About the writer:
Noga Trishall Sangma is a second year student, currently studying Mathematics and Statistics, at the University of Glasgow.
Mathematics is said to be the ‘Queen’ of sciences. It is regarded as ‘The Queen’ because it has numerous applications in almost every traditional science subject such as in the fields of Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computer Sciences, and Psychology.
If you are considering Mathematics as one of your A-Level subject choices or is already taking Math at A-Level or Highers and thinking to go forward with the subject then you are in for a highly diversified career option. Do you not cringe at the word ‘Math’ and feel that you have got the right aptitude for numbers and working out problems? Do you feel like a genius after being able to solve a complex problem that you never thought that you would have been able to? Have you experienced that wonderfully satisfying feeling before and is ready to take on the challenge to stretch your tent curtains wide?
Be Positive and Start from Day 1
Being positive about yourself towards this discipline of study is one of the most important ingredients that you can have to master the subject. Be tenacious and try to resist frustration in times where math does not make sense to you as ‘frustration’ is the general key to not knowing Math. It is a rule of thumb about Math to have strong building blocks right from the beginning as it would help analyse better the complexity of the material and have an instant clear sight of how the solutions come about to the tricky problems. It all starts with the chalk and the board. Be prepared with the materials that has already been taught in the class as Math is a study that builds on one another. The only way Math can be learned and remembered is by doing it and of course, the critical thinking and writing skills will be developed naturally along the way. There are a number of aspects to be thought-out if one is thinking of studying Mathematics.
Difference between High School and University Math
Math is an intellectually stimulating subject demanding patience, hard-work and in-depth comprehension and most of the times, logical arguments to your own solutions. In secondary and higher- secondary levels, students are taught how to compute Math and the approach to work out the solutions to the problems using formulae that are usually needed to be memorised from school textbooks. Students spend most of their math time computing problems. However, in university, math is more abstract than it is at the secondary level and the contents are more proof-based (you have to prove theorems and formulae that you have memorised in high-school to work out your problems!) which is why once you study math at the university level you develop logical arguments to the problems that you have learnt to compute in your secondary classes. Students are generally expected to learn and work out the sums independently outside of class unlike in high-school where you spend most of your math class actually solving sums together with the teacher. In university level, you are taught ways of thinking, correlating and creating.
Virtues of Studying Math
Math surely teaches you critical thinking and writing skills but it also teaches you humility, patience, intellectual honesty. Writing out theorems and learning to proof them will teach you how to demonstrate confidently in writing with a clear presentation providing your own evidence to back the hypothesis. It’s no surprise for anyone, Math can surpass your abilities, some days, but it is important to keep together the persistence and patience to tackle the particular problem till you gradually get there. It can even take days or weeks or months to figure out a specific problem. Math establishes in a person intellectual honesty because one cannot learn how to solve a problem until you admit to yourself what you do not know.
Branches of Mathematics
Mathematics is a generously broad field. There are different aspects of mathematics, from academic research to business mathematics, statistical modelling to biological mathematics. Math is subdivided into an exhaustive list of categories. Some of the major areas of Mathematics are Algebra where you will mainly deal with variables, polynomials, and vector operations, Pure Mathematics is a more intrinsic form of math such as sets of natural numbers or integers, Applied Mathematics and Statistics associate mainly with real-world problems. As Mathematics is a very branched out subject, it also means it has diversified applications and uses relatively to other subjects, which makes it a fairly lucrative course!
What can you get out of the Subject
What can you get out of it after studying the subject and where will you be going with the subject? Firstly, apart from all the academic journey and the skills that you will have acquired, at the end of the day, you will be looking for a job which is more or less related to your degree. The question, at that time for you, will be to choose the kind of job you want to get or the sector you want to work in. Most graduates go into banking, insurance, actuary, data engineering and a few into teaching. Employers need candidates with talents of problem-solving and cognitive thinking skills which one would be assumed to possess after having done a degree in Math. Or if you are just done with your A-Levels and aiming to get into a highly esteemed institution to get your degree in a subject other than Math but you have Mathematics as one of your subjects at A-Levels, it will give you the edge on other candidates to secure a place in the institution of our choice for that particular degree.