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Mathematics

  • Number of students per year: seven to nine
  • Typical offer: A*A*A or equivalent and grade 1 in STEP II and III
  • Essential subjects: Mathematics, A - Level Further Mathematics 
  • Useful subjects: Physics 

Jesus College's Fellows in Mathematics include: Professor Natalia Berloff, Dr Carola-Bibiane Schönlieb, and Dr Sebastian Andres.

Professor Berloff is Professor of Applied Mathematics at Jesus. Her research lies in the area of quantum physics. Dr Schönlieb works in the general area of applied and computational analysis, with a focus on the mathematics of inverse problems and imaging. Dr Andres specialises in probability theory and (stochastic) analysis.

In addition to our Fellows Dr Gareth Taylor teaches first and second year algebra and analysis courses.

Find out more on the University webpage.

Requirements

To be offered a place at Jesus you'll need to be very good at mathematics, passionate about the subject, and willing to work hard. It doesn't matter at all what background, school, or college you come from, or whether you play tennis or the violin.

What mathematics do I need?

A-Level Mathematics and A-Level Further Mathematics or an equivalent qualification is essential. 

If you have a choice of modules on your Mathematics course we recommend doing as much Pure Mathematics and Mechanics as possible, as these are the most useful as preparation for the Cambridge Mathematics degree. Statistics and Decision Mathematics are much less relevant.

Do I need physics?

Our course has a significant component of theoretical physics, but it's studied from a very mathematical point of view. It won't matter if you aren't taking A-Level Physics, because our courses don't assume any prior knowledge. However, if you've also not taken Mechanics in your Mathematics course we recommend doing some preparation before arriving in Cambridge.

Our offers

If you're taking A-Levels, we normally ask for A*A*A at A-Level. Our offer will normally include a grade 1 in STEP paper II and in STEP paper III.

Depending on individual circumstances we may make an A-Level applicant an offer which will be met if they acheive either A* A* A with at least grade 1 in two STEP papers or A* A* A* with at least grade 1 in one of the two STEP papers taken. 

We ask all our applicants to take a Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP), though we will try to find an alternative way of assessing potential beyond A-Level if it's not possible for you to take STEP.

We like STEP for two reasons: first, because it's a much better indicator of success in our course than any other form of assessment, and second, because preparation for STEP is very useful preparation for the course. For help with STEP, you should visit the Millennium Mathematics Project.

Many of our applicants find that little or no help with STEP is available from their school or college. We take this into account when deciding what offer to make and also whether to offer you a place even if you don't make these grades. In fact, across all the Cambridge Colleges, only about 170 out of our 250 students have two grade 1s or better in STEP.

If you're taking Scottish examinations, the International Baccalaureate, or another qualification, our conditional offer will be tailored to your particular course, and may involve STEP papers I and II instead of II and III.

Written assessment

You'll need to take STEP alongside your other exams, but there's no extra written assessment for you to do pre-application.

Interviews

You will have one interview, which will be almost entirely mathematical.

Before the interview, you will be asked to take a one-hour written test, and your answers to the problems in this test will form the basis of most of the discussion in the interview itself.

The interview will then last about 30 minutes, with two members of the Mathematics teaching staff.

The written test will consist of 6-8 questions covering a range of different areas of mathematics. You are not expected to answer all the questions in the given time. You may attempt any questions of your choice, but complete answers are preferred to fragments.

Some specimen questions are available here:

Jesus College Specimen Test

The interview and the written test help us find out if you have the potential to cope with and succeed on our rather difficult course - nothing else.

So we won't ask you why you want to study Mathematics or why you want to come to Jesus - we're just glad that you do.

You might find the STEP Support Programme (https://maths.org/step) useful to help you prepare for the written assessment.

 

Written work

You don't need to submit any written work.

Deferred and post A-Level entry

We're happy to consider deferred entry, although very few Mathematics students defer, usually less than 10 per cent across the University.

If you do defer you'll probably find that you have to spend considerable time in the months before you start at Cambridge getting back up to speed, by going back to STEP papers for example.

Find out how to apply to study at Jesus.

PDF icon Download Jesus-sample-test.pdf (116.84 KB)

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