Resources available to support Year 12 students considering studying maths at university

Thursday 7th May 2020

At this time of year, and particularly later in the Summer Term, Year 12 students would normally be visiting open days, beginning to think seriously about choosing courses and possibly beginning to draft out personal statements. For those considering maths at university, the choices are daunting – the UCAS website lists 1538 courses at 115 different providers.

Most universities are offering some form of virtual open day – some are just video tours, while some seem to offer a little more interaction. You could set up a class Google Doc (or similar) for you and your students to share reviews and insights from virtual open days that they have attended. Whilst your ‘face-to-face’ lesson time will likely be precious for covering content of the course, there are plenty of things that students can be doing to prepare for their personal statement, the admission test or a possible interview:

  • The IMAOpens a new window (The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications) has a great website and also sends out a newsletterOpens a new window aimed specifically at sixth form mathematicians.
  • Maths CareersOpens a new window has a wealth of information, from things to think about when choosing a university course through to lists of companies who employ mathematicians.
  • The Royal Statistical SocietyOpens a new window offers free membershipOpens a new window to all students.
  • Researching areas of maths outside the school curriculum can be very valuable, partly to demonstrate wider reading, but also to help in understanding what some of the areas of maths studied on different university courses might involve. Operation Research, Groups and Rings, Cryptography or Topology might be good starting points.
  • Plus MagazineOpens a new window has an excellent range of articles on maths together with puzzles. Many of the items are in podcast or video format.

There are a great number of scholarship and bursary schemes available. Take a look at The Scholarship HubOpens a new window for specific maths funding or The Complete University GuideOpens a new window for more general advice.

For those preparing for entrance tests or simply wanting to improve their abilities in problem-solving questions, the AMSP can provide a variety of support – some of which has been tweaked to a more online format, and some of which will restart when schools return to something like normal. You can view all of the options on offer, from single day face-to-face conferences (when we can), the online options across summer and the sustained courses offered locally, on the AMSP website. Thinking about preparing for STEP might not mean going straight for STEP papers – the MAT and the TMUA papers offer a good starting point that is accessible for those partway through their course.

For general problem solving, the puzzles on NRICHOpens a new window are a great starting point, as well as the MEI Maths Item of the MonthOpens a new window. You can view previous items sorted by level and by curriculum area on the MEI websiteOpens a new window. You could also take a look at some Twitter accounts – @Cshearer41Opens a new window posts geometric puzzles pretty much daily and @brilliantorgOpens a new window, who also have a websiteOpens a new window (but a subscription is needed).

By Caroline Wilson

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