Saturday, May 19, 2007
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Thursday, May 03, 2007
- GCSE - Doddle. Grade A without much effort due to a fantastic teacher and a school that taught in small(ish) classes of similar ability.
- A-Level - Tougher. Managed the 'mechanics' part ok but struggled with the pure. Grade C. Now wish I'd done the further maths paper as well, the extra lessons might have helped.
- Degree - Whoops! The first year maths course was taught by a maths professor. To physics students. Lost me in the first lecture and I didn't realize that the stuff he was saying was relevant to the subject until the middle of the second year. B.Sc. Physics with Astrophysics (Third)
- Couple of Masters degrees, not that much maths content.
- Real life - Improving. Set myself the task of improving my maths skills. Ten years of an hour per day with the Open University later, I'm about to get my second (undergraduate level) degree, B.Sc. Mathematical Sciences (Upper Second)
So, I've done a lot of maths, and I use it quite a bit for work, but I'm no maths genius. It's something that I have to plod though slowly and check my working. Hence my comments about not expecting to get the whole of the puzzle correct.
- I'd actually managed to get it right, and
- They had pulled my solution out of the hat and I was the prize winner
I shouldn't complain, because I did volunteer to do some publicity for the RSoC when I spoke to them on the phone. It's an important message that they are trying to get across: if we don't sufficiently challenge our students at GCSE and A-Level, then they aren't going to be able to cope at degree level and our supply of new British engineers and scientists will dry up. That would be a shame, because science and engineering are two things we're good at in this country.
It's starting to look as if the media are reporting this as either a) Yay, we beat the Chinese, or b) RSoC were wrong, we can do maths. Neither of these quite get the point behind all of this, unfortunately. I may have a go at putting my thoughts down later.