What you will study
There are twelve study units in this module.
In the first unit, you’ll revise and consolidate the mathematics taught in Essential mathematics 1 (MST124).
In the remaining study units you’ll cover the following topics.
- Number theory: you’ll learn about divisibility properties of the integers. These have many practical applications, such as in cryptography.
- Conics: these are the curves obtained by slicing a cone along a plane. Their applications include modelling the motion of planets and other heavenly bodies.
- Geometric transformations: these include reflections, rotations and translations, and other similar ways of transforming geometric figures. You’ll use an algebraic approach, involving matrices and vectors.
- Mathematical language and proof: you’ll look at how mathematical results can be stated clearly, and how they can be proved to be true.
- Further calculus: you’ll extend your knowledge and skills in calculus.
- Differential equations: these are equations that involve an unknown function and one or more of its derivatives. They are used extensively in applied mathematics to model a range of situations involving quantities that change.
- Mechanics: you’ll analyse forces that act on stationary objects, and the motion of moving objects.
- Eigenvalues and eigenvectors: these are numbers and vectors associated with matrices, which arise in a range of situations in both pure and applied mathematics.
- Combinatorics: you’ll learn how to solve problems involving the positive integers, such as how many different ways there are to choose objects from a set. You’ll also study some interesting sequences of numbers, such as the Fibonacci sequence.
With a choice of three options of typesetting software, you’ll learn how to typeset mathematics.
You’ll work mainly from the module books, which are available in electronic formats as well as in print. You can view some of the worked examples in the books in an alternative video format, in which tutors work through and discuss the examples. You’ll use specially-designed software applications to help you understand the concepts taught, and the same mathematics computer package as used in Essential mathematics 1 (MST124). There are many online interactive practice questions to help you consolidate your learning.
The module includes a large amount of online study material, and requires you to use mathematical software frequently, so you’ll need regular access to a suitable personal computer.
This module builds on many of the mathematical topics covered in Essential mathematics 1 (MST124). If you have plenty of study time (at least 20 hours per week), a high level of fluency with algebraic manipulation, and a good knowledge of basic topics such as linear and quadratic graphs, linear and quadratic equations, trigonometry, indices and logarithms, it may be possible to study the two modules together. We provide a study schedule to ensure that you study each topic in this module only after you have studied the necessary preliminary topics in Essential mathematics 1 (MST124). Further information on this option is available on our MathsChoices website. If you think this option may suitable for you, please contact us to speak to our Mathematics and Statistics Student Support Team for advice before you register.
If you are considering progressing to Pure mathematics (M208) or Mathematical methods, models or modelling (MST210), normally you should have completed this module. You are more likely to complete these modules successfully if you have acquired your prerequisite knowledge through passing this OU level 1 module.
You will learn
In Essential mathematics 2, you’ll further develop your mathematical skills and begin to develop new ones:
- thinking logically about mathematical problems
- expressing problems in mathematical language
- using mathematical techniques to find solutions to problems
- communicating mathematical ideas clearly and succinctly
The practical skills listed in the ‘You will learn’ section are important for any jobs that involve the use of mathematics. In addition, you’ll develop the following skills:
- using a computer algebra system
- learning independently
This module can help you to gain membership of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA).