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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: October 2014

Preface

Summary

The original motivation for writing this book was rather personal. The first author, in the course of his teaching career in the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics (DPMMS), University of Cambridge, and St John's College, Cambridge, had many painful experiences when good (or even brilliant) students, who were interested in the subject of mathematics and its applications and who performed well during their first academic year, stumbled or nearly failed in the exams. This led to great frustration, which was very hard to overcome in subsequent undergraduate years. A conscientious tutor is always sympathetic to such misfortunes, but even pointing out a student's obvious weaknesses (if any) does not always help. For the second author, such experiences were as a parent of a Cambridge University student rather than as a teacher.

We therefore felt that a monograph focusing on Cambridge University mathematics examination questions would be beneficial for a number of students. Given our own research and teaching backgrounds, it was natural for us to select probability and statistics as the overall topic. The obvious starting point was the first-year course in probability and the second-year course in statistics. In order to cover other courses, several further volumes will be needed; for better or worse, we have decided to embark on such a project.