Mathematics is a cummulative subject - that is one where it is important to have a good understanding of the basics before moving onto more advanced topics. Think of your studies as building a tower: without good firm foundations the higher levels are more likely to wobble and crack.
For this reason it is really important that you choose the most appropriate starting point for your studies in mathematics. Depending on the qualification you wish to pursue, you may be able to start with either MU123 or MST124, or you may not have that choice.
It is recommended that you start with Discovering mathematics (MU123) especially if it is a long time since you last studied mathematics, or if your background does not include one or more of the following:

  • an AS-level in mathematics;
  • some study at A-level mathematics (or Higher in Scotland) even if you didn’t complete your studies;
  • a relevant HNC/D;
  • an International Baccalaureate® Diploma Programme
  • confidence and fluency with most of the topics covered in MU123, including all the algebra and trigonometry.

Studying MU123 first will also enable you to build up skills, knowledge and confidence at a slower pace, regardless of how far you wish to take your studies in mathematics.
Essential mathematics 1 (MST124) would be appropriate if you already meet one or more of the above requirements.
If you are studying mathematics, statistics or economics, you will be able to choose whether to start with MU123 or MST124. Whichever you start with, your Stage 1 modules in mathematics share a common approach to mathematics and its study. There is a natural progression between the modules, with a planned development of the skills you need to acquire in order to move onto successful study at Stage 2. You can see how this progression works in qualifications in mathematics and statistics here.
In some other qualifications you will have no option but to start your mathematical study with MST124. In that case, you should do the MST124 quiz and follow the advice about how to prepare for studying MST124.
If your qualification includes MU123, you should do the MU123 quiz and follow the advice about how to prepare for studying MU123.
If you are unsure about whether to do MU123 or MST124 and you have attempted at least one quiz for each of MU123 and MST124, please contact Student Recruitment who, if necessary, will pass you on to an educational adviser.
If you have recently and successfully completed relevant University-level study elsewhere you may be eligible for Credit Transfer.