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Solving the maths problem in chemistry: the impact of a pre-university maths summer school

Mathematical skills beyond that taught at GCSE level (under 16 in UK) are required to pursue a physical sciences degree in the UK. However many departments are unable to recruit sufficient students who have both the physical science and Mathematics qualification at A-level (post-16). Therefore students are admitted with GCSE Mathematics and are taught the mathematical skills during the degree course. In this paper we investigate the impact of running a pre-university mathematics summer school for students about to start a physical sciences degree who have GCSE Mathematics as their highest mathematics qualification. The students are tracked through their first two years of a UK chemistry degree. It is shown that they perform significantly better than similarly qualified students in first year physical chemistry and second year theoretical chemistry units. Reasons for these results are presented.

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