I spent a bit of time on Saturday proof-reading TMA02 for M257, but apart from that I’ve been mainly working on Chapter A3 of MS221, which has introduced me to the fascinating world of transformations and isometries. I found the accompanying “Visualising isometries” program on the course DVD a little bit overcooked, but on the whole I’m really quite enjoying this chapter. To be honest, I expected A3 to be quite tough for me, since I’ve always had a bit of trouble with trigonometry; I used to find it hard to visualise triangles and particularly the unit circle, so I ended up just learning a lot of things by rote rather than actually understanding them.

I’m not sure whether the MS221 course texts are better than the MST121 books, or whether I’m just better at this kind of maths these days, but one way or the other I found myself actually enjoying the trig section of A3! Having a printout of the Trig Cheat Sheet from Paul Dawkins’ very useful Online Maths Notes next to me is definitely a big help, too – I’ll probably end up writing an even further reduced version of it onto some blank space in my MS221 Handbook, along with some bits of the Algebra Cheat Sheet, ready for the exam.

It’s weird, really – so far, the MS221 activities and assignment don’t seem to be designed to get us to rote-memorise the material, they seem to be more about understanding how to apply various techniques and how to choose the right approach for a particular problem. But since I’ve heard that the exam is quite a challenge to finish in the 3 hours allotted, I wonder whether it might be worth putting some revision time aside to memorise various formulas, to save time, rather than looking things up in the Handbook? I suppose doing a few practice papers will give me the answer to that – I could well end up spending September memorising stuff from flashcards…

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