Skills Hub

Maths, numeracy and statistics



Hello I'm Dr Hazel Cox from the University of Sussex and I'm a senior lecturer in the Chemistry department

Why numeracy is important

No mater what subject that you're doing at university basic numeracy skills is really very important. You need it in your every day life but especially so if you're a chemist. Everyone that comes to do a Chemistry degree here does my numeracy skills maths course. As a chemist you will use your maths skills every single day in the lab working out quantitative calculation to more advanced topics such as chemical thermodynamics and quantum mechanics, And to know how molecules bond you need to know a little bit of quantum mechanics, so you need to know a little bit of maths

Resources at Sussex to help you practise your maths

Maths is a skill that you can develop by practise. The more you do it the better you get at it, you've just got to keep practising and there are many different resources on the web link on the S3 website and text books where you can actually practise examples for yourself. And as I say, the more you do the more you get used to it and it becomes second nature and that's what doing maths is all about.

Get support if you're struggling

If you're struggling with your maths then there's lots of support on hand. Everyone here really, really wants to help you in one way or another and there's lots of different ways that you can get help. With every course in the sciences in Sussex there's normally a workshop attached to the lectures and during this workshop you go through recent material that you've covered in the lectures and the idea is to take the opportunity to ask questions. Both of myself and the helpers that are on hand, now these helpers are normally PhD students, called Associate Tutors, and quite often they've been through the process themselves so they know exactly what it is that you're going through and they've probably had exactly the problems that you've had. So the thing that you must do is ask questions, because as long as you ask questions then there is always some one there that is willing to help. If you get no joy there or you want to ask further questions then there are Student Mentors. Student Mentors are there to help you with any course that you're doing on your degree programme. So within Chemistry, for example, second years and third years are trained as student mentors to help first years and the third years help the second years and so forth. But of course the course tutors i.e. us, we'd love to help you as well and we're always willing to answer your questions and you can always either just email to make an appointment or knock on the door or across the university some tutors have office hours so you just need to find out when their office hour is and then you can go and ask them for help, and we really, really do want to help you because the most important thing is that you get a good degree and you enjoy your time here.

Many courses at university involve an element of maths or numeracy skills and even if you're not studying a science or maths subject, basic numeracy skills can be really helpful. Students are often worried about working with numbers. Many are concerned they will have forgotten how because they haven't done any maths since studying for GCSEs. This section of the Skills Hub will provide you with some online resources to help with:

Don't worry, you're not on your own. Lots of other students will be in the same boat as you. If you're worried, talk to your peers, you might be able to help each other. Try talking to Student Mentors who may have some subject specific tips for you.


Attend all your classes. Often you will have a specific module as part of your course to help you with specialist knowledge.


Practice. The more you practise, the more confident you become. Visit the links we have provided for resources to help you with maths, numeracy and statistics at university.


Ask for help. If you're struggling with your maths don't be shy to ask for help- try talking to your tutor or Academic Advisor.

You are only permitted to use University of Sussex approved calculators, these are listed in your Examination and Assessment Handbook.
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