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!

### Like this:

Like Loading...

*Related*

Hi Rob,

Well you’re not the only one who wrestled with the Part II Calculus question; I know I did! Share thoughts once the paper is published on the OU website?

MS221was actually my last course for the Maths degree. I started out to do the Diploma, then decided to do an Open Degree, and then, right at the end, switched to a Maths degree – which meant I had to “back fill” MST121 and MS221.

If you enjoyed block D then you’ll certainly enjoy M208! (Actually I did M203, but I understand M208 is very similar – thought they dropped the Geometry – shame!). M203 was definitely one of the courses I most enjoyed in my degree.

Calculus (actually Analysis) in M208 is very different from MS221. You won’t be studying more tricky ways to integrate weird functions but the whole logical foundation, particularly the idea of limits. No more hand waving to justify how adding lots of zero-area slices gives you the area under the curve.

Best of luck and thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences on MS221.

Chris

It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who had trouble with that bit of Part 2! I’ve had a fresh look at the paper now that it’s been released, and I think I’ve spotted where I went wrong with Q15(d) – if I’d used the formula (sinx)^2 = (1/2)(1-cos(2x)) to simplify the (f(x))^2 bit of the volume of revolution equation, I think things would have gone much better.

I don’t know why, but I’m rubbish at spotting situations where the double-angle and half-angle formulas would be useful, definitely something I’ll have to work on during M208!

I found part 1 of the MS221 exam very straight-forward, but I ran out of time for the second question in part 2. I did Q13 in part 2 (on conics) and had fully intended to do the calculus question, but since I only had 10 mins to spare at this point I tried to get through Q16 (proofs) as quickly as I could! Overall, it wasn’t too bad: part 1 easier than I expected and part 2 harder than I expected.

You’re braver than me for attempting the conics question – one look at that, and I ran for the hills! And I agree about the time issue, that was definitely the most time-consuming exam I’ve ever taken.

Do you have a link to the 2009 paper? I had a quick search but couldn’t find it.

It’s linked to on the “Examination Details” bit of the MS221 page in StudentHome: https://msds.open.ac.uk/students/course.aspx?c=MS221_2009B

(I initially put up the actual link to the PDF, assuming it would require an OU login to download, but apparently it doesn’t, so I’ve taken that down in case it infringes copyright.)

I’ll do mst209 first. More skills for the buck.

Just a quick word of appreciation for the blog – I’ve been studying MS221 this year and stumbled across it a while back, it’s been a good read. So, now it’s all over (for me, for a while at least*), I thought I’d say thanks. Good luck with the rest of your course.

* I study in my spare time for the ‘fun’ of it and M208/MS209 are 60 pointers, maybe just a bit too much effort.

Thanks, I’m glad you’ve found the blog interesting! And to be honest, I’m probably going to stick to 30pt courses myself once M208’s over – it’ll be nice to have some spare time again! 🙂

This, just like jimcp’s blog, has been a great read.

It’s now a month since the MS221 exam and I’m still unable to predict what I’m likely to have received.

I was sat on a 96% overall for the assignments and did all of the past papers twice, making me pretty confident of a grade one pass overall.

The reality of the exam, however, was that I ran out of time with 80% done and a definite hiccup with the proofs question.

Perhaps wrongly, I elected to do the conics question in part two and it ate about 40 minutes where I’d assumed it would be done and dusted in 20 minutes.

However, like many others, MS221 has made me realise that I have a certain passion for maths (a loathsome one at times) and, on that basis, regardless of whether I now pull out a grade two or three pass in MS221, I am signed up for M208, together with an MU120 backfill (done and waiting to send it in as the deadlines arrive).

Considering 13 months ago, I had a 23-year-old O level in maths, completing MST121 and MS221 has been a very satisfying experience.

To those contemplating doing it – go for it.

While blog comments can put many off, the reality is that the course notes build well and, given average levels of reasoning power, the student can follow pretty much all of it as long as they put the time in.

How much time was needed? In my case, I did about 8 hours a week on blocks A and B, about 16 hours a week on block C (calculus), but got block D done in no time at all – maybe 4 hours a week – and block D was fun.

Pre-exam study saw me put in maybe 20 hours a week, probably double that in the week before the exam.

But the odd thing was, none of that time was a pain – I WANTED to do it.

Maths and enjoybale in the same sentence? Hmm…

Hi guys,seems you enjoy Mths a lot.Has anyone got past M208 exam questions? Pre 2006? Also starting the course this January.Will be fun.

ooh also starting MS221 in Feb. and expecting a baby a week later!Hope to get a headstart soonish with revision questions.So hope someone will be kind enough to offer advice when I get stuck,inevitably.

This blog has really cheered me: I have only recently discovered what a joy maths can be (when it works) and while I wasn’t the strongest student on the course my marks got better as I went along. Exam pass was ok but I feel that if I had “got” the first parts of the course better the whole mark would have been higher. After havering a bit I have decided to do M208 too – I know I’ll regret not giving it a go. Not confident enough to offer maths advice – but if Imogene gets challenged with the baby may have more experience there…:-)

Yikes, doing an OU course with a new baby around sounds like very hard work indeed! Thankfully I don’t even have any pets to look after, let alone children – I’m immensely impressed with anyone who manages OU studying alongside the demands of a family!

Hi guys,

I am enjoying the time spent by myself studying m208 alongside Ms221.

I just seem to be eager to ge too far ahead with the workload that I end up skipping material and getting confused.I am just impatient but rather enjoy the challenge.

It is rather fun.Enjoying myself immensely.Aiming for a distinction so that if the worse comes to the worse I should get at least a grade 2,worse grade 3 pass.(All wishfull thinking of course).We’ll see how four kids and a husband(making 5 kids) will let me achieve that.

Watch this space.

Hi Guys I have completed my MST121 but am very nervous taking MS221 due to intergration parts. Can anyone let me have papers to see whats it like? how long the exam last for and can you take your formule booklet with you or not?

Thanks

Yes, you can take the MS221 Handbook into the exam thankfully – I would have been lost without it! The exam is three hours long, and as for past papers, there are some old ones available for free at http://open.wibble.to/ and you can buy more recent ones from the OUSA web shop. Hope that helps!