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Maths degree - really struggling - no hope?

(16 Posts)
TheGoodEnoughWife Fri 24-Feb-17 19:28:17


I am working my way through a maths degree with the OU. Currently doing my last level one unit and first level two unit but I am struggling.

I had always thought maths can be learnt but am now considering whether I have gone as far as I can? I did get behind in Jan which is my small hope that things wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't let things slide. But it is hard!

Normally I can start to see some reasoning and pattern to what I am doing but with this current part I really can't. I am reading and re reading and it feels like a complete foreign language!

Anyone with a maths degree felt this way? It really is quite early in my degree to feel this way maybe? Anyone struggled but got through it?

I actually think I am going to have to put my next assignment unfinished which is really disappointing. I have been scoring highly previously - 90-100% on every one. Can one just suddenly reach their limit?!

hellsbells99 Sat 25-Feb-17 00:08:46

Hi op. Sorry to hear you are struggling. Could you afford to get a tutor? Also don't forget you do not need 90-100% - 60% would get you a 2.1!
Is it just 1 module you are struggling with? If you pass that module, is there enough flexibility that you can avoid taking that topic further?

Aliveinwanderland Sat 25-Feb-17 00:16:47

I did a maths degree and like you felt that I got to the point where I was at the limit of my understanding.

I struggled through, especially Year 2 but found Year 3 easier as the modules were more my sort of thing.

TheGoodEnoughWife Sat 25-Feb-17 07:14:37

Thank you.

Hadn't thought to get a tutor. I got one last year but they weren't quite the right fit and I carried on without them and did okay. But will look into getting another if only for a few hours.

I am going for a maths and statistics as I love the statistics part which the third year all will be so if I could struggle on it may get better.

SpinALittleFaster Sat 25-Feb-17 07:26:53

It might be worth looking for different resources to build your understanding. One of my maths lecturers used the Schaum's Outline books and I really liked those.
Have you got sample test papers with answers? Sometimes with maths it can be easier to work backwards from a known answer than to read theory.

I'd definitely recommend looking for a tutor though. You'd expect at least one tutorial session a week if you were a full time student, so you're removing a huge amount of support if you don't have access to a tutor.

Wonderpants Sat 25-Feb-17 07:31:25

I did a different degree with the OU, but do you not have a course tutor? My experience was that they were generally quite good at dealing with these things. They should even be able to see you for 1-2-1 tutor sessions if needed!

MrsNuckyThompson Sat 25-Feb-17 07:33:16

I definitely hit a wall at a level and thought I'd just reached my brain's capacity for maths. However a tutor really helped - sometimes someone taking a different approach will just flick a switch to it becoming manageable.

Decorhate Sat 25-Feb-17 07:45:20

I loved maths at school & did a degree with a high maths content (engineering). I found maths modules at uni very difficult. Perhaps the different teaching style didn't help - no tutors in my day! I got through the very tricky ones by just working out how to do the questions without really understanding it

FleshEmoji Sat 25-Feb-17 07:56:14

What particular bit are you getting stuck on?

TheGoodEnoughWife Sat 25-Feb-17 09:40:53

Thank you. I do have a course tutor but not near by for this unit and there was a delay in sorting online tutorials out which I found a concern to start with so probably was a bit despondent from the very start.
I could phone her but am at the crying about it stage so that could be embarrassing!

I will email her today so explain how things are going for me and see what she says. I am going to submit what I have so far today so at least I have something in (next assignment due weds) then I can re submit as I get more done.

I am stuck on Calculus and am finding the more stressed about it I get the more I struggle to manipulate even simple equations. For this year one unit I need 55% to carry on which I should be able to do overall- helped by having two good assignment marks in the bank already but I do feel the more I just don't 'get' I won't be able to catch up?

Mostly I am feeling very sorry for myself and that I am putting in so many hours (7-10ish a day)I am ignoring my teens and my dh and generally not having a life! I do need to step back and think this is just a busy time and it won't always be that way but easier said than done when in the midst of it.

ttlshiwwya Sat 25-Feb-17 17:03:41

Sympathize. Did my maths degree 30 plus years ago and still remember the feeling of being completely out of my depth at the beginning of my third year with topology and abstract algebra. My tutor helped me immensely and was useful emphasing that it was only a couple of courses. I choose my subsequent options carefully (more applied less abstract) and found my last year much easier. In my day you only sat exams at the end of fourth year (scotland) and I was surprised when I came back to revise the topics I understood them much better second time around. For me up to then I had breezed thru maths and hadn't developed the skills to puzzle thru difficult topics.

GeorgeTheHamster Sat 25-Feb-17 17:06:54

Are there any videos on YouTube or other uni's websites that explain it, they may do it in a slightly different way that could help you?

isthistoonosy Sat 25-Feb-17 17:12:24

I did second year maths with the OU and it was really hard. I later did an engineering degree and the maths there was a peiee of piss in comparison - always makes me laugh engineers thinking they have 'done' maths grin

Personally i hit my wall with stats at gcse but loved modelling and pure. Try to plod on and talk to your tutor, it could be completely different next year when you are back on the stuff you like.

Decorhate Sun 26-Feb-17 09:16:18

Was that comment directed at me? Frankly you have no idea about the content of the course I did (in a different country, a long time ago) so don't make assumptions.

lougle Sun 26-Feb-17 09:34:11

Khan Academy is free and excellent - you'll find it on YouTube and it takes a topic and drills down carefully, explaining a concept, then building on it so you can understand it.

user7214743615 Sun 26-Feb-17 09:42:08

Frankly you have no idea about the content of the course I did (in a different country, a long time ago) so don't make assumptions.

I don't think the comment was meant in a particularly negative way, but it is a true statement (in all countries) that engineers are not taught "pure" mathematics at university.

The OP seems to be struggling with calculus, a subject which is taught to both mathematicians and engineers/physical scientists. However, calculus taught in an abstract pure way is often much harder to grasp than calculus taught for engineers/physical scientists. (I say this as somebody who has taught both over several decades.) And the methods for tackling the issues are a bit different: for "pure" maths, the best idea is probably to look through various textbooks, for different versions of proofs, while for "applied" calculus the best strategy is probably to work through a lot of different examples. In other words, it is hard to answer OP without knowing the OU module content.

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