Year 12 has finally come to and end and I’ll be returning to school in September as a Year 13. How odd is that? How time flies! We’ve pushed diligently on with the Further Maths course (whereas Physics has thankfully been a bit more chill) and as the academic year has winded down, it’s been harder and harder to soak in the new theory. I think you’ll agree with me that it’s a bit off-putting when you can’t answer a question even with the textbook’s in front of you.

The next few months of my life are going to be intense but I’m not overwhelmed because I have had multiple hour-long conversations with various members of the maths department at school and I’m mentally prepared. I have a plan and I’m being realistic. I know that of the six modules I took, the chances of that M2 paper dragging me down the grading system are sky-high (guaranteed 99%) and well, that’s okay. The grade doesn’t get cashed in this year as I did it the exams in Year 12 (basically, a year early) and so I can take the paper again in the coming academic year and I’m fine with that. The issue is actually my predicted grades, and so I’ve agreed to sit three mock exams in the first week back of school in September so I can basically prove to my teachers that I can do maths.

It’s a really frustrating position to be in seeing as I wanted to spend my holiday reading mathsy books and practising entrance papers but now there’s this added weight of mock papers which could make or break my predicted grade.

Speaking of reading books, I’ve been advised to read an extensive list and I’ve made a start on Polya’s “How to Solve it.” Following this, I will read “How to study for a Mathematics Degree” (I’ve ordered it so fingers crossed it’ll come soon!). Then I’ll trawl through another Martin Gardner book (I have a few of his puzzle books and they’re so clever – I thoroughly recommend you scoop one up for some rainy day fun.) The list might not actually look extensive, but for someone who prefers solving problems to reading, it is incredibly daunting. I also have to re-read this other book I wrote about on my personal statement because I can only remember the first half.

I need to read a Physics book (to slot into my personal statement which is otherwise complete, bar the 327 characters I’ve left in which to talk about this book). This needs to happen because, well, I am unable to decide what I want to do so I’m choosing to apply for three different courses. GASP. Not really. I mean I think we all saw this coming.

I need to be able to show that I have Physicsy interests and the tricky bit is that I started to seriously consider Physics late on in the year. Unlike Maths, for which I’ve tried to do as many related things as possible, all I can actually do now is read a book. Solve some puzzles. See what happens, I guess.

Through UCAS you have to make 5 applications and so I’ve decided that 3 will be for Maths, 1 for Maths and Physics and 1 for Theoretical Physics. For some reason I feel like I’ll end up doing a Physics degree. If I were offered a place for let’s say, the joint course and a single Maths course, honestly I’d firm the joint and keep Maths as my insurance. How’s that for a plot twist, folks. I’m baffled myself but I can’t deny the fact that I’d be very happy to continue having Physics in my life.

I am very curious to see what happens around this time next year. Will I be right in my prediction? Who knows!

I am excited for the future but oh wow, is it going to be hard. I’ve experienced such a big shift in my mathematical maturity and I’m now considering all sorts of options that I’d initially vetoed at the beginning of Year 12. For example, I decided that I’d only sit the MAT paper, and now I’m open to the idea of sitting STEP. I can solve problems less frantically and I’m consolidating work as I go along, by which I mean attempting textbook exercises and jumping straight into past papers. Why wait until the end of a module? This allows for more time to work through problems and go through mistakes.

MATHS IS COOL AGAIN PEOPLE AND I’M WAY MORE POSITIVE!

Physics pah I’m (still) (it’s so sad) failing at percentage uncertainties but I’m trying okay and I’ll just keep rolling with it.