academic advice
10485 Are You Thinking of Studying Mathematics?

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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.

mathematics Categories: Articles, University Advice Tags: , 10109 So, You Want to Study Medicine at University? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

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First things first, congratulations on your choice of subject for university! Deciding that you want to become a doctor is a major life decision, and is certainly not something to be taken on lightly. Making the decision to study medicine at the age of 17, 18 or even younger, is a big deal, and generally comes from a strong drive inside students who wantto

about how the human body works, take on an often stressful – but highly rewarding – future career, and, of course, to help those who are unwell to get better – or, in some cases, to help those who can’t get better have the best possible end to their lives.

You will need very good grades

So, with this in mind, the next thing you should know before you study medicine at university is that, yes, there are high barriers to entry, but these don’t necessarily have to be stumbling blocks, as long as you are well-informed about what is required before you start applying. Due to the highly competitive nature of the subject, you will need top grades in (mostly) science subjects in order to have a fighting chance. Medicine is a lot about science, as well as helping people, so make sure you’ve got A-levels in Chemistry and Biology before you consider applying.

Make sure you take time on your personal statement

As it is such a competitive subject, it is worth taking time over your personal statement and making sure you are using all of your limited words efficiently, to really say something about why you’re applying for medicine. Don’t worry, you don’t need to write something really distinctive or profound – and actually, that might have the opposite effect to the one you’re after – you just need to write about why you want to study medicine and what it is about you that makes you an awesome applicant.

Oh, and you’re banned from saying “ever since I was little, I have always wanted to be a doctor….’ as this is a huge cliche and will add nothing of value, only take up space. It is good to show that you have demonstrated a commitment to medicine over time – a commitment which will tide you through a very long degree course – which you can demonstrate through taking on some work experience and then writing about it.  

Work experience for the win!

Which leads us to: work experience! In order to talk about this effectively in your interview or write about it in your personal statement statement, it is a great idea to keep a diary during your work experience so you can reflect upon what you enjoyed, and, very importantly, what you found challenging as well. As well your academic abilities, you need to demonstrate your compassion and people skills, so volunteering in a care home for the elderly would be the ideal kind of work experience – obviously, you need to make sure you present your work experience positively, but you will come across much more maturely if you can reflect on what you learned, and what was challenging, about this volunteering, and how this might relate to your future career.

Make sure you’re up to speed on science too

As mentioned previously, medicine is a science subject first and foremost. This will depend on which universities you apply to, but Cambridge and Oxford have a big emphasis on sciences as a driving force behind their medical course (especially in the pre-clinical years), so it’s good to make sure you do extra reading on the areas of science you are most interested in. As an extra boost to set you apart from other candidates who will just read the book and say why it’s interesting, make sure you go the extra mile: read that extra research paper on the topic, and ask your teacher to find you more relevant reading too.This way, you will be showing your interest through your actions, which is far more convincing!

You don’t need to pretend to be boring!

In brief, mention your extracurricular activities on your personal statement, as otherwise they might assume you don’t have any. They are choosing someone to become a doctor, not just a student, so make sure you don’t come across as someone who sits and reads books all day, even if that’s true (Take on a hobby now if so!) if you’re smart, you can always ensure that your extracurriculars link back to medicine and help you to stand out from other applicants: whether it’s communication skills from a sport, or responding to feedback on an artistic project, it can all be used to your advantage.

Practice makes perfect on the admissions tests

As you may already know, there are two admissions tests for medicine: the BMAT and the UKCAT. There is so much information about them online – so make sure you’re clued up on that – but the one thing that is worth emphasising is that you can and should practise for them. This will help you learn the format, and to help you gain the best possible mark.

Indeed, sometimes the admissions test sites say you can’t practice for these tests, but they’re wrong, and you should use the practice books out there to your advantage! Also, bear in mind that different universities weigh these tests differently – and the BMAT is taken after you have applied – so all is not lost if they don’t go as you hoped. If you do some research online, you will easily learn which universities take the UKCAT strongly into account, and which don’t, so check this out when you are applying.  

Finally, the interview: No, it’s not a trick

Now, medical school interviews are often shrouded in mystery, with rumours of asking students to ‘surprise me’, or to throw a brick out of the window and so on, but, news flash, none of this will happen, and the interview is not a trick: it’s a chance for you to demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm to the interviewers.

Practising your interview technique with someone who is not a friend – as you won’t be in the right frame of mind – is a really good way to get feedback on how you deal with nerves and unexpected questions under pressure. Remember, it is best to think before you talk, and you can always ask them to repeat the question and to take a moment before you answer, especially if you feel thrown by the question. This will make you seem more engaged and mature than blurting out the first thing that comes into your head.

Remember too that they will ask you challenging ethical questions too such as: “Would you force treatment on someone who has cancer in order to save their life?” and, “someone is injured in a skiing accident, which is a high risk activity, should they have to pay for their NHS care?” When they ask you a question like this, make sure you think about both sides of the argument, rather than jumping to any conclusions, as there are no right and wrong answers, and you will come across much better this way if you can talk through your thought process with them.

Don’t panic!

Of course, I could go on, but these are the big things to think about for applying for medicine at university. In short, just ensure you keep engaged with current advances in medical science (a great thing to discuss in the interview), perhaps by subscribing to a medical journal, or even the New Scientist, and can talk passionately about why you want to do medicine, and what makes you distinctive as a candidate, and you’ll be just fine. Enjoy the ride that is medical school applications, and remember, at the end of it, you get add ‘doctor’ to your name. That’s pretty cool!

medicine university Categories: Articles Tags: , 9296 7 Ways to Better Writing

1.Variety, not Size

When it comes to sentences, longer is rarely intrinsically better. This is not to say that all sentences should read like a Dick and Jane book, but it’s easy to fall into the mindset that more complex sentences equal better writing. Untrue.

A technique that some may find helpful is to treat your writing like a piece of jazz music, with the length and the makeup of the sentences standing in for the musical rhythms. Jazz music is not like a waltz, for instance, in which the rhythm remains ever-predictable at BUM bum bum, BUM bum bum, BUM bum bum, ad infinitum. (My apologies to waltz fans everywhere.) Good writing should be much more like a jazz piece:

BUM! Ba-da-da-dee-da-da-dum-diddy-diddy-diddy-diddy-dum! Bob-bop doo wah diddy. Bum! Bum! Diddy-diddy bop!

If you could hear that in my head, you’d be tapping your feet, but since you can’t, let’s use some actual writing examples:

“I woke up. It was cold. The room was dark. I couldn’t find the phone. I had it last night. Now it was gone.”

“When I woke up that morning, the room temperature caused my breath to hang in the air like tiny storm clouds, and in the darkness I was unable to find the phone which I had placed upon the bedside table just the night before when I returned home from the club at 2am.”

“I woke with a start. The room was too cold, and my breath formed tiny clouds in the air. They reminded me of storm clouds. Why? I instinctively reached for the phone, but it was gone from the bedside table. Where was it? I searched my memory of the night before when I returned home from the club where I met Rebecca and her fiance. It was 2am by the phone’s glowing screen when I placed it in its accustomed spot. I must have passed out.”

Which phrase would you rather read? I vote for the third.

2. Adverbs are Just Pretending to be Your Friend

A well-placed adverb can certainly help to enliven an otherwise lifeless phrase, but too many of them can have your readers reaching for the air-sickness bag. This is true in all kinds of writing, though it’s most frequently given as a tip to beginning (or simply untalented) fictions writers. Let’s look at a re-write of the second phrase above:

“When I unexpectedly and violently awoke that morning, the room temperature inexplicably and ominously caused my breath to hang in the air like tiny storm clouds, and in the darkness I was unable to find the phone, which I had habitually and firmly placed upon the bedside table just the night before when I drunkenly and unsteadily returned home from the club at 2am.”

OK, that’s an extreme example, but you see my point. Compare that to the third phrase, which contains only one adverb. Again, which would you rather read?

Adverbs can become a crutch when you’re trying to breathe more life into listless prose, but usually less is more. Instead of, “William furiously and forcefully placed the bottle onto the table.” try, “William slammed the bottle onto the table in front of me. I’d never seen him so furious.” This has the dual virtue of using a stronger, more expressive verb (slammed) as well as introducing a variation in sentence length. It also provides additional information to the reader; not only was William furious, he was also more furious than the narrator had ever known him to be.

3. The Spellchecker really is Your Friend

First let’s make it perfectly clear; we’re talking about spellchecker, not autocorrect.

Autocorrect is NOT your friend.

Autocorrect blithely changes “I made the crosscountry team!” to “I made the cross-dressing team!” with nary a beep to warn you of what’s happened.

Autocorrect is the know-it-all friend who claims to know best and always orders the octopus tartare for you while you’re still out parking the car.

Autocorrect and adverbs hang out together and talk about you behind your back.

Spellchecker, on the other hand, is that one good friend whom you can trust to proofread your work with a kind, but critical eye. It doesn’t presume to know what you meant to write, it gently underlines things it’s not sure of with a charmingly squiggly little line. And the more you use it the more you can teach it about your writing habits (both good and bad).

Make use of spellchecker to help improve your writing, but don’t just settle for its out-of-the-box settings. Spellchecker only knows to look for what it’s been told to look for, but we all have our little bad habits, such as overused words or sentences that are too long, and this friendly little tool can be set to look for and point out whatever we tell it to look for.

How?

As you write and revise your work, you’ll undoubtedly stumble upon things that you do that you’d rather not repeat. They may not be “incorrect” per se, but they make your work repetitive or less interesting than you’d like it to be. As you notice these writing quirks, you can program spellchecker to recognize and point them out to you in its subtle, apologetically helpful way.

In time, you’ll not only have created a much more powerful proofreading tool, but it will also have taught you to be a better writer by pointing out your missteps instead of just quietly changing them for you.

4. Snip Those Paragraphs

Yes, there are rules for paragraphs. Yes, they were pounded into your head from an early, impressionable age. But it’s also unavoidably true that endless, unbroken passages of text can be the death of any slight bit of interest your reader might have had in what you’ve got to say.

Of course “illegally” shortening paragraphs is more acceptable for some kinds of writing than others. It should be done with caution so as to avoid losing any sense of structure in your writing at all. But in fiction and certain informal writings, it can be not only helpful in making endless paragraphs more readable, it can also be a powerful tool in driving home a point or grabbing the reader’s attention at a crucial moment.

5. Make up Your Mind, Already

Perhaps you’ve experienced the following sort of reaction while reading a piece of writing. The writing is good enough, points are well articulated, sentence length is varied, there are no obvious errors, but there’s something, some little… thing that bothers you about it. It’s like the sensation of walking through one strand of a cobweb, but not being able to find it and swipe it away.

The above scenario is often brought on by a certain lack of consistency, and for some it can be crazy-making.

A lack of consistency in writing can involve something as simple as using or omitting the Oxford Comma. Whatever your stand on whether or not it should be used, the writer should certainly make a choice and stick with it.

Similar choices might include capitalization of headers, punctuation after headers, bolding or unbolding of headers, the use of abbreviations or acronyms in some places but not in others, and the list goes on.

Inconsistency of any sort, not just in the examples above, can be enough to make some readers give up and read something else. And they might not even know why.

In short, pay attention to the details, make a choice, and stick with it.

6. Don’t Tell Me How to Feel

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who excessively uses “air-quotes (and by “excessively,” we mean at all)? Or maybe they like to tell jokes and then immediately explain the punchline. Maybe they just like to punctuate a witty remark with a self-congratulatory wink.

This is the person readers are reminded of when you use too much formatting in your writing!

Formatting exists for a purpose, but that purpose is not to spoon-feed the reader so that they know exactly which words you think are dramatic or particularly note-worthy. If you write well, the reader will know those things without having to be told.

Formatting such as bold, italics, and underlining may sometimes be used sparingly, but use them too often and you risk sounding like the old knock-knock- joke:

Knock-knock

Who’s there?

Control freak — now YOU say “control freak who?”

Exclamation points, on the other hand, are the devil. Eschew them. Disavow them.

With the possible exception of writing dialogue for a play or novel, I’ve never encountered an instance in which an exclamation point is truly necessary.

7. One For the Poets

This is actually two tips combined into one:

1. If you’re a beginning poet, don’t spend too much time with meter and rhyme. Start with free verse until you’ve amassed the necessary experience and confidence to move to the next level.

Rhyme and meter can be tricky things. If you’re a beginner, it’s way too easy for everything to start sounding like “Roses are red; violets are blue,” or “Mary had a little lamb.” Unless you’ve mastered and harnessed the power of more complex constructions, your readers will be too distracted the sing-song meter to pay any attention to your brilliant theme.

And speaking of theme, every poem should have one. But don’t confuse “theme” with “topic.” The theme of a (good) poem is an idea, or topic combined with an opinion.

Suppose you’ve set out to write a poem about a tree. That’s all fine and well, but your poem won’t amount to much if you don’t also start with some sort of opinion about trees (or one tree in particular). Your readers will quickly tire of reading about “bark, rough to the touch,” and “leaves, green as green can be” if there’s no actual opinion being expressed about said bark and leaves.

“Trees” is not the theme of a poem.

“Trees are nothing but ugly, misshapen reminders of when our romance died in that God-forsaken cabin in the woods,” however… Now that’s much more like it.

Of course, all of this sage advice, as with anything else, should be taken with a grain of salt. Rules were made to be broken, so none of this is carved in stone. In general, however, it’s best not to start breaking rules until you’ve learned them well in the first place. Once you’re feeling confident that you’ve learned exactly how these and other rules of writing work, you should feel free to break them as it suits your literary needs.

Except for exclamation points.

Exclamation points are the devil.

writing Categories: Guide Tags: 9224 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Your Undergraduate Degree Course

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Choosing which course to study at university is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. It is a decision with decades of potential implications for your future. Here at Immerse Education, we empower students to craft the best possible future for themselves. Today, we present 10 pitfalls to avoid when making this all-important choice:

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1. Not understanding the difference between school and university. You may have enjoyed studying your subject all your life – but university-level study can have significant differences with pre-university tuition. Do not make the mistake of not understanding the differences pertaining to your subject of choice. The best way of making sure you understand the differences is to gain a taster of university life, for example at a summer school.

2. Not spending time in an academic environment. 
You might thrive in class – but the seminar room is a very different environment indeed. The transition to university can be quite a shock to the system – make sure you are prepared by spending time in a university environment prior to starting your course.

3. Not understanding disciplinary diversity. A subject is a subject, right? Not necessarily. That glacier formation process you really enjoyed at A-level will be of little use on a degree focusing on human geography. Have a passion for politics wedded to Marx? Make sure you are aware if there is a compulsory module entitled ‘A brief history of neoliberalism’! Academic disciplines are far wider than any one degree can cover – make sure you understand what you are getting yourself into.

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4. Not aiming high enough. A wise person once said ‘the pain of failure is less than the pain of regret’.You can minimise the chance of both by aiming high whilst undertaking extra preparation to put you one step ahead of the competition. Don’t leave yourself wondering ‘what if’ forever – be ambitious!

5. Not researching non-traditional degrees. Courses such as Law, or Oxford’s Politics, Philosophy and Economics draw on disciplines that you may not have studied prior to university. Here at Oxbridge Immerse, we offer the opportunity to study two subjects at once in order to get a taster of these pathways at university level. Looking at PPE? Consider Philosophy and Economics at Oxbridge Immerse. Love words, but unsure which degree to go for? Consider a combination of English Literature and Creative Writing. The obvious choice is not necessarily the best choice!

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6. Not talking to current undergraduates. The people who understand what it is like to study your subject at university better than anyone are, unsurprisingly, those who are studying your subject at university. There is no substitute for talking to those currently engaged in the course you wish to pursue for gaining an insight into what it takes to succeed before, during and after the university admissions process.

7. Not preparing for the interviewMany universities, including both Oxford and Cambridge, interview prospective students. Too often, students put an extraordinary amount of effort into every aspect of their application, only to fail at the all-important interview stage. This is why Oxbridge Immerse offers interview preparation workshops to empower our students to display their best side under pressure. When it comes to interview, there is no substitute for practice.

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8. Not considering the admissions criteria. There are differences in each university’s requirements. Strong on critical thinking? Perhaps consider applying to a university which asks prospective students to provide a Thinking Skills Assessment. Poor with numbers? Perhaps avoid that course which requires an A in Mathematics. Immerse Education hosts specific workshops to empower our students to thrive in all parts of the application process, from interviews and personal statements to subject-specific tests such as the LNAT, UKCAT or the TSA.

9. Not visiting. Do you actually like the location? Does the university feel like somewhere you could live? A university is not just a place to study – you will be living there for several years at least, so don’t wait until your first day there to visit the place.

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10. Not breaking with habit. Investment products are required to state some variant of ‘past performance is no indication of future performance’. This is no different when it comes to investing in your education – just because you are comfortable with a subject does not mean it is the right choice for you. Are you challenged, excited, and thrilled by an ‘obvious choice’ subject? If not, then it might be time to think outside the box. There are over 9,000 universities in the world, and far more courses -so choose wisely. If you want to make the most informed choice possible, consider getting a taster of university life on one of Cambridge Immerse’s summer schools. We offer 15 different subjects, so there is something for everyone. Find out more here.

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