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May 8th, 2016, 02:46 PM   #1
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How far could I realistically get in studying maths?

I'm 24 and dropped out of uni on mental health grounds. I have no intention of going back to do a degree or further study in an institution.

I currently do a job for 25 hours a week and have the rest of my time fairly free.

I dropped out of uni in the third year of a four year scottish maths bsc. I got the dux of my high school with the usual As throughout school, and scraped my way into BMO1 which I did poorly at, partly through lack of ability, partly through not studying too much and partly because of a difficult school life.

I own lots of maths textbooks from basic undergrad up to graduate level. How far could I get studying them and how would I go about it? Could I ever understand Wiles' proof of Fermat's last theorem fully, or is this out of the question?
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May 8th, 2016, 07:03 PM   #2
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Besides understanding Wiles' proof I'd say it's up to you. How much time are you willing to devote to your studies? Are you willing to seek outside help when (and if) necessary? Do you have a realistic, practical study plan? And so on ...
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May 8th, 2016, 07:40 PM   #3
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You can get as far as you want provided you're motivated, and willing to work hard to achieve your goals.

Which begs the question, what do you want to achieve exactly?

Understanding F.L.T and Wile's proof, while both of them incorporate a range of concepts, are rather specific things to aim for, are these things something you're interested in specifically?
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May 9th, 2016, 05:16 AM   #4
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The sky is the limit, but remember that it is much easier to achieve your goals if you set yourself realistic targets.

So... rather than try and aim for Wiles' proof and FLT, aim for something like "in 6 months time I will understand the mathematics in chapters 1, 2 and 3 of this textbook" or whatever. You can then test whether you understand the mathematics chapters by doing exam papers (past papers can be obtained online). You should also aim to do at least 10-20 of the problem questions in each section whenever questions are specified; it is much, much better to learn maths by doing questions rather than just reading the content.

If you keep going, it's only a matter of time before you can get onto Real analysis and all that crazy stuff. The trick is to keep going...

Lastly; I would maybe suggest getting private tuition. It isn't cheap, but it can work wonders for motivation and for additional advice. I used to work for a tuition company and we got a lot of students from all sorts of backgrounds and abilities. For the most part, everyone who came to see us did very well (with the exception of a very few extreme cases).

Last edited by Benit13; May 9th, 2016 at 05:19 AM.
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July 19th, 2016, 12:08 PM   #5
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I highly suggest become a "Quant" (Quantitative analyst). I was in a similar boat. Didn't move out of parent's house until I was 28. I got a Quant job with a start-up and a few stock options. Worked for peanuts for 18 months, believed in the people that founded it. They sold it 18 months later, the stock was worth millions. Now I'm trying to find the same opportunity again.
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