Wilson Society


As you may know, the Mathematics A and B modules are aimed at Physical Natural Scientists.  The B course covers everything the A course does, but goes at a faster pace and therefore covers some additional topics.  Both courses are examined by the same two (non-calculator) papers, but those who did the B course will have a couple more questions to choose from.  Maths A-level is required for either course and Further Maths (at least to AS-level) is recommended.  You do not need to do the B course to do the Part 1B (second year) Maths module.


Last year I took the Maths B option, along with Physics, Chemistry and Evolution and Behaviour.  Although I enjoyed the Maths course, I’m not taking the second year Maths module.  I chose the B course as I enjoyed A-level Maths and Further Maths and I wanted to take the gamble of learning extra content in order to have a wider choice of questions on the exam.  This paid off to an extent as I answered one B course only question in my second paper.  Transferring from the B course to the A course is possible at any point in Michaelmas term (after that the courses cover some topics in a different order), but going the other way (from A to B) is trickier.  Therefore, if you are unsure which to choose I would recommend starting on the B course.


Some general advice for both courses would be to find a friend doing the other course to you and having a look at their lecture notes/practice questions, particularly for topics you’re struggling with.  Different lecturers have different ways of explaining things so this may help you understand the topic from a new perspective.  Supervisions are also an excellent opportunity to further your understanding.  I didn’t really use books when revising (I preferred my annotated lecture notes and past exam papers) but one the one I found most useful was “Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences” by M. L. Boas.  Another that I have heard follows the course well, but that I don’t have personal experience of, is “Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering” by Riley, Hobson and Bence.  Both are available in Sidney Sussex College library.


The programme specification for Maths A and B is available below.  If you have any further questions, please get in contact!


Contact Fergus: fjp27@cam.ac.uk

Maths course website: http://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergradnst