Moving on Up: The Peer Advisors Talk About Their First Upper Division Math Class

What was your first upper div class at Cal?

 

Lakshmi: My first upper division class in general was Stat 134, but in the math department, my first were 113 and 172 (at the same time)

 

Wan: My first upper-division Math course is 110, linear algebra.

 

Winnie: My first upper division class was Math 110.

 

Which semester did you take the class?

 

Lakshmi: I took 134 my freshman spring, and 113/172 my sophomore spring.

 

Wan: I took it in my first transfer semester (Junior year).

 

Winnie: I took 110 my sophomore spring.

 

What was your experience — good? bad? terrible? why?

 

Lakshmi: They were hard. I didn’t go to school freshman fall, so freshman spring was my first semester at Cal and Stat 134 is not an easy class. Math 113/172 did not go well either. Basically I took a lot of classes without taking the not required but recommended prerequisites and it was a struggle.

 

Wan: To be honest, I really wish that I could have chosen another upper course instead. As a transfer student, I took my lower-division linear algebra 4 semesters ago at the time I took 110.

As a result, I had forgotten almost all the key materials in linear, and suddenly had to admit the proof-based linear course. It was very difficult for me to learn linear algebra in a short time. Although most students and advisors suggested me to take 110 as the first upper-division course, I think for transfer students, it depends on the sequences you choose a course. If I took lower linear and then upper linear right after, it would be much easier for me to make the transition in my first transfer semester.

 

Winnie: To me, 110 was like the second and the more difficult part of Math 54. Even though we went over similar materials in linear algebra, it was a lot more proof based. My experience with this class was a little rough because I had taken 54 three semesters ago, and I had forgotten about some materials. I wish I had reviewed 54 thoroughly before going into this class. Upper-division Math courses go fast and you are expected to have all the basic knowledge. If I had known 54 better when I started 110, I would probably have a better transition into upper division courses.

 

If you could do it again, would you have done the class at the same time. If not, what would you have taken instead?

 

Lakshmi: I think I would’ve taken Stat 134 at the same time. However, I would’ve made math 110 or 128a my first math upper division instead. 113 and 172 both had a lot of emphasis on proofs, which I found difficult because I hadn’t taken any proof intensive classes before. 110 really eased its way into proof writing, which is why I wish it had been my first upper div.

 

Wan: I recommend everyone to choose courses based on personal experience, i.e., the course makes you feel most confident and comfortable. If i had one more chance, I would have take Math 128A instead of 110. Math 128A is less proof-based compared to other upper courses. In this course, we learn how to use numerical methods to solve previous questions. So I think it is a great course to guide students into upper-division math course.

 

Winnie: I didn’t really regret taking 110 as my first upper-division courses, but I do think 128A is also another good choice when it comes to choosing the first upper-division courses. It focuses a lot more on computations, and it might be a good choice for those who know how to code (especially in Matlab).

 

Meet Your 2017-18 Peer Advisors!

We’re looking forward to a great year, and to get you acquainted with us, we thought we’d answer some introductory questions!

 

 

Question #1: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Adam: “I’m a senior double majoring in Applied Math and Econ. I’m a local, having spent my whole life in the Bay Area. I’m focusing on a profession in actuarial science and I’m preparing to take my first exam this upcoming summer. In my free time I play music with my band, even though we’re not very good we love to play.”

Eleanor: “I am a second year majoring in both Mathematics and Women’s Studies! I am quite active on campus with political issues and food justice, and like to think I offer a unique perspective on the math department and pursuing math in general, and am super enthusiastic about helping people that are passionate about math. I am originally from Colorado, so I like to spend most of my free time getting outside. If you’re looking for someone to philosophize about math and the world writ large with, I’m your gal!”

Lakshmi: “Hi! I am a rising junior majoring in Math, with a minors in Statistics and Industrial Engineering. I spend most of my time doing math and dancing, and when I’m not focusing on schoolwork I enjoy running, hiking, and being an active member of the greek community! After graduation, I hope to pursue a postgraduate degree in operations research or systems engineering. I would love to get to know you, so come by and say hi!”

Mike: “I am a third year Applied Math Major with a concentration in Data Science. I am interested in data analysis, mathematical computations, and any challenging and interesting math related issues. I am also a travel enthusiast, an amateur painter, and a very unprofessional photographer.”

Rose: “I am a fourth year student majoring in Mathematics. I spend much time dealing with math, but I also enjoy reading, baking, hiking, and learning new languages (especially natural ones). After graduation, I plan to continue my study in maths. If you have any question regarding course planning, major declaration, or preparation for standardized exams, or if you just want to chat, please feel free to come by.”

Wan: “Hello I’m a senior Applied Math major with an interest in Actuarial Science. In the very beginning I was an Arts major but eventually fascinated with math. I’ve been doing advising-related work for a few years. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, reading detective novels, and photographing. I look forward to listening to your story and helping you out in the future. Please feel free to come by with any concerns.”

Winnie: “Hello! My name is Winnie and I’m a junior. I’m majoring in Applied Math and minoring in IEOR. I’m interested in pursuing a career in data science. Outside of school, I enjoy running, traveling around the world, and learning about different cultures.”

Question #2: What has been your favorite math class at Berkeley? What has been your favorite course outside of Math?

Adam: “Math 110. My favorite course outside of the math department was physics C10, also known as physics for future presidents. This was hands down the most fun, active, and engaging class I’ve taken at Berkeley. I highly recommend it!”

Eleanor: “My favorite math course so far has been math 113. I had never really explored algebra past elementary group theory, but Professor Abbott taught the course in a way that was captivating yet accessible. That course made it clear to me that who teaches a course is just as, if not more, important than the material itself! My favorite course outside of math was Gender, Women, and Work in the GWS department. Again, a fantastic professor, and really intriguing concepts that definitely changed my perspective on the world.”

Lakshmi: “My favorite math course has been Math 172, Combinatorics. The class was structured very differently, where the textbook was just a set of problems and we constructed the theorems and proofs through those problems. The subject matter was also really interesting. Outside of math, my favorite class was definitely Industrial Engineering 151, Service Operations Design and Analysis. In it, we used math to optimize the operations of the service industry, like hospitals and banks and other service providers. It was a super cool real life application of math.”

Mike: “My favorite math class at Berkeley is Math 55, where I learned about induction, logic, and probability, things that I found really useful in my future classes. My favorite class outside of math is Data Science 100, where I was exposed to many powerful data analysis tools and techniques. One thing that I love the most about DS100 is that all the data sets in the homeworks and projects are real data obtained from various sources, and you can often find interesting and surprising patterns from analyzing these data sets.”

Rose: “My favourite maths course has been 136, incompleteness and undecidability. The course material was fun and challenging, and the fact that, after discovering the incompleteness theorems, mathematicians started studying the degree of unsolvability instead of giving up is absolutely inspiring. Outside of maths, my favourite is Greek 1, which has helped me grasp the meaning of many mathematical terms.”

Wan: “My favorite math class at Berkeley is Math 113. I took it with Dr. Smirnov, he’s funny and super helpful. Abstract algebra is not easy for sure but he made it interesting and easy to understand. Meanwhile taking me to a upper level math world with more general concepts for mathematics.”

Winnie: “My favorite math class has been Math 55. It was an interesting combination of introduction to proof, logic, and probability. It was completely different from some of the math classes that I have taken before, and it has definitely opened my eyes in different areas of math! My favorite class outside of my major is Data 8. I found it as a fun class that has the perfect mix of math, stats, and cs. All the homework, labs, projects are all real-life related, and it has sparked my interest in data science.”

Question #3: What piece of advice would you give to your first-semester-at-Berkeley self?

Adam: “I’d tell myself to take a step back from stressful moments and focus on how to improve them, rather than let them get you down. I’d tell myself to stay focused on the big picture, and enjoy each moment of life for what it is, good or bad, because in the end, it’ll all work out if you try your best.”

Eleanor: “I’d tell myself to branch out even more than I did. While I took classes in multiple departments and academically explored my passions, I didn’t do much in terms of extracurriculars and getting involved in clubs is much easier when you’re an underclassman with fewer obligations.”

Lakshmi: “I’d probably tell myself to be less critical. It’s really easy to get lost and feel like everyone understands everything and you’re the only one who doesn’t. That’s honestly almost never true. I’d also tell myself to ask dumb questions and get help when I need it. The last thing I think I’d tell myself would be to prioritize my happiness and gaining new experiences. College isn’t just about the education, its about the memories you make and self growth you experience.”

Mike: “I would tell myself to be more active to explore different opportunities and resources on campus, talk to more people and learn from their past experience, and of course, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the freshman year.”

Rose: “I’d tell myself to spend more time outdoor and put some effort into staying in contact with friends.”

Wan: “Since I was a transfer student, I have to get used to a brand new environment, I find out it’s very important that to take something I’m really interested in. In that way, I could be more confident and efficient on getting used to Cal.”

Winnie: “I would tell myself to put in more effort into exploring Cal. I feel like freshmen year was the perfect time to explore different clubs, organizations, and even classes!”

Question #4: What’s your favorite place to eat in Berkeley?

Adam: “Chez panisse. I’ve never been, but I assume it would be my favorite.”

Eleanor: “The Butcher’s Son on University Ave is the best food I’ve ever eaten. I made a point to go every week!”

Lakshmi: “Imm Thai. Literally the best thai food in Berkeley (and there’s a lot of thai food in Berkeley)”

Mike: “Aki Japanese Restaurant. Their minced pork rice is dope!”

Rose: “Wat Mongkolratanaram. Despite not being a Buddhist, I like going to this temple (or rather, its backyard) on Sunday mornings for authentic Thai food.”

Wan: “Simply bowl. I rarely eat in Berkeley, but I think poke bowl is healthy.”

Winnie: “Mount Everest! It’s a bit far but it’s definitely worth the walk.”

Insights from Transfer Students in the Department

  1. What made you want to be a math major?

Omri: “My community college calculus professor sparked my passion for math. After taking classes with him, I knew I wanted to study it as my major.”

Wan: “I am sensitive in numbers since I was very young. I like applying logics and deduction to everything in my life. Math makes me feel precise. Also in college, math courses gave me a lot of confidence.”

Wahab: “I came in intended Statistics, but after my first semester at Berkeley, the steep GPA cutoff to declare statistics made me look at math as a potential major. As I learned more about the major, I became more drawn to the idea of being a math major. In math, you get to understand why and how things work; it really makes you think about problem solving in a new way, which is why I ultimately ended up deciding to be a math major. “

 

  1. Does your academic program align with your career goals – if yes, how?

Omri: “From the start I knew I didn’t know what kind of career I wanted after college. Studying math was simply a way for me to learn something I liked that is also widely applicable.”

Wan: “I want to start a small business with my friends later. I feel like I’m gonna need lots of knowledge in math, which I can apply to accounting, data science and management.”

Wahab: “Yes. I hope to go into data science, and am taking statistics classes as part of my math degree in order to make that possible”

 

  1. What resources on campus helped with your transition?

Omri: “I went to SLC review sessions twice a week for my math 55 class, and I make an effort to make as many office hours as I can. Working with your GSI or professor during office hours is one of the best ways to learn material in my opinion.”

Wan: “ Making study groups with friends in previous colleges helped me. Also working with GSIs, telling them the trouble is helpful. Sometimes I went back to my college to talk with my professors if I felt bad.”

Wahab:  “The Student Learning Center offers adjunct courses, those really helped during my first semester. They kind of teach you the basics that the professors expect you to know already, and give you a lot of resources for the class. Office hours always help a lot. If you go in the beginning of the semester, there are usually less students there, so you get more one on one time with the professor.”

 

  1. Do you feel like you’re part of the math community at Berkeley? if so, how?

Omri: “At first I did not feel like I was part of the math community, but after taking math classes for a year now, there are kids in my classes I know and who I’ve befriended. It makes it easier to identify as a math major when you know other people like you on campus.”

Wan: “Yes. As a peer advisor, I can participate in many math relevant events and help students who have concerns in math.”

Wahab: “No because I don’t really feel like there is one, but there ought to be.”

 

  1. What advice would you give to students who are unsure about declaring?

Omri: “I say go with your gut. I knew I wanted to study math, but even though I was scared of the idea I just went with it. It is a rewarding major to say the least.”

Wan: “I would definitely suggest people choose your favorite, the one you have most interests in. If I have a chance again, I would continue studying linguistics as my second major.”

Wahab: “Definitely talk to different people in the major to see what it’s really like, I mean math seems really hard and niche but there are so many possibilities when you actually study it. Don’t let the stereotypes get in the way of studying something. Also don’t worry if you have to retake classes that you’ve already taken in community college, that doesn’t mean that you’re not cut out for the major. It’ll help you build your foundation and be better in the long run.”

 

Career Path Interview (Spring 2018, Part IV)

Interviewee: Megan

Year: Senior

What is your major (pure or applied)? If applied, what is your cluster and why did you pick it?

Applied.

Economics; I was between this and statistics and chose Econ because I’ve taken Econ classes before, and I’m interested in applying my math degree in the business world post-graduation. Also, if I’m being completely honest, I wanted to avoid having the same professor I had for stat 134 for Stat 135.

Why did you decide to study math at Berkeley?

I excelled in math through Diff Eq’s and linear algebra and enjoyed the material.

What areas of math are you interested in?

I enjoy areas of math that are more focused on application, i.e. stats, econometrics, numerical analysis. My favorite theoretical math classes were 104 and 185.

What is your opinion of the math department, in terms of resources, study aids, and community?

The math department has undoubtedly brilliant professors, but many of them are unable to effectively communicate their intelligence, which makes pursuing a bachelor in math stressful. I perhaps haven’t spent enough time seeking it out, but in my personal experience, there really isn’t a community within the math department, it is up to you to forge your own connections and relationships.

What is your plan after college?

I will be working for my family’s business. Specifically working on optimising manufacturing processes.

Do you mind sharing with us your long-term goals?

As of now, the plan is for me to eventually take over the family business, but of course that depends on a lot of other factors as well. Short term I’m just trying to pass math C103 which has no textbook, just lecture notes, keep me in your prayers.

Career Path Interview (Spring 2018, Part III)

 

Interviewee: Forest

Year: Junior

Major: Applied Math, clustered with Operations Research

1)   Why did you choose Applied Math as your major?

I was considering either applying to the college of engineering for Civil Engineering or L&S for applied math as a transfer. I ended up choosing applied math because it had fewer prerequisites and I did well in my lower division math courses.

2)   How did you figure out what cluster you wanted to study?

I was looking at all the engineering-related ones and economics, so Operations Research seemed like a nice balance.

3)   What areas of math are you interested in?

Optimization seems cool, I also like analysis so far. I’m pretty new to the major so I don’t have a clear idea of what fields are interesting.

4)   What is your plan after college?

After school, I plan to join the Army.

5)   Do you mind sharing with us your long-term career goal?

I’d like to work in Silicon Valley and be part of the next ‘Xerox’… design tablets that work underwater, etc.

Career Path Interview (Spring 2018, Part II)

Interviewee: A.Z.

Major: Applied Mathematics and Statistics

Year: Junior

 

1) What made you originally get into mathematics, and what areas did you hone in on?

A.Z: When I was a freshman, I knew nothing about what I was going to do. Math was just one of the subjects that I was familiar with. After finishing all the lower- division courses, I chose to take Math 104 as my first upper-division class and there was indeed a huge gap between it and those lower-division courses. The struggle was real but it also brought a lot of fun. I think I will just keep exploring different fields in Mathematics as an undergrad instead of focusing on a certain area.

 

2) Are you planning on graduate school once you finish at Cal?

A.Z: Yes, I plan to go to graduate school in statistics because I would like to learn more statistical skills or computer science skills and maybe go into industry later.

 

3) Have you had any math related research experience? Can you elaborate on your experience?

A.Z: Yes, I am currently doing synergy research with professor Rainer Sachs. We are analyzing cancers produced when astronauts encounter galactic cosmic rays (GCR). GCR occur almost exclusively outside of what NASA terms low earth orbit. This high energy radiation realistically cannot be shielded against. We are using in silico modeling to estimate how dangerous GCR are and modern mathematical synergy analysis to plan and interpret experiments at Brookhaven National Laboratory on the tumorigenic risk to mice of a mixed radiation field, and on the effect of such fields on cancer surrogate endpoints such as chromosome aberrations, using results of experiments on each individual radiation in the mixture.

Career Path Interview (Spring 2018, Part I)

Interviewee: H.L.
Major: Mathematics
Year: Senior

1) Why did you choose maths as your major?
H.L.: I have always been interested in numbers, patterns and how things operate. However, upon entering college, I was introduced to political science, economics, philosophy, anthropology and other subjects, which caught so much of my attention that I considered majoring in one of those fields. Nevertheless, the attention was only momentary. Mathematics remained my favorite, and was hence chosen as my major. As I advanced, mathematics grew on me, and became my ultimate intellectual pursuit.

2) What are the areas of math that you have studied?
H.L.: Like most undergraduate math students, I took courses in calculus, linear algebra, real/complex analysis, abstract algebra, topology, ordinary/partial differential equations, discrete structures, set theory, etc. In terms of more advanced materials, I studied elements of measure theory, distribution theory and probability, functional analysis, Fourier analysis, approximation theory, analysis on PDE, matrix theory, computational group theory, ring, module, field, Galois theory, elements of representation theory, categorical language, algebraic topology, homological algebra, etc. I am also introduced to other branches of mathematics including mathematical logic and differential geometry.

3) Do you have any comment on these areas?
H.L.: Given my current maturity, I may not be qualified to give any deep comment about these subjects. However, the impression I have is that many topics in analysis and abstract algebra often resort to the study of linear algebra. Just to name a few, the concept of duality is one of the principal elements in the study of module theory, which is itself a generalized study of vector space over a field. In functional analysis, which is roughly speaking the study of infinite-dimensional vector spaces equipped with topological or metric structure, whose fundamental elements also include the Riesz representation theorems and dual of Hilbert and Banach spaces. In PDE, the solvability of second-order elliptic equations is firstly established by the existence of weak solutions, which turned out to be a consequence of what is known as the Fredholm alternative given the condition of a compact linear operator involved in the partial equation. There are also other topics in algebraic analysis where application of matrix theory is ubiquitous.

4) Which area is your favourite?
H.L.: Thus far, I am mostly interested in measure theory, functional analysis, and PDE.

5) What’s you plan after college?
H.L.: I recently applied to several Ph.D. programs. I wish to pursue graduate study primarily in the area of mathematical analysis.

6) Have you ever considered working as opposed to grad school?
H.L.: I have wanted to pursue an academic career since I was in high school. However, if things do not turn out well, I am open to opportunities in math-related industries.

7) Did your math research experience affect your perspective? If so, in what way?
H.L.: My participation in summer 2017 REU at Cornell University, and in directed reading courses at Berkeley definitely helped form my perspective on mathematical research. Prior to these experiences, I did not know what a life of a researcher would entail. It was not just about learning and being exposed to a vast amount of materials relevant to the research project, but also about honing my communication skills. By frequently discussing problems and concepts that I struggled to understand with other group members, I learned how to organize and present mathematical ideas in such a way that not only my partners, but also participants working on other projects, can understand. As a result, I received intuitive feedback, which helped me form fresh insights into difficult problems. Additionally, I find it very helpful and motivating to attend graduate seminars organized by faculty members as well as graduate students at Berkeley, even though my comprehension of the presented materials may not be adequate and may even be, a lot of times, absent. However, these seminars provide intuitions in terms of how materials I learned in graduate courses are used and developed. Thereby, they portrait a clearer picture of what the disciplines look like at the forefront and how important it is to communicate with other mathematicians about new ideas on unsolved problems.

8) Do you mind sharing with us your long-term career goal?
H.L.: Upon obtaining a Ph.D degree, I hope to get a postdoctoral and then a faculty position at some research university to fulfil my dream of teaching and conducting original research in mathematics.

Studying Abroad as a Math Major

A lot of our advice here with peer advising is about how to make the best use of your time as a math major here in Berkeley, but for this blog post I thought we’d look a little past the top floors of Evans. In particular, I wanted to talk a bit about studying abroad as a math major. I’ll try to answer questions that I myself had and that I’ve encountered before. This isn’t going to be so much of a travel blog or a really detailed rundown of my time abroad but more of a general overview of what’s available for math majors at Berkeley.

 

What are my options?

I would say there are two well-traveled paths for studying abroad as a math major. The first and most intuitive is through the UC system’s study abroad programs, UCEAP (http://uc.eap.ucop.edu). This is what I ended up doing, and there are a lot of advantages to going through a system aligned with the school. The other well-known alternative is one of the two math-focused programs: Budapest Semesters in Mathematics (https://www.budapestsemesters.com) and Math in Moscow* (http://www.mccme.ru/mathinmoscow). I’m pretty sure it’s possible to go outside of these two routes, but it might make for some administrative pains and less of a support system in general. That being said, if there’s some other special program I haven’t heard of, definitely talk to staff/faculty/peer advisors about it!

 

I’m really into math…do I have to go to Budapest or Moscow?

One thing that I want to make clear: there are rigorous math classes offered through UCEAP. Just being interested in math does not mean that either BSM or MiM would be ideal for you. I personally wanted to take high level math courses and assumed by default I would end up in Moscow or Budapest, so I checked out the courses offered at each program in the past. I would encourage any interested student to do this, because it made me realize the courses at these programs didn’t really appeal to me.

With a little extra research, I was able to find programs through UCEAP that offered advanced math courses in the subjects I was interested in. You won’t be quite as immersed in math as you would at another program, but I still found the coursework engaging and challenging.

 

What was your experience like?

I ended up in Lund, Sweden, again partially because it offered courses that seemed comparable to Berkeley classes with unique topics not always available here. I also decided to go there because I had never been to Scandinavia, it seemed like an interesting place in general, and it was a convenient enough location from which I could easily visit family and travel in general. These non-academic concerns are important to keep in mind. This may seem obvious, but when you’re scrolling through the options and looking for a place with advanced math courses, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of this.

I agonized over what classes to take but I ended up with three courses. The first was on calculus of variations, a topic which is sometimes covered in Berkeley’s Math 170, but not always. It was a fun class with two large problem sets and a final presentation. I also enrolled in a Biomathematics course. It was mostly focused on applications of dynamical systems in biology, giving it a slightly different focus than Berkeley’s Math 127. There was some coding and a pretty difficult take home final, as well as an oral exam that I was pretty worried for. A week before the exam I got an email saying I did well enough to not have to take the oral exam, which was a little jarring but definitely welcome.

As you might be able to tell, the classes were way less strict on deadlines and grading than at Berkeley. I had heard this before and had thought it would reduce stress, but I ended up worrying more about my grades than usual since I didn’t really know how I was doing throughout the whole semester. This comes down to personal preference though, and I think it’s a good experience to get exposed to other ways of doing things.

Probably the bulk of my time was spent on an independent bachelor project where I worked one-on-one with a faculty member on a problem in his research, which was a great experience. I saw the option listed on the website and emailed some faculty to see if there was anything available. While it was surprisingly easy to arrange, I did run into a few administrative hiccups here and there, but the staff in general was very helpful and it worked out in the end.

 

Any general advice?

The main piece of advice I would give to people considering study abroad is to be careful but not fearful. There are a lot of forms and processes to go through to get the experience planned out and approved, and the less issues you have the better. Be especially particular if you’re trying to get major requirements satisfied abroad. That being said, don’t be afraid to go after what you’re interested in, even if there’s not really a precedent for it. Basically, go for it!

 

*For a good rundown of a Cal student’s experience in MiM, check out https://guide.math.berkeley.edu/2016/04/04/from-russia-with-love/

GRE Math Subject Test Preparation Strategies

Overview:

  • Official guide & official test practice book
  • Format:
    The test consists of one section which is 2 hours and 50 minutes long.
  • When is the test offered?
    In April, October and November each year.
    Note: The test registration deadline for the November one is usually before the time when the result of the October test comes out. So, it may be a good idea to register for both if one is in urgent need of a good score.
  • Nearest Location:
    Berkeley High.
  • Graduate programs that require GRE Math Subject Test score:
    Math & Applied Math.
  • Graduate programs for which a good Math Subject score would be helpful:
    Financial Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, etc..

Test preparation strategies:

  • START EARLY so that you will have enough time to review all the materials, and will be able to take the subject test again (which many people do) if necessary.
  • Start with a diagnostic exam: identify the topics that you are unfamiliar with, and master them.
  • Review ALL the concepts mentioned in the official guide, and relevant problem-solving techniques.
  • Practice a lot, practice often.
  • Mock exams: do the full length past exams under TIMED conditions, at a place where you are unlikely to be disturbed. (Speed matters!)
  • When practicing, mark the questions that you can’t solve even if you manage to guess the correct answer.

Test prep books:

  • Princeton Review: fairly exhaustive, but contains typos and errors.
  • Research & Education Association (REA): covers more topics than the actual test does, contains 6 practice exams, and is great for those who have a good score already but want an even better one.

Where to find past exams:

  • Google keywords like “old gre practice”, and the following forms shall be available online: Form 0568, 1268, 8767, 9367, and 9768.
    Note: If a URL is no longer valid, use the Wayback Machine to retrieve it.
  • Some are available at: http://www.wmich.edu/mathclub/gre.html (This webpage has some other information on test preparation as well.)
  • ETS has one past exam available on its website.

What if I don’t know about a certain topic yet?

  • Take a relevant course.
  • Learn the basics by reading a textbook and doing the exercises. (Here is a book-list for reference; you may search the topic in the second column.)

Other resources:

We [Lilian and Rose] are more than willing to share our Subject Test experience, and help you with your test preparation, so please come by our advising hours! Besides, I [Rose] have written up some test preparation notes for my own sake, and will gladly share them on an individual basis.

Experiences and Advice about Double/Triple Majoring

 

Hey everyone! It’s Fahad again with the peer advising blog! This week, I wanted to talk about my experiences being a Math, Computer Science, and Statistics triple major, and my recommendations for anyone who’s considering doing more than one major! If you’re wondering about my experiences, head to the next paragraph. If you’re wondering about my advice, check out the third paragraph!

I’ll start with my experiences and some of the myths I learned really weren’t true. The first thing I want to talk about, and probably the most important, is the course load and time commitments.  I will warn you, more than one major definitely takes up a significant amount of time; just fitting in the classes itself is a pain. But as a triple major, I was able to plan out a 4 year schedule in which I got to take a couple of classes for fun and stay at 4 courses per semester, and it only required me to take all technical classes two semesters and a couple of summer classes! This might seem like a lot for some people; which is why the option of taking a 5th or 6th semester exists, but at no point should you have to take 20+ grueling units for multiple semester (unless you want to!). It’s about planning correctly. Overall I’ve had a positive experience doing a triple major, and it’s because, as I’ll touch on in the next semester, I was truly interested in everything I’m studying.

So, on for some practical advice. The biggest, most important piece of advice I can give is to actually be interested in what you’re majoring in. You’re not cooler because you’re a double or triple majoring and almost no employers will bat an eye if you aren’t truly enthusiastic about everything you’re studying. Your coursework will come easier as well as either your majors will be similar and you’ll have one specific topic you’re focusing on, or your majors are very different and you’re truly passionate about everything you’re studying, making class less of a necessity and more of a fun task. For reference, when I was thinking about triple majoring, it was because I had already taken some core classes and I went through all of the department courses and listed all the classes I was interested in taking. After looking at this list, the triple major just came naturally. This is something I would definitely recommend, as you get to know whether you have enough classes you’re actually interested in. It makes the experience worth it, and much easier. College is amazing because you are not forced to take any classes, you study what you want! Take advantage of this to the fullest extent; don’t major in something just because it will look good. Do it because you like it. My second piece of advice is to use your advisors! Whether it be your peer advisors, your major advisors, or your L&S advisor, they’re a great resources in helping you plan out your schedule! They know the courses with the most workload and the relative success of previous people who might have been in your shoes before, so they know exactly how you feel and how to help you get to where you wanna be! My

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment or email me if you want to learn more, or come to my peer advising office hours! For general questions, other peer advisors also hold weekly office hours found here: https://math.berkeley.edu/programs/undergraduate/advising.