Sciences

Year 12 STEP Correspondence Course

A student solves a mathematics equation at the blackboardA student solves a mathematics equation at the Mfantsipim Boys School in Ghana. Image credit: World Bank Photo Collection

The University's STEP Correspondence Course is recruiting a new intake to start in September 2015.

You are eligible to apply if you are:

  • currently in year 12
  • attending a state-maintained school, college or academy in the UK
  • studying (this year or next year) Further Mathematics A-level, or something equivalent
  • intending to study Mathematics at a university that requires or recommends STEP

The deadline for applications is Friday 3 July 2015.

If selected, you will be expected to complete fortnightly assignments and will receive personalised feedback on each assignment.

Click here for more info and to sign up.

Date posted: 

Thursday 11 June 2015

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Mathematics for Biologists and Chemists

Test tubes in the laboratoryImage credit: Horia Varlan

Undergraduate Biologists and Chemists will find they need some mathematics in order to access and make the most of their science. Natural Scientists at Cambridge can choose between three first year Mathematics courses: Mathematics (usually taken by those specialising in Physical Sciences), Mathematical Biology (usually taken by those specialising in Biological Sciences), and Elementary Mathematics for Biologists (designed for Biological Scientists who did not take A Level Mathematics or equivalent).

Our Natural Scientists explain that 'knowledge of mathematics is essential for all scientists; it is the language with which we formulate theories and natural laws and express our ideas.' But what can you do to gain fluency in mathematics?  They advise you to 'practise thinking mathematically in non-routine contexts.'

Date posted: 

Monday 8 June 2015

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Problem-solving: Moon orbit around the earth

Do you want to be really good at problem-solving? The key is to get plenty of practice.

Here is one of the problems from i-want-to-study-engineering.org, a practice website designed for students who plan to apply for Engineering at top universities:

Assuming that:

  • the average distance between the earth and the moon is 3.8 x 108 m,
  • on average, it takes the moon 29 days to go round the earth,
  • the approximate value of the universal gravitational constant
    G= 6.7 x 10-11m3kg-1s-2.

estimate the mass of the earth.

Is the answer:

  • approximately 5 x 1023kg?
  • approximately 6 x 1024kg?
  • approximately 7 x 1025kg?
  • approximately 42kg?
  • None of the above?

For hints, topic information and answers, see the problem page itself, or for more problems (there are more than 200 available), see the problem index.

Further information:

Date posted: 

Tuesday 26 May 2015

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Biological Natural Sciences Subject Day: Thursday 16 July

Small cell carcinoma. Image credit: Yale Rosen

Cambridge Institute for Medical Research and King's College are jointly hosting a Biological Natural Sciences Subject Day on Thursday 16 July. Come and meet the CIMR's researchers and students and see the inner workings of their specialist research facilities, including world-class super-resolution microscopy. Join us at King's for lunch and for admissions and research talks by our Directors of Studies in Biological Natural Sciences. This event is open to Year 12 (or Year 13) students at UK schools who are currently researching applications for Biological Natural Sciences at university. Please note that this is not a suitable event for students who wish to apply for and study Medicine at university. Please see the provisional programme and apply online by Friday 19 June.

Date posted: 

Wednesday 20 May 2015

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York Festival of Ideas 2015

June Events in Cambridge (early booking recommended!)

Asian and Middle Eastern Studies stand at an open day

A College subject day will be useful even if you are unsure about College choice or have already chosen a different College.

As well as the Cambridge Open Days across all subjects and colleges on Thurs 2 July and Fri 3 July, a number of Year 12(*) subject events in June are open for booking at the moment.

Although we know that most of you are really busy with exam work at the moment, do be aware that some of these events allocate places on a first come, first served basis, so do try to get your booking in as soon as possible if you are interested.

* 'Year 12' is the quick way to explain, but these events are for all students who plan to apply in October 2015.

Date posted: 

Tuesday 12 May 2015

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Summer Medicine Residential at King's: 23 - 24 June 2015

Skeleton, front court, King'sKing's skeleton

King's College Student Union invites prospective Medics at UK state schools and colleges to apply for our Summer Medicine Residential. If you're currently researching an application for Medicine at university, and would like to have a taste of what studying at Cambridge is like, this event could be for you! The participants will attend supervisions in Biochemistry, Physiology, and Anatomy, participate in admissions workshops, and visit the Gurdon Institute. The residential begins at 12 midday on Tuesday 23 June, ends at 3pm on Wednesday 24 June, and includes one night's accommodation and all meals free of charge. We ask students to arrange their travel to Cambridge and cover their own transport costs. Priority will be given to those students travelling from further afield.

Date posted: 

Friday 8 May 2015

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Coding Summer School for Girls

Maths on a whiteboard
Are you female, aged 16-19, and interested in getting started with computer programming? If so, do apply for a place on the Cambridge Coding Academy Summer School for Girls, which will run from 10-14 August inclusive. The booking deadline is fast approaching so do apply today.

The summer school is supported by generous industry sponsorship, though do be aware that there remains a cost of £99. Subsidised accommodation is available in Queens' College and St John's College.

Please see the full information for details and to make an application.

Date posted: 

Thursday 7 May 2015

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Women, Count! (And other Mathematics Operations) - Year 10

St John's College

St John's College is one of the larger Colleges. What is a College?

St John's College is running a brand new event targeted at Year 10 girls who have the potential to get an A or A* in Mathematics GCSE.

Through a fascinating day of practical sessions, panel discussions and research talks from a wide range of Mathematical fields, this day will provide a real insight into the many realms in which Mathematics can be used, both at University and beyond.

Schools are invited to bring up to 5 students plus the required members of staff. Students can also make their own way to Cambridge.

The day will run from 9:45-16:00 and include a buffet lunch and tours of St John's College.

Full information and contact details are  available on the St John's College website.

Date posted: 

Wednesday 6 May 2015

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STEP Online Resources

Six pointed star

Six-pointed star. Credit: Ken

A pilot correspondence course started in January 2015 for Year 12 students who plan to take STEP Mathematics papers in Year 13.  It is intended for students who would not otherwise receive much help with STEP.

The assignments (and their 'postmortems') are being published online as the course progresses. Each assignment starts with some warm-up exercises. Then there is some preparatory work leading to a STEP question. Finally, there is an unrelated warm-down exercise.

If you will apply for Mathematics or Computer Science with Maths (STEP is only set for the 'with Maths' option), do have a look at the STEP Correspondence Resources website.

Further STEP resources including information about the popular NRICH STEP preparation course online are available in this previous post.

Date posted: 

Thursday 23 April 2015

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