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Student and tutor module reviews

Further pure mathematics

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  • Points: 60
  • Code: M303
  • Level: 3
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Student reviews

M303 is a demanding module (even for a 60 point Level 3) and you do need to be sure you will have plenty of time to study it. There are 6 tutor-marked assignments each of which take a lot of time. In addition to the normal summative questions (which count towards the assessment), each tutor-marked assignment contains a number of formative questions which help the student gain a deeper understanding of the material covered. Your tutor marks these as well, and gives feedback, but they do not count in any way towards your final grade. I thought this feature was a very good idea.

I found Book E on Fields to be the most difficult. I would suggest more examples could have been included in the text just to illuminate the considerable amount of theory that is covered. While there is plenty of help available from the excellent team of tutors, it can be helpful to have clear examples available in the text as you come to it for the first time.

With regard to the more difficult sections of the module, I found it was just a matter of persisting with the material, constantly revising, and of course making as much use as possible of the excellent tutorial resources and forums. Most of the difficult parts became clearer and sank in over time.

Some advice I would offer intending students would be acquire the past papers as they are ideal when you come to revision just before the exam. Also, keep up with the student forums as a lot of difficulties are clarified in the discussions. It is of course absolutely vital to keep up with the timetable - if you fall behind at any time I think it could be very difficult to catch up later on. The tutors are excellent and provide really good tutorials on-line which you can either watch live or catch up on later using the recordings.

In summary I am very glad I completed M303. I feel my knowledge of mathematics grew by leaps and bounds. I would recommend it to any student with an interest in the topics covered.

Brian Banfield

Course starting: October 2019

Review posted: August 2020

An intensive and tough module. I followed the OU advice and left the module till the end of my studies. Sage advice. The pace is relentless and the topics are enjoyable and engaging. My own tutor support was fantastic and extremely patient given my awkward approach to maths. The online informal sessions provided light relief all year round with indispensable advice on how to approach, dissect and understand the difficult topics from a broader point of view. A word of advice: if the going gets tough, use of an online session before tackling course material to get a kick start relived some of the pressure.
Loads of great content just waiting to be discovered with fantastic faculty support.

Overall: I thoroughly enjoyed the module, despite feeling way out of my comfort zone whilst reading in so many proofs.

Christopher O'Regan

Course starting: October 2019

Review posted: July 2020

This module is a huge step up from OU level 2 (M208). I found this module very hard to grasp just going through the material however the amount of online tutorials was helpful.
There are a lot of complex concepts to grasp and the material doesn't provide many worked examples which I found made it harder to follow.
Overall this module was okay but it takes a lot of work and I highly recommend revising the concepts from 'Pure mathematics' (M208) so you have a clear understanding before starting the module.

Course starting: October 2018

Review posted: March 2020

It is nearly 5 months since I completed 303 which was the final module for my degree. It was a very different beast from any previous Maths modules that I had completed. The downside: there is a HUGE amount of material to be covered and from about Christmas onwards it was difficult to really get your head around some of it because there always seemed to be another TMA due in just around the corner. I rather feel that it should have been formatted as two 30 point modules which would have allowed more time to get a better understanding of what was, at times, some slightly wacky stuff. I thought that some of the written teaching material was not as good as in some previous modules. Certain chapters stood out as being poorly written. That said, the online support was fantastic which brings me to the upside: the tutors were, to a man (actually mostly women), truly amazing. They operated as a team which was rather different to my previous modules where I had only really had contact with my assigned tutor. The on line tutorials (about which I had my doubts when I started) were very good and you could always revisit recordings. The interaction with tutors and other students on line meant that what could have been a very long and lonely winter sitting at my desk actually turned out to be quite sociable (as illustrated by some very upbeat sessions in the little coffee shop opposite the tutorial venue in London) and I felt that I was not alone. More face to face tutorials would have been good but I understand that the reality is that they are much more difficult to organise.
All in all, I am glad that I completed M303. Anybody who does is entitled to feel pretty proud of themselves.
PS: It helps if you like the Ukelele.

Course starting: October 2018

Review posted: November 2019

Please note

Each of the views expressed above is an individual's very particular response, largely unedited, and should be viewed with that in mind. Since modules are subject to regular updating, some of the issues identified may have already been addressed. In some instances the faculty may have provided a response to a comment. If you have a query about a particular module, please contact your Regional Centre.

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