I’ve been a bit lax with the studying over the last couple of weeks, but there’s only so many days I can spend on comic books and videogames, so this week I’ve been trying to get a head start on M208 using the OpenLearn materials.

I’m about halfway through Unit I1: Real functions and graphs at the moment, and I’m really enjoying it so far. It starts with a fairly gentle refresher about the graph-sketching strategy covered in MS221, and then goes on to expand the strategy so that we can sketch composite and hybrid functions. This leads to some weird and wonderful graphs, like the graph of xcosx and (sinx)/x.

I was a bit worried at first that the introductory block of M208 would just be composed of material we’d already covered in MS221, to make sure that all the incoming students were up to speed on the same topics, but there’s definitely enough new stuff to keep me interested, at least so far. I’m particularly intrigued by the idea of ‘jumps’ and ‘corners’ in graphs, like the ‘hole’ at x = 0 in sinx/x. Apparently we’re going to look at these jumps and corners in more detail in the Analysis blocks, so I’m looking forward to that very much!

But that’s way in the future, I reckon we probably won’t be doing the Analysis units until spring/summer next year – I’ve got four units of group theory, and five units of linear algebra to get through first. This winter is going to be mathtastic!