## Nearly Official

Well, I received my forms for MST121 and MS221 in the post yesterday so that I may register and pay. After that I believe it is just waiting for the study materials to arrive.

Other than that, I have started studying algebra but have started to find the book I am using Algebra Demystified – A Self-Teaching Guide a little lacking in the explanations area. So I might soon switch to another book if I can find a decent one (anyone who can suggest one would be great). Although I have a feeling I am running out of time, as I need to know everything by October. So I am starting to put more effort in.

I missed studying yesterday as I was hooked watching “The Elegant Universe” which lasted three hours. It is actually a very informative documentary, and I would suggest that anyone with any interest in physics, specifically string theory have watch it.

## Um, I mean… SXP288 – Practical Science: Physics and Astronomy

Alright, thanks to David’s comments I was able to catch out a mistake and learn more about this particular “module”.

First thing is first, S288 is SXP288. This is because it appears that S288 refers to *a general* science module for The Open University, but not the individual topics. In my case, SXP288 is the more physics and astronomy orientated one. Another one for example, is SXL288 – Practical Science: Biology and Health.

According to the website, SXP288 has the option of going to Mallorca for three days. All of the other modules will last three days as well. SXG288 – Practical Science: Earth and Environment & SXE288 – Practical Science: Practical Environmental Science, will both have two residential trips lasting a total of three days each.

Now for some links:

*SXP288 – Practical Science: Physics and Astronomy**The Open University’s residential School Homepage (which does not have much information about these modules, but I thought I should include it)*

## S288 – Practical Science

Well, before I begin I would like to let you know that The Open University’s **2plus2** has officially been renamed **OpenPlus** (as I was told it would happen a few weeks back). From now on in this blog, I will call it OpenPlus.

Other than that, I have received word that the new S288 module from the Open University has a one week residential component in the Observatorio AstronĂ³mico de Mallorca (OAM)! It is exactly the same as the discontinued module SXR208 (at least this is what I was told). From what I read too, regular S288 is different from OpenPlus S288;

*“Practical Science (The 2plus2 strand of S288, which includes residential components)”.*

This will be my last module with The Open University, and I must say it is a fantastic way to end off my studies there!

## Algebra Demystified

Well, after some hunting around I decided to give Algebra Demystified (Rhonda Huettenmueller – McGraw-Hill) a go.

Only 30 pages in out of 450ish and I am already liking the way the book is set out and how everything is explained (although I have no other books to compare it with so it might not be great in comparison to other books). I am hoping that I get a good grounding using this book, but I’ll probably go through another after this one just to make sure I understood everything (and more questions never hurt anyone) and did not miss anything out.

I am unsure if I should focus on one topic at a time or cover a few, switching it up when I wish to. The way my mind is wired right now, learning a singular topic but very thoroughly is preferable (but would be better to try emulate the way I will learn at university).

No other news to report from anywhere. World of Warcraft game time ran out, and so did the addiction đŸ˜€ although I do wish that I could say the same about smoking… sigh

## Countdown to Mathematics

Just a small find that I thought I would share.

On the MST121 homepage (http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/course/mst121.htm?countryCode=EUR) at the bottom of the “Preparatory work” section there is a recommendation to go through two books before getting your revision material from the OU.

*Countdown to Mathematics: Volume 1 (1981 – L.Graham & D.Sargent – Addiso**n-Wesley)**Countdown to Mathematics: Volume 2**(1981 – L.Graham & D.Sargent – Addison-Wesley)*

Looking at the first volume’s table of contents it appears that it covers the exact same topics covered in the free Maths Skills booklet provided by The Open University. However it is the second volume that takes you a little further (covering algebra, trigonometry, etc.). Although, as I remember it, it still does not cover everything learnt in secondary school. And at the price of around Â£30.00 each it seems a little difficult to justify purchasing it (although it also has good reviews on Amazon).

So bottom line, if anyone can convince me to buy it (at the very least the second volume) I will do so.

## Maths Skills – Finished

So I have finished the Maths Skills book from The Open University. Although it is a lot shorter than I thought it was (only 139 pages, as the remaining 166 are made up of answers). All in all, i’d say the “Maths Skills” booklet very useful to keep handy. Gave me a rock solid understanding of the basics.

Now I have to either start studying from my own materials, or wait for the Revision Pack that comes with MST121. Also, they recommend that you also are familiar with the following before starting MST121:

- The arithmetic of whole numbers, decimals and fractions (including negative numbers, powers and roots).
- Algebraic manipulation, such as multiplying out brackets, factorisation of simple expressions, interpreting inequalities and solving linear and quadratic equations.
- Properties of triangles, rectangles and circles.
- The trigonometric ratios sine, cosine and tangent.
- Equations of straight lines.
- Quadratic, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric functions, and their graphs.

So if I have to wait long for the revision pack, I might just start revising some of these.

Also, for anyone wondering about MST121 and MS221, I have found a nice website that shows exactly what books are supplied with the course (although they are dated from 2007/2008 so some things might have changed).

http://www.gandraxa.com/mst121_using_mathematics.xml

http://www.gandraxa.com/ms221_exploring_mathematics.xml

## Meh…

Well, unfortunately I do not qualify for UK student prices nor any form of financial assistance (yet students from the EU do…) so I will be forced for this year to pay the full whack. I am hoping that this will change, due to the fact that I would have resided in the UK for three years as of June next year. So, fingers crossed.

Studying maths is going fine. Still on the bare basics, but I have never had such a clear understanding of them before! I have a feeling that this will greatly aid me very soon (I should be getting the MST121 preparatory stuff soon).

Also for anyone reading this blog, let me know if you want me to post my notes. It would be a great way to revise what I have learnt thus far, so I have no problem doing it.