The MS221 exam was this afternoon, so I’m now officially done with both of this year’s courses! I think Part 1 of the exam went well, but Part 2 was a lot more challenging than I expected – I went for the “volume of revolution” question and the one involving propositional logic and proof by induction, neither of which went as well as I’d hoped. So I think I’ll be looking at a Pass 2 or maybe a Pass 3 for this exam, depending on how many silly arithmetic errors I made. Hopefully I’ll get a better grade for MS221 than for M366, at least!

I’ve really enjoyed doing MS221, and although I initially viewed it as a kind of crucible – if I survived it with decent marks, I was good enough to progress to more difficult maths courses – what it actually ended up doing was convincing me that even if I get mediocre or poor marks, I enjoy maths too much to give it up. So I guess I’ll keep going until I get to Level 3, even if I’m only barely scraping a Pass 4 by that point!

The best bit of MS221 for me was Block D, which seems kind of like a taster pack for some of the topics covered in M208. I really like working with complex numbers and groups, and the number theory and proof units were brilliant too. I struggled a bit with this block at first, which came as a shock to me (especially since I found it actually harder work than the calculus block), but despite all of that my fondest memories of MS221 are still of Block D and its many wonders.

I think the big surprise in MS221 was how much I enjoyed the calculus block. After MST121, I’d come to the conclusion that I just didn’t ‘get’ calculus, but thankfully MS221’s treatment of the topic made a lot more sense to me, and I’m now quite happy with differentiation and integration. I’m still a bit slow with integration by substitution, but hopefully next year’s course will give me more practice with both of them!

Speaking of next year’s course, I was delighted to find that the first three units of M208 are available for free on OpenLearn! I was planning to buy the books next week from the OUW site, so I could get a head start on the course, but it looks like OpenLearn has just saved me £31.97. So, I’m going to be spending the next few weeks working through the PDFs of Unit I1: Real functions and graphs. Pure mathematics, here I come!

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