard, but the class teachers were very helpful so usually between the classes and talking to your friends, you should be able to complete the assignments without too much stress. The Analysis 2 exam is the biggest exam of first year which scares a lot of people - try to work out from past papers which are the "examinable proofs" and make sure you learn them, to guarantee some easy marks in the exam and to give yourself extra time to work on the other questions.

MA136 Introduction to Abstract Algebra

2017/2018

Everybody loved this module, probably because it was taught by Samir. Don't be put off by the huge lecture notes, there's really not very much in this module, and it doesn't get particularly hard. The proofs that get asked in the exam are very repetitive year on year, and the assignments are probably the easiest assignments from first year. A highly recommended module for anyone who likes algebra, but don't expect it to be like any algebra you've seen before.

ST111 Probability A

2017/2018

This module is quite odd if you've studied statistics at A-Level - you're going over many things you've seen before, but in a very different way. It's helpful to try to abandon what you've learnt in A-Level to begin with rather than try to make the links, since this module is so much more theoretical than how it is taught in school. The assignments can be confusing but if you go to the seminars and go over the exercise sheets you'll be fine. Don't be fooled by the applied nature of the assignments though - the exam is probably 50% bookwork so make sure you know your theorems and proofs!

ST112 Probability B

2017/2018

(Note: teaching for this module was heavily affected by the strike action.) I really enjoyed the content of this module and found the lectures interesting, but struggled in applying the content to the assignments. Make sure you do the exercise sheets or go to the seminars to get the answers, they help a lot when you do the assignments! The exam was very theory based, so knowing the main theorems by heart and being able to prove them is key. A very useful module for anyone, but particularly those wanting to do further statistics modules.

IB104 Mathematical Programming I

2017/2018

Would definitely recommend! This module is particularly nice if you studied D1 & D2 at A Level, as it covers topics such as linear programming, simplex etc. The hardest thing about this module is the fact that it is in term 3, so you’re having to attend lectures and complete a big assignment (worth 33% of the module) whilst revising for exams. Another frustrating aspect is there are no past papers online as the lecturer does not see the point in providing students with them. However, the module is nice (no way as much content as a 12 CAT module usually has), and the lecturer is engaging and also holds problem classes where you can get help so would recommend, if you can cope with the extra workload in term 3!

EC106 Introduction to Quantitative Economics

2017/2018

This module can be quite tough if you haven’t done A Level economics. However, I did enjoy it in the end. The first term is microeconomics and that is super boring, and you can barely understand a word that the lecturer says. However, in term 2 you study macroeconomics which is far more exciting, and with an excellent lecturer! Would recommend for anyone with a genuine interest in economics or who are aiming to go into a career like finance/actuarial where economics is really important.

2017/2018

The Micro side of this module is not lectured amazingly, particularly if you don’t sit near the front it is very hard to hear Sharun. The macro lecturer however, Dennis Novy, is really good. Would recommend this module if you are interested in economics, even if you didn’t do A level (I didn’t). There is a lot of content, and it is very theoretical, but it was definitely one of my easier modules in first year.

2017/2018

I did not enjoy the teaching style of this module at all, finding the lecturers were boring and made everything unnecessarily complicated. The four tests throughout the year added a lot of stress, but they were reasonably formulaic and you could get a good mark just by memorising the answers from the last two years' tests. The exam didn't take much revising for as there was little to no theory, and the maths in the exam questions was simple. Overall a boring module, but if you're willing to learn the content on your own (which doesn't take very long), then a good module to get a high mark in.

PH136 Logic I: Introduction to Symbolic Logic

2017/2018

A 1st year philosophy module which is relatively easy to understand and get a good grade in. I would advise looking at the style of paper as it tends to recur, and practice each type of question. In the exam you must be vigilant in checking your work as one small mistake can cost you a lot of marks.

PX148 Classical Mechanics & Special Relativity

2017/2018

This module built very well on existing A Level mechanics knowledge and the lectures were therefore easy to follow. The special relativity section was very interesting as it was new knowledge, but the level was accessible to someone who hadn’t studied the topic before. The online lecture notes provided were very coherent, and I would recommend the module to anyone with a keen interest in Physics. However, the exam was a LOT more difficult than material covered in lectures, and therefore it was hard to know how to revise effectively. Overall I would only recommend this as an optional if you enjoy a challenge.