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Mathematics reading list

For applicants

We advise you to read the Mathematics page thoroughly. For reading and preparation advice, you should find the following sections particularly useful:

For offer holders

Preparing for STEP examinations

Many Mathematics offers include particular grades in STEP. We hope that the following information will help you to prepare:

Further preparation for the course

The three documents below are updated each year in late July. You will find the date at the bottom of the coversheet.

The King's Maths Perspectives, written by current undergraduate mathematicians, include useful discussion of STEP, the transition from school to Cambridge maths, and what to expect on the course.

The following books are recommended:

  • M R Spiegel, Vector Analysis and an Introduction to Tensor Analysis, Schaum – Chapters 1 to 4 are essential (except for the parts marked as “hard”) but read as much as you can.
  • R P Feyman, Lectures in Physics – Volume 1 Addison-Wesley, Chapters 1 – 17 and 21 – 25. This is an excellent introduction to the physics side in mathematics. It is especially important if you have not studied physics at school. (Volume II chapters 1 – 8, 12 – 18 and 20 are also interesting and useful).
  • M Spivak, Calculus, Benjaminc – A good introduction which is aimed slightly above A level and concentrates on techniques.
  • R P Burn: Numbers and Functionsc, Cambridge University Press – An alternative which concentrates on ideas.
  • D Smart, Linear Algebra and Geometryc, Cambridge University Press – Provides a good introduction to the algebra and geometry course as well as later material.
  • T W Körner, The Pleasures of Counting, Cambridge University Press – This gives an excellent but relaxed approach to rigorous mathematics.

Further information

Reading lists | For offer holders | Undergraduate study