The Student Room Personal Statement Maths Is Fun

Studying Maths at university is for me something which seems a natural extension of my interests so far in life. I find Mathematics fascinating; fun, sometimes frustrating, but most of all beautiful. The idea that once proved a mathematical truth is true forever is a somewhat powerful one. The geometric truths proved by the ancient Greeks remain just as true today as they were then: developments since have not made them any less true.

Whenever opportunities have arisen to indulge in Mathematics beyond formal education, I have taken them. [Blah about local pop maths quiz]. The most interesting extra-curricular Maths activity I participated in was [extra-curricular Y12 university maths thing].

This was a course run by [a university] for three days, to give Y12 students a taste of what university Maths is like. The emphasis was on open-ended problem-solving rather than just applying a method to a solved type of problem. I worked in a team of five investigating rational tangles, which for our purposes were defined as the "tangle" formed when the fixed ends of two pieces of strings were passed over and under one another. We were informed that a given tangle had a unique rational number associated with it. We investigated into how various moves affected the invariant, and what other transformations could be performed on the tangle- for instance, how the mirror image of a tangle was related to the original. The nature of the course, exploring the implications of the definitions we began with rather than just solving set problems, was exciting and different.

My main pastime while not studying is reading for pleasure. I enjoy reading immensely: I will read almost anything, though of course I prefer content related to my own interests. Books of fact, fiction, narrative or description: all these are my bread and butter. I especially enjoy books which illustrate a concept using a narrative structure. I rather enjoy books about Maths which do this, because they often provide a framework in which new ideas can be encountered. A book that did this to some degree that I recently enjoyed reading was "The man who loved only numbers", a biography of Paul Erdos. This was a stellar read: the Mathematics that Erdos worked on during his life and his own life story are captivating. The thing that stuck in my mind that I enjoyed the most was one point in the book, when a statement was made on finding a pair of relatively prime numbers in a set of integers between 1 and 2n, but a proof was not immediately shown. The book was about to explain the proof; I put down the book, before I read the explanation, and proved it myself. On returning to the book I confirmed my proof. This was an incredibly satisfying moment!

I take part in a variety of other activities, both in and out of school. I am a regular member of my school's debating society, and have prepared and participated in competitions. This has increased my passion for earnest and frank discussion on any subject and my awareness of the importance of logically structuring an argument. I am also involved in the Amnesty International group at my school: I am a strong believer in human rights and their importance for the peaceful co-existence of us all. Related to this is my participation in [a particular national youth group (rather like scouts)]. I have been involvedwith them for the greater part of my life, and through it I have become the confident and happy person that I am today.

My drive to achieve, and coupled with my huge appetite for knowledge and innate curiosity, are what motivates me to learn as much as I can, as often as I can. By studying Mathematics at university, I hope to feed this appetite, to learn more, and to understand more. Why in particular do I feel that Maths is above all else what I want to study? Simply because of its structure, its universality and its beauty.

 

Universities Applied to:

  • Emmanuel College, University Of Cambridge, Mathematics G100 - Offer A*, A, A, 11 in Maths, FM and Physics. Firm Choice.
  • Warwick University, Mathematics G103 - Offer AAA + [2 in STEP or Merit in AEA]. Insurance choice.
  • Bristol University, Mathematics G103 - Offer AAB with FM or AAA with just Maths. Declined.
  • Manchester University, Mathematics G104- Offer AAB with FM. Declined.
  • Imperial University, Mathematics G103- Offer AAA in Maths, FM, Physics, with As in all modules. Declined.

 

Grades Achieved:

  • Mathematics A2 - A*
  • Further Mathematics A2- A*
  • Physics A2- A*
  • Chemistry A2- A*
  • Philosophy AS- A
  • STEP II- S
  • STEP III- S
  • AEA in Mathematics- Distinction

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Article by TSR User on Thursday 15 February 2018

I very much enjoy using analytical thinking, in conjunction with new and abstract ideas, to reach gratifying solutions to mathematical problems. Private exploration of mathematics has been fascinating; a personal favourite being 3D differentiation and its applications.

Reading around the subject has also proved rewarding. Specifically the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture's complex link to Fermat's last theorem allowed me to appreciate the importance of links between seemingly unrelated branches of mathematics. I appreciated how the complex problem was used as a backdrop to the history of mathematics in the same way that the Riemann Hypothesis was used to identify brilliant personalities that have contributed to the subject in 'The Music of the Primes'. I found 'A Mathematician's Apology' to be a very entertaining read that more than validated my fixation with the purer branches of mathematics. My favourite branches of mathematics at A level tended to be pure topics such as complex numbers and hyperbolic functions.

Last year I visited CERN in Geneva; consequently, I was able to appreciate the role of mathematics in physics. I specifically learnt how to model the circular motion of hadrons in particle colliders. At CERN was I also made aware of the connections between chaos theory and quantum physics, in addition to some of the theory's many other applications. Curious about the theory, I read about its relevance in a host of topics from fluid turbulence to finding patterns and predictability in the stock markets and national economy. This gave me insight into how applied mathematics was crucial to the development of so many other disciplines.

Having completed my A levels, during my gap year I intend to progress my knowledge in mathematics by self-teaching at least the M4, FP3 and DE modules. I had particular success in the further pure modules and I am looking forward to increasing my knowledge on multivariable calculus and Markov chains. I will also continue to tutor GCSE, AS and A level mathematics. In addition to this I also frequently work through STEP papers. I believe they are a good way to prepare for a mathematics course at university, primarily because the papers require a high level of mathematical dexterity. I took the Intermediate Maths Challenge twice at school, achieving gold on both occasions.

Away from maths my competitive nature has been satisfied by dinghy sailing and racing from a young age. I also frequently sail yachts around Europe and have recently achieved a RYA Coastal Skipper Qualification. I plan to sail on at least one ocean passage in 2011. In addition to this I will use the finances from my current job to travel in the spring of next year, during which time I hope to gain independence and maturity. I have received two Outward Bound classic awards and was marketing director in a successful young enterprise company. I love art and continue to develop my Portfolio. Last year I received an offer to purchase one of my paintings for exhibition in a small London art gallery. Over the last two years, I co-managed an annual arts festival in Winchester that exhibited work in several venues around the city. I currently volunteer for the Liberal Democrat party.

I have complete faith in my aptitude for mathematics. The challenge of studying degree level mathematics is an incredibly exciting prospect for me, and one that I will commit myself to entirely.

As I have learnt more about Mathematics, I have found enjoyment in research, and self-development through problem-solving. Solving hard problems can be rewarding; in finding intuitively plausible arguments while completing initially daunting challenges and I look forward to embracing the challenge of a university course in the subject.

In the past, I have qualified for the British Maths Olympiad as well as the Maclaurin Olympiad. I greatly enjoy this style of Mathematics, especially learning about new methods such as the AM-GM-HM inequality and how to apply knowledge to uncover solutions within situations. This provided enrichment beyond normal A Level material, because of no real way to prepare for questions as they could be set on almost anything. It also helped prepare me for higher level mathematics.

During the early part of this year, due to ill health which lasted for a few months, my academic performance was less impressive, with less time available for preparation towards STEP and A Levels. Despite this, I managed to score highly in both the Further Maths OCR and Maths modules with 100 UMS in C1,C4 S1 and M3 achieving A* in both. I achieved an S grade, which was then revised to a high 1 grade, for STEP 1, and greatly enjoyed preparation towards other entrance examinations.

I have read 'Does God Play Dice', 'The Code Book' as well as other mathematicians' biographies. I liked reading 'Does God Play Dice', as it demonstrated the true definition of randomness and how to bring order out of chaos through innovative methods. Learning about the historical developments of cryptography to the modern day was fascinating, and I especially enjoyed learning of interesting ciphers. I also enjoy reading non-mathematics material in my spare time. This year I self-taught the Further Mathematics syllabus, as the only OCR candidate in our school, and I greatly enjoyed the challenge. I especially liked the Pure modules, delving into topics like Group Theory, and keeping up a fast pace to complete the modules. My favourite topic across Core Mathematics was Calculus, with its variety of techniques which can be applied to solve seemingly impossible integrals. I also enjoyed exploring geometry and number theory, and created a blog to enlist those facts and theorems I found interesting.

Out of the classroom I have been an assistant C1 teacher, and have received positive feedback from the students, learning of the importance of having good social relationships to maximise class productivity. Aside from the mathematics, I enjoy badminton and chess. I have been a speaker for the school's Debating Society on occasions as well. I completed my Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award only recently, and relished the opportunity to work as a team unit and lead the group through unchartered territory. I am currently studying Mathematics at Warwick to learn about further study and also to extend my mathematical capability. On balance, I am a hard-working, meticulous student who is prepared to tackle and learn from challenges.

Universities Applied to:

  • Oxford University (Mathematics G100) - Offer (Unconditional) - Firm
  • Imperial College London (Mathematics G103) - Offer (Unconditional) - Declined
  • London School of Economics and Political Science (Mathematics with Economics G1L1) - Withdrawn
  • University College London (Mathematics G107) - Withdrawn
  • Kings College London (Mathematics G103) - Offer (Unconditional) - Declined

Grades Achieved:

  • Mathematics (A2) - A*
  • Further Mathematics (A2) - A*
  • Physics (A2) - A
  • Economics (A2) - A
  • Fine Art (AS) - A

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If you have some reasonably good UMS marks in maths modules, get them into the reference. Make sure you know about everything that you have written. Mentioning no books is fine, mentioning books you haven't read is not.


Article by TSR User on Thursday 15 February 2018

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