St Andrew's Cathedral School

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Price finds his place in University mathematics


Year 12 student Samuel Price attended Macquarie University earlier this year to complete a university level mathematics subject. He achieved a high distinction and received an early offer to study at the University next year. In this interview, Samuel reflects on his experience and his plans for future study.

Firstly, how did you get involved with the program? 

Samuel Price

It was actually Mrs [Estee] Stephenson’s [Head of Gifted Education] idea. Macquarie University does this program where they allow accelerated students to sit a single University subject. They pay for it and I just needed to sit the classes online and complete the assessments. So, I decided to take part in a mathematics subject – Calculus and Linear Algebra I.

What was it like to take a University subject as a Year 12 student?

It was really weird, I definitely noticed that everyone was a lot taller. I went in to Macquarie Uni for the final test and I sat amongst the 200 or so uni students who were doing the course. That was a great experience.

One thing I also noticed is that they go through concepts a lot faster. They do offer to go slowly if anyone’s having trouble with a particular thing. But we went through content that I learnt in Year 11 over six weeks in one single hour. It’s definitely a higher standard and the responsibility is on the student to keep up with the work.

You’re in Year 12 with a lot going on already. How did you balance your school studies with your University subject? 

I had some moments where there were some school exams on at the same time and I had to really keep on top of things. It helped that I learnt some of the content for fun last year with my year 11 mathematics teacher with Mr [Kobe] Tsang.

Fortunately, I completed HSC Mathematics I and Mathematics II as accelerated subjects in year 11 so I have quite a few free periods. I used a lot of my free periods to do the work for the subject.

Congratulations on your early offer! What degree is the offer for? And what are your plans for future study?

As I understand it, it’s for any related course to the subject I did. So, I can do a science, economics or a mathematics degree. It’s a great back-up for me but I don’t think I’ll take it. My first choice is currently ANU in Canberra because they have a really good science program. I want to do an honours degree in science with a double major in computer science and micro-biology. After that, I’d look to specialise in neuroscience.

In the long-term future I’d like to work on the fusion between technology and the brain. It’s a topic  I find really interesting and there’s plenty of maths needed in that area as well.