University Mathematics

Note: see the generic maths article for more tips!

The formal name for this at my school was ‘University of Melbourne Extension Program Mathematics for High Achieving Students’. It is a mirror of ‘Accelerated Mathematics 1’, a first semester subject in university. There are two main fields of mathematics – applied mathematics and pure mathematics. The way the University of Melbourne teaches this subject is with a purer philosophy. That means abstract mathematics and lots of proofs!

I did not realise that this subject had this kind of philosophy at the time. It even initially turned me away from doing mathematics at university, because I expected more of the same Рlots of abstract problems and proving things. Fortunately, the applied mathematics I studied at university was a lot different to VCE university mathematics. That included what I liked Рmore concrete exams and more calculus!

I found this subject considerably harder than Specialist Maths. In fact, it had the effect of making Specialist Maths seem easy! (As is often the case when you do two related things of vastly differing difficulty.)

Of course, you can gain credit for this subject should you choose to study mathematics/science in university.

When I studied this subject, there was a generous bonus for VCE – I ended up getting a 5.0 for my 6th subject. I expect that this generosity has not been removed.

If you’re interested in Science, I would not recommend taking University Mathematics if you’re missing a standard science like Chemistry or Physics. I did two 3/4 subjects in Year 11, leaving me extra room in Year 12 for an additional subject. I choose to fill it with University Maths, but in hindsight would have preferred to take Physics 3/4 (without having taken Physics 1/2).

At many points in the unit, you may find yourself struggling in understanding concepts, as many of my classmates and I came to realise. Nevertheless, things really clicked for me just before the exam in swot-vac, so don’t worry! (Warning: You should not rely on things clicking in swot-vac all the time!)

For more information about Melbourne University’s Extension Program and whether it is right for you, see the UMEP website. Also consider Monash’s extension mathematics program.

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