Studying Maths at Reading
Who better to tell you about life in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics than our current students?
Lucy Edwards, Third year Student
"The first week of University can be quite overwhelming at times. There's a mixture of nerves and excitement, but because everyone's in the same situation you find that you make friends so fast and then by the third day you're just completely settled in.
"I was worried about making friends and also the change in environment, going from a classroom with thirty people to a lecture theatre this big and then, obviously, the workload itself.
"What's great about the department is that after every lecture there's a tutorial where you get to practice what you've learnt and have one-on-one discussions with both lecturers and PhD students. I think what I love about Reading is how friendly and approachable the staff are. So if I have a problem, whether it be personal or academic, I won't hesitate to go and see them.
"I remember my first lecture and being given these notes and seeing all these symbols and terms which I'd never heard of before and I was very worried, but the lecturers walk you through it at such a comfortable pace and they encourage you to ask questions because they do genuinely care and want you to achieve as much as you can.
"It's really exciting to know that in a few months I'll be in the great hall graduating with all my family and friends around me to celebrate what I've achieved.
"Looking back to A-levels I never thought I'd know what I do now. It's really cool to apply the Mathematics I've learnt to real world problems."
First Year Thoughts
We spoke to students who'd just completed their first term to provide you a real insight into starting studying for a degree in Mathematics at the University of Reading.
'I didn't know what to expect when I came to uni. Everyone is lovely and the maths society is a great place to meet people. Maths is difficult, but there is plenty of support through both the department and your peers to help you through.'
Eleanor Partington (BSc Mathematics)
'Before moving to Reading I was worried about fitting in here, but the university offers loads of support in different forms. I started to feel at home very quickly. There are also loads of opportunities offered to you by the university to help boost your CV, or improve your skills in many different areas.
'It is very easy to get help with work you're not confident in, as you have your lecturers, your personal tutors and the people in your weekly tutorials you have for every module. It is easy to access the maths department, and the people in it too if you need help. There is also a maths common room for you to work with your course friends.'
Kieran Sureshbhai Patel (BSc Mathematics)
“Highlights: Meeting so many people who also love maths. Challenges: Getting used to independent living/study.
As a mathematician, I have learnt so much more mathematics and become better at problem solving, and as a person I have become more confident.
Advice: Just enjoy it and throw yourself into everything you do, whether that be study, social life or clubs/societies.”
'Having taken a gap-year, I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to remember the mathematical techniques I learnt at A Level. When I arrived, one of my professors said to me that 'maths is like riding a bike, once you know how to do it, you'll never forget', and that couldn't have been more correct.'
Hattie Pargiter (BSc Mathematics)
'My time at Reading University has not only developed my understanding of mathematics, but has also enhanced my social skills as a whole. I not only feel more confident when tackling problems, in lectures and out, but also within myself.'
Ryan Bates (BSc Mathematics)
'Maths is easier than I thought it would be and I enjoy every lesson. Challenges: Staying up to date each week with two or more assignments. Enjoy it as much as you can. Life, uni and the people are brilliant!'
Katerina Christou (BSc Mathematics)
Second Year Thoughts and Advice for First Years
'Freshers; no year could ever compare to it, but you mustn't lose sight of what you're here for. Use this time to find where and when you work best because when the serious stuff starts in second year you want to be ready. Introduce yourself to as many people on your course as soon as possible, maybe sit next to a stranger every lecture for the first week. Chat to the lecturers too, the Mathematics department is extremely approachable and sociable, after all they are human too (I think).'
Emily Talbot (BSc Mathematics)
"A degree in maths is certainly not easy, but there is a certain pride in being able to solve a seemingly impossible problem."
George Butler (BSc Mathematics and Statistics)
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at University so far and was excited to return to second year after the summer. While the work isn't easy, the support available ensures it is an enjoyable challenge. Help from the Department was also a major factor in me being able to secure a placement for my third year.
While maths at university is different to that at A Level, many of the applied modules have similarities and it is nice to be able to continue working with some of the ideas I had picked up before starting at Reading, I have also enjoyed being part of the Maths and Stats society, which has allowed me to get to know some of my fellow students a little better and helped me build a friendship group who can support each other in our studies and also enjoy social events.”
"By the end of summer I couldn't wait to come back and see my course mates. I felt positive going into second year as I worked hard in first year. I can't overstate how much that first year knowledge has carried over to this year and helped me with the increased workload and more complex content. I'm still enjoying maths, even though it requires more of my time and effort than last year. This is mostly down to the increased application to real world problems that is introduced in second year, keeping the course fresh.
"I've found that during my time in maths I've discovered a lot about how I most efficiently learn. You get more and more used to managing your time and juggling responsibilities. I've also found that students come together and collaborate even more in second year. I've gotten to know my course mates and the staff better and better, which has had a positive effect on my studies."
Jeremy Law (BSc Mathematics)
"After great encouragement from my lecturers and tutor I was able to secure a placement with IBM by December! I have never felt so happy throughout my time here at Reading and I now have all of this remaining time to focus on my studies."
Anna Michaela Spence (BSc Mathematics)
"Before I came to Reading, I was really worried that I would embarrass myself and ask a lecturer something really silly. But you'll often be told that 'there's no such thing as a stupid question' and the lecturers are always willing to help!"
Christopher Jeffree (BSc Mathematics and Statistics)
Third Year Thoughts and Advice for First Years
'The highlight of my time at university has been volunteering at a local primary school, helping children to learn maths. Through my studies I have developed my knowledge and skills, particularly using statistical software which will be useful for future career prospects. Starting my final year I felt anxious, because this year is the most important, but I was also excited to be completing my degree.
'My advice: join a society and make the most of opportunities in the first and second year. Also in the final year start your project early.'
Ellie McGurk (BSc Mathematics and Statistics)
'The highlight of my time at Reading was improving my analysis grades, making new friends and finding out what I want to do with my life. I feel studying mathematics has actually changed me as a person – brought me out of my shell and made me more outgoing and confident.
'Advice: work hard and everything will be fine.'
Saskia Eddy (BSc Mathematics)
'During my time at Reading I have really enjoyed social-mentoring a first year student and working part-time for the disability office. I am now more knowledgeable about my subject and think more logically, I am more independently minded and ready for the world of work.
'My advice for people starting uni: join a society – don't worry about not knowing anyone, loads of first years will be joining as well. Also start looking at assignments as soon as they are given out.'
Rebecca Bampton (BSc Mathematics and Statistics)
“The Peer-assisted learning (PAL) scheme that I have been involved in this year has been a great experience and it is something that I would recommend to anyone.
The scheme has increased my confidence and skill with help groups of students, and I like the fact that the sessions are educational and enjoyable at the same time.”
'Meeting new people, nights out, the summer balls, and living with friends have been the highlights of university so far. The work has been challenging, but I've improved in my ability, and started to believe in myself more – if I try I can do things. As a person, university has made me more self-reliant and confident, and I'm gutted it's my last year and nearly over.
'My advice to those starting out at uni: make the most of your first year!'
Matt Povey (BSc Mathematics)
'Coming back for my final year I was sad that this is nearly over, but I was ready to work hard and enjoy it all. Since starting university I've grown up – I am more confident and ready to face new challenges, and I'm proud of my achievements. The best bit has been meeting great friends; the challenging part has been managing my money.
'My advice for those starting uni is the make the most of every minute - but don't forget to work hard!'
Emily Gay (BSc Mathematics)
'I was excited to start my final year of study and sad that it is nearly over, it's gone really fast! One of my highlights of the last three years has been joining and becoming president of Reading Uni Gospel Choir.
'My advice is join societies and talk to as many people as possible.'
Laura Day (BSc Mathematics and Statistics)
'You have more free time than you ever will have, use it! You have the opportunity and the time to learn and develop and you should always keep that in mind. Most importantly enjoy it, three years goes quicker than you think!'
Bill Beaven (BSc Mathematics)