How can we harness energy from the Sun? How do race cars travel at amazing speeds? How long does it take for a rocket to reach the moon? Imagine what would happen if we didn’t have mathematics - we would never get the answers to these questions! By harnessing the power of maths, humanity has been able to solve some of the biggest puzzles and mysteries of the world. Math nurtures certain qualities such as reasoning, abstract and critical thinking, creativity, and even communication skills.
What can I do with a math degree? The importance of maths can be seen in these ways and more: we need to have mathematical knowledge in our everyday life. It comes as no surprise then, that there are those looking to pursue this intriguing field, just like yourself. But how can you best prepare for a course in mathematics? Let’s take a look at the steps that will prepare you for a math degree.
What to prepare for a degree in mathematics
Before thinking about how awesome you’ll be at answering mathematics questions correctly in university, you might want to consider the things you need to prepare for a math degree application.
- Crafting the CV: Getting into a bachelor’s degree often requires a CV, or curriculum vitae, for admission. A CV reflects your educational background, academic achievements, work experience if any, and other activities that might help your CV stand out, such as volunteer work. This document helps universities get to know you and helps them decide whether you are a good candidate for their math degree.
- Getting the relevant documents: No CV is complete without its supporting documents. This should include documents related to your personal information, grades, extra-curricular activities, and even awards or honours. If you have partaken in any exceptional activity, such as being the president of your school’s math club, be sure to attach a copy of your certificate as proof of achievement. A recommendation letter from your teacher or school counsellor could also aid in your university math application process.
- Completing the entry requirements: A math degree in Malaysia often requires you to complete a pre-university course as an entry requirement for a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. Some of the popular courses for pre-university are STPM, A-Levels, Foundation and Diploma. No one course is better than the other, but keep in mind that the entry requirements may differ depending on which pre-university course you took.
For instance, the duration of a foundation programme is usually shorter than that of STPM, but STPM might save more money since it is not as expensive as Foundation. At the same time, you’ll have more choices of universities to apply to with STPM since you can enrol in both public and private universities. However, taking a Foundation guarantees you a math degree as long as you meet the minimum passing rate - for STPM, you will need to attain better grades to get into the same math degree. Check this out for the essential subjects you need for a maths degree at university.
How to apply for a math degree
Got your CV and other documents ready? Completed your pre-university course? Well done! We can now move on to the next step: how do you apply for a degree in mathematics?
As a local student, you can pick any field in math and any Malaysian university to apply to for your math degree, and then find out where to submit your university application. An international student, on the other hand, might have some additional admission requirements, such as proof of English language proficiency. You can take an English language course such as TOEFL or IELTS to fulfil these language requirements (Superprof can bring you a private tutor for English classes, too!)
The process of applying to a university may also be different depending on whether you are applying to a public university or a private one. Most applications to public universities in Malaysia are done via UPUOnline, which is open to all Malaysian citizens. This centralised portal for all public universities in Malaysia eases the process of a math degree application as it settles not only the application submission but also processes your results, appeals if any, possible interviews and acceptance into university.
Unlike this one-stop portal for public universities, private universities in Malaysia would require you to make your math degree applications to each university, but most accept online applications. While the process may take longer than applying to a public university, it is essentially the same - submit an online math degree application, send in the relevant documents, and await your results. For private universities, it would be good to contact the university directly to ensure you meet all the requirements. You can also look here for a complete guide on studying maths after graduating from school.
Where to study mathematics in Malaysia
The next step: which university should you make your application to? This decision can be based on several factors, such as the type of math degree, location, accessibility, cost, and employability ratings. As an example, you may be attracted to a statistics course from a prestigious university, but it might not be wise to go if you’re on a tight budget. Likewise, an industrial mathematics course structure with cool math games may sound enticing, but the distance from your home may make commuting difficult.
After considering these factors, it’s time to look at which universities you can apply to. As mentioned earlier, there are private and public universities to choose from, which may have different course modules but that mostly depends on the math degree you are majoring in. The tuition fees for a degree in mathematics are relatively more costly for private universities than public ones, but public universities are usually bigger in size and have more facilities.
You can read this to find the top universities for maths degrees in Malaysia.
How can I study math in university?
You’ve made it to a math degree! You are probably feeling excited since you’ve just been accepted into a mathematics course; perhaps you are also feeling ambivalent about how to prepare yourself for studying university math. Take a look below for some tips on excelling in your math degree:
- Do lots of reading and practice: People say the key to getting good at something is to never stop practising. Much of how well you perform in your math degree relies on the effort you put into reading your books and doing practice exercises. You are going to do a lot of independent study at university too, so work out those math problems and learn how to solve complex questions as much as you can - this will really get you ahead of the rest.
- Ask for help: Do you find yourself relying on a website that answers math problems for you? Learn to rely on those around you instead - you are likely to get better grades and a healthier experience when you work with others. Other students in your course may be having a difficult time as well - therefore, having study discussions or forming study groups could help you and others get help with challenging math topics.
- Gain work experience: Another tip for excelling at your math degree is to start exploring what you might like to do upon graduation. Even if you haven’t completed your degree in mathematics, you can learn lots of valuable math skills from a part-time job or doing full-time over the semester break. Not only will the work experience enhance your resume upon graduation, but you will probably be more equipped to take on a career in maths with the work experience you’ve gained.
What is math student life like in Malaysia?
The last step in preparing for a math degree is preparing for university student life: what is it going to be like at university? For starters, you will need to consider a place to stay if you plan to be a full-time student. Most public universities offer on-campus accommodation to students, whereas the smaller campus size of private universities usually means that students will have to source out living quarters outside of campus. You may want to check out this information on studying mathematics at university.
In line with accommodation, you’ll need to put your money-managing skills to use: consider how you will manage your finances for your tuition fees, transportation fares, meal expenses, as well as your electricity and water bills if you are staying off-campus. A lot of students find it helpful to keep a daily expenses diary to keep track of their spending and to set aside some money in case of emergencies. However, student support is widely available at all universities, so you can always reach out for financial aid if needed.
At Superprof, we believe that your path to a math degree needs to start from the basics: how are you going to get good at mathematics in the first place? Luckily, you can become a terrific math solver by taking Superprof classes in maths and any related science subject! You can choose your ideal math tutor from the Superprof catalogue of tutors, and you can even look for the available tutors in your area. Learning from a physics and maths tutor can strengthen your understanding, polish your skills and boost your confidence - a wonderful recipe to kickstart your journey in a math degree.