My experiences

This will be my final post and hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading these articles and they’ve been of help to you. In this final post I will talk about a few of my experiences and things that have helped me.

Connect
Coming to university and not knowing anybody on your course or even at the same university can be very overwhelming and scary. My most helpful tip is try to connect with people using Facebook groups or general King’s groups to talk to people on the same course and keeping in touch with any questions you have. We have a KCL Mathsoc society which also has a Facebook page. The society puts on lots of fun as well as career related events. We recently had a boat party to celebrate the end of exams.

hello

Learn
During my time at university I have learnt lots of Mathematics but other than that I have learnt other useful life skills and these will stay with me for the rest of my life. Try and learn as much as you can, it can be a big step from getting everything given to you to moving out and having to pay bills and things. I’ve learnt to cook and actually enjoy it. The majority of us come to university with not much of an idea of what we want to do so it’s kinda important to try and find what you enjoy doing and what career you would like to have. To help with this there’s lots of networking and career related events from the university to attend. We also get a careers newsletter from the department listing internships, graduate jobs which is helpful.

Module choices
In your degree you will get choices on what modules you want to do. It’s important to research yourself what the module is about and whether it’s something you’re going to enjoy learning about. In my final year I took 2 Computer Science modules because of my developing interest in the technology side of things. If you’re stuck you can talk to students in the year above, read up on the modules or even go talk to the lecturers teaching the modules.

So that concludes the last few things I wanted to talk about. Have a look at the other NMS student blogs as there is somethings they may have touched on that I haven’t. Hope you’re all enjoying a well deserved summer and looking forward to a fresh new chapter. I leave you with my favourite Mathematics meme. Enjoy!!

i_hate_math_will_make_you_mad4

1st year modules- Semester 2

This post I will be talking about the semester 2 modules. Check out the previous post for the first semester modules.

Calculus 2
Hours in lectures: 3
Hours in tutorials: 1
Assessment: 2hr written examination (80%), 3x Class Tests (20%)

This is the second part to the first semester module. It extends the use of calculus from one variable to multiple dimensions and how we can use Calculus in more complex things. You will use concepts such a partial derivatives, surface sketching, divergence theorem and geometry.

figure_1054a

Introduction to Abstract Algebra
Hours in lectures: 3
Hours in tutorials: 1
Assessment: 2hr written examination (80%), 3x Class Tests (20%)

This module introduces you to the notion of a group and teaches you basics of abstract algebra. You will learn how to get from A to B i.e deductions of theorems. The syllabus contains topics such as rings, groups, polynomials and much more.

Introduction to Dynamical Systems
Hours in lectures: 3
Hours in tutorials: 1
Assessment: 2hr written examination (80%), 3x Class Tests (20%)

As deduced from the module name you will be solving ODE’s in this module and you will utilise your knowledge from Calculus and Linear Methods to understand more concepts. This module is also a perquisite for a third year module in Mathematical Biology which Gemma talked about in one of the older posts. In this module you will learn things like Hamiltonian mechanics, differential systems, applications to Newtonian mechanics.

Probability & Statistics 1
Hours in lectures: 3
Hours in tutorials: 1
Assessment: 2hr written examination (80%), 3x Class Tests (20%)

Most of you will have done some statistics during GCSE’s and A-Level. You will use that knowledge here. You may also be familiar with some of the concepts such as Bayes’ theorem and use of random variables such as Poisson, Binomial etc. This is a very enjoyable module and you can then go onto choose to do Probability and Statistics part 2 in your subsequent years.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 20.37.39

 

In this post and my previous post I have given you a quick rundown on the first year modules. Note that these are the modules for Mathematics BSc/ MSci courses. For joint honours you may or may not be required to do these modules. These are all compulsory modules. There is more information in the King’s website or you can leave a comment with any questions.

1st year modules- Semester 1

Last year Gemma did a summary on her 3rd year modules (see older posts), similar to that I will be doing a rundown on the modules that I did in my first year.

Calculus1
Hours in lectures: 3
Hours in tutorials: 1
Assessment: 2hr written examination (80%), 3x Class Tests (20%)

This is the module that will be quite similar to your A-Level core Maths and taking that to the next level. You will have use of complex numbers and applications using trigonometry. For half of the semester you will also take part in Maple classes (1 hour a week) where you will apply your mathematical skills to solve problems. This module will lay as a foundation for Calculus 2 in the next semester and for the rest of your degree. This module will also have the exam take place in January.
1

Numbers & Functions
Hours in lectures: 3
Hours in tutorials: 1
Assessment: 2hr written examination (80%), 3x Class Tests (20%)

This module is an introduction to university level mathematics and you will learn a number of new concepts and learn things that you will use throughout your degree. You will learn about sequences and sets and then you will take this applications further in your subsequent years.

Linear Methods
Hours in lectures: 3
Hours in tutorials: 1
Assessment: 2hr written examination (80%), 3x Class Tests (20%)

This was one of my favourite modules and will need your knowledge of matrices and eigenvalues and eigenvectors from A-levels and you will learn how to apply algebra to geometry and learn things such as lines and planes, bases, mapping and linear systems.

Geometry 1
Hours in lectures: 3
Hours in tutorials: 1
Assessment: 3hr written examination (80%), 3x Class Tests (20%)

Although we don’t cover a lot of geometry related topics during A-levels this module gives an introduction and shows us how Geometry can be used in different branches of Mathematics. In the first part of the module you will learn things such as Euclidean geometry, more about Pythagoras, parallel lines and circles (sounds simple right?). In the second part of the module you will learn about isometries, Poincare disc, spherical triangles and much more. Your trig and hyperbolic formulae will be worth remembering!!

Spherical triangle

Spherical triangle

Look out for the next article to find out about the semester 2 modules!

Top university survival app’s

So today I’m going to share some phone applications that I’ve used that have been helpful for me during my time at university.

  • Citymapper
    This application is just an essential for everybody to use to get to places. There are many of these travel apps I have used but Citymapper has been my favourite. It is usable in different cities around the world, it gives up to date information, a variety of different routes with accurate timings. Alongside this it has many other features, you can see what carriage you should get on to get easy access out at your destination, you can save favourite places and even use the tube map offline. It gives details on all different modes of transports. (Bus, cycle docks, tube, rail, ferry, tram)
  • King’s Mobile app
    The King’s Mobile app has been helpful for me to use to get easy access to my timetable, see where my classes are taking place. You can also keep track of your library account to see what books you have loaned out and their due dates. There is also much more information on the app from useful contacts to maps.
  • PingIT
    This is a mobile banking application specifically for Barclays users but there’s a lot of different ones for the specific banks. It is an easy way to keep track of your money, pay people and much more.
  • Forest
    Forest has been a lifesaver for me during exam period and times when procrastination levels have been high. The urge to constantly go on to Facebook or scroll through Instagram on my phone when I should be studying isn’t good. So you can use Forest by choosing a concentration limit and during the selected time a tree will grow and if you go off the app before the timer has ended your tree will die. The more trees you grow, the bigger your forest!
  • TED
    The TED app is easy to access TED talks on my phone and be able expand my knowledge on a range of different topics by watching talks given by remarkable people.
  • YPlan
    This app is good for offers on tickets or events taking place around London. There’s a variety of different activities and range of shows or exhibitions you can get tickets for. They sometimes run offers and competitions. It’s an app for inspiration and can make a boring day into something more eventful.
  • Eventbrite/Fatsoma
    During your time at university you will attend a lot of events and most these events require tickets and if like me you don’t own a printer or don;t like carrying bits of paper around to an event then this app is perfect as you can save your tickets for your events and they can then be scanned. For iPhone users you can add these tickets to your wallet as well.

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 22.57.51

These are just a selection of my favourites and I still use these on a day to day basis. Hope these help you to ‘survive’ university.

Revision tips

So you must be well into your revision and exams and hopefully it hasn’t been as stressful. I have some revision tips/ things that I have found helpful during exam period which have helped me be more productive and things that have generally worked for me.

  • Start early
    Define early? Well I would say the earlier you start the more preparation you have. That doesn’t mean spending 8 hours a day in the library from day 1 more like complete your assignments on time and spend sometime on the weekends going over the material you may have learnt during the lectures that week. Try and schedule it a routine thing and the extra time should help with your preparation.
  • Ask for help
    So if you’re not going to ask you’re not going to get. All lecturers have office hours where you can go and see them with any problems in understanding or a question you’ve spent time trying to solve but can’t solve. They are always there to help you and want you to do well. Being a Mathematics student during your first years and second you can get extra help from students in the years above whether that is as a mentor/friend and also pop in sessions from them. Mainly try and be as greedy as you can by getting the most help from people you can it can sometimes help you understand things better or even find different and maybe even easier ways to solve problems. And not to forget your friends, you may prefer to study alone but I quite like a bit of group work during the start of the Easter holidays as I think we get through the content a lot quicker.
  • Plan
    By planning I quite like to know what I am studying everyday especially towards the end of exam period. I do this by writing down a plan every week of what I’m going to be that week and try and be as specific as you can in what you will be doing. Try and be realistic about these plans you make and remember to schedule in some breaks and rest time. Also try and use a wide range of learning methods to see what suits you best and do past papers preferably as a mock before the real thing. I also like to make a list of exams I am taken and achieve great satisfaction from ticking off ones I’ve completed.
    Revision Timetable
  • Keep calm
    As much as we hate revision and exams and the whole load of stress that comes with it, try and enjoy it by making it fun. I try to switch up where I study so it’s different each time. I also like to schedule in breaks and try and move around away from where I am studying. It’s important to believe in yourself try and remind yourself why you love your degree and make the most out of it.

    Aim

    Aim for 100 and achieve your goals!

Good luck for the rest of your revision and exams and we shall be able to enjoy summer soon.

A family has two kids…

Hope the revision for exams are going well. Today I’m going to talk about a easy statistical problem I came across during my revision recently which I thought was interesting to share. So the problem goes as follows:

“A family has 2 kids. Given that one of them is a girl, what is the probability of the other also being a girl?”

So to calculate the problem we see what possibilities we have first for 2 kids:
Boy Girl
Girl Boy
Girl Girl
Boy Boy

The problem tells us that one of the children is a girl so we can eliminate the last possibility. Leaving us now with 3 options to choose from and one of those is 2 girls. Our answer is therefore a 1/3 (this problem is often solved wrong, a common incorrect answer is 1/2). Problems like these are solved using conditional probability.

sisters

Where did I stay in my first year?

The big decision after deciding what course to do and what university to go to comes the decision of: Do I have to move out from home for university? If so where? So sometimes we have no choice but to move out as the commute is out of the question, other times you can maybe decide if it’s better to do the hour long commute or to stay in accommodation? There’s no correct answer and mainly from whatever you think is more suited to you.

King’s has many different accommodations available but it’s also possible to branch out and look at all the different options. Being in London it is usually easy to find somewhere to stay that can meet your needs.

In my first year I stayed at Great Dover Street Apartments. All my lectures took place at Strand campus and this was about a 30 minute walk from my accommodation. I didn’t mind being a bit further from my university as I got on really well with my flatmates and quite enjoyed the commute. I would say don’t be put off by a longer journey time to university as I would say everything in London is very easy to get to whether that’s by walking, tube or even bus.


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Whatever your decision is you will get to meet different people, share experiences and have a fun time. More information can be found on the following page: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/accommodation/apply/frequently-asked-questions.aspx

A ‘brief’ Introduction

Hello there! My name is Aysha and I am a 3rd year student studying for a degree in Mathematics BSc. I am going to be writing posts about my experiences at King’s, living in London, mathematics and much more.

I am going to start with telling you about my reason for choosing King’s as a university and  why I chose to study Mathematics:

  • Firstly having enjoyed doing Mathematics since a young age and more so during my A-Levels, it was something I enjoyed learning and although it could be challenging not being able to solve a problem at times, once you would it would be rewarding. This passion for Mathematics lead me to research into what I could do with a Mathematics degree and whether it would be something that I would like and after seeing the number of opportunities there are and the fact that you have your options open to do a lot of different things lead me to choose my degree.
  • Now came the decision of choosing a university. For the entirety of my life I have lived in a town in the North of England where there isn’t much to do especially since the weather isn’t great so I decided I wanted to move away from home and preferably somewhere where there is a lot to explore and see. I decided London was perfect and although being a student in London can be very expensive there are many ways to save up and earn money from part time jobs. Moving to London has been the best decision of my life. As famously quoted: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
  • King’s was my first choice of university, firstly being very central London and also the fact that it is well known and reputed. When I attended an offer holder day at King’s I got to see the campus, I also got to experience life as a Maths student as well as talk to current students, I really enjoyed it and hence made my decision.
The view from the top floor in Strand campus where you can spot famous landmarks such as Big Ben and London Eye.

The view from the top floor in Strand campus where you can spot famous landmarks such as Big Ben and London Eye.

That will be all for my first post, I encourage you to ask any questions you have in the comments and I will try and answer as soon as I can. (Back to revision I go.)

The Results Are In..

& it’s good news! I will be graduating with a First Class Honours! I am so so happy! It really does show that hard work will pay off even in the hardest of times.

University grading is quite different to grades at school. There are 5 grades:

  • First class – above 70%
  • Upper second class (2:1) – 60-69%
  • Lower second class (2:2) – 50-59%
  • Third class – 40-49%
  • Fail – less than 40%

It would seem that it is easy to get a good grade from these percentages, but remember university is a lot harder so it is just as difficult (if not more difficult) to get the best grades.

In maths, this comes from examinations, there is not coursework, although you can choose to do a final year project for BSc and it’s a requirement for MSci. Some modules will also have class tests to help you too.
Screenshot 2015-07-03 23.57.04

My graduation will be taking place on the 21st July and I promise to post some pictures but for now: it’s time to party!

 

To Gap Year Or Not To Gap Year?

Many people have probably mentioned the words gap year, and if you hold an offer for deferred entry, you may well have one planned. It is a good idea to think about what you really want out of your education and your career, and sometimes a gap year can help clear these mysteries up a bit.

For many people (including myself), we go straight from secondary/high school into university, and trust me if you are doing a Maths degree this is the best possible route (or you might forget it all!). However, this is not the only opportunity for you to take a gap year.

There is an opportunity to take a gap year straight after uni before getting a job or joining a grad scheme. However, you can also take a gap year later on, perfect if you are thinking of a change in career or even just taking a sabbatical. Some jobs even come with travelling so if you are interested in this make sure you ask at interviews or even before you apply. In fact, the other day whilst travelling through Washington D.C, I met a couple from New Zealand who, in their mid 40s, decided to take a year out from work and see the world.

Gap Year 2Obviously, you need to make sure you have enough financial backing before you make any decision but if you want to pack up and disappear for a while, you can definitely see they world on a budget. Booking last minute gives great discounts and you can stay in hostels where you can share rooms and meet lots of new people from all over the world. 

But gap years can be a chance for you to try different careers before making any life changing decisions, pursue a dream and see where it takes you or save some money before starting uni (if you choose to). Either way, it is important to make sure you can support yourself and that you are ready in yourself to take on this mysterious gap year. Alternatively, you can do what I’m doing and travel in the summer just before I start work, check out what I’m up to here.

Who knows where it can take you!