Mathematics Reading List

For applicants

We advise you to read the Mathematics subject page thoroughly.

For offer holders

Many Mathematics offers include particular grades in STEP. Our STEP Support programme is designed to help you develop your advanced problem-solving skills and prepare for sitting STEP. The programme includes online modules for individual additional study. Each module consists of a structured mathematical problem-solving assignment, leading to work on STEP questions, with support material and partial solutions to help you assess your progress and identify areas that need more work. Additional support is available through an online discussion forum where you can discuss your work or ask for help and hints, mentored by Cambridge students and staff.

You can find the STEP Support Programme via the links below, along with the paper specification on the STEP website and advice from the Faculty and Further Mathematics Network.

Reading Suggestions

Until you have taken the exams, we recommend that you focus on STEP preparation before all else. In the summer before your 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 Preparation

It is essential that you work through the Mathematics workbook (available via the links below) during the Summer before you start at King's. It would also be useful to look at the Guide to the Maths Tripos and list of courses you'll be studying in your first year.

All the information and documents you need if you've already been accepted for an undergraduate place at King's.
You are strongly advised to read these documents which form part of the terms of admission referred to in your offer letter.

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