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Lucy Alumna Patricija Šapokaitė (MSt Pure Mathematics) helps students with their Mathematics

I studied Pure Mathematics (Part iii) at the University of Cambridge and was a member of Lucy Cavendish College. I am now a student at Technische Universität Berlin and a co-owner of the mathematical tutoring school ‘Matematikos akademija’ (translation: ‘The Academy of Mathematics’) that my friend Žygimantas and I founded. The news that about almost a third of high school students are not passing their final mathematics exam led us to believe that there is a lot of room for improving mathematical education and its accessibility to everyone. Studying at Cambridge gave me a lot of knowledge not only in Mathematics but in the way the lectures can be taught and the importance of providing all necessary equipment and help to students when they need it. I, myself, had a few private tutoring sessions that my Director of Studies arranged for me, and the impact they had on my studies was huge. Sometimes getting a few questions answered can drastically change the way you see the subject and get your studying on the right path.

We believe that most of the problems that high school students face when studying mathematics are caused by gaps from previous topics and misunderstandings of basic definitions. This is why we think it is important to always have someone you are not afraid to approach with your questions or queries.

We are now expanding our services to mathematical consultancy and have already started working with a few small companies. Our hope is to earn trust and prove the usefulness of mathematical insight when managing a business or working on projects.

Besides the reasons above, we also wanted to provide opportunities for Mathematics students to start their careers in tutoring. We dream of creating a mathematical community that would help young students to find their career path and provide mathematical research opportunities.

At this moment, all of our classes are held online. We believe that this is the best format regarding the pandemic situation and accessibility issues. We plan to always keep an online class choice since most of the tutoring schools in Lithuania are based in larger cities, and students from smaller towns do not have enough options.

Our school offers individual and group Mathematics lessons for high school and university students. We also have designed a couple of programs that focus on some specific topics and goals. 

In our programs, we combine group lectures with individual tutoring sessions to make sure that the students have a chance to ask questions and get the help they need. To do well in Mathematics, one has to understand it, and cramming formulas, which lots of high school students do, most of the time is not even necessary. One of the programs we have is designed to review all high school Mathematics topics and prepare the students for the National examination. It is an eight-week-long course in which we cover each topic by presenting and explaining the theory behind it, solving problems from previous examinations, and providing students with homework exercises that are later explained in the lectures. The length of the course structure of the course was inspired by the lectures I had in Cambridge. I believe that a rather short but intensive course is a smart choice that many students find motivating and easier to focus on. 

We also offer entirely individual tutoring where we adapt to one’s needs whether it be catching up with school classes, preparing for university exams, or looking into advanced mathematical topics. We encourage students not to leave gaps when studying mathematics, so the duration of our individual lessons starts from 30 minutes which is a cheaper option and can be used for getting help in some particular topic. Students who want longer sessions can also choose from 45, 60, and 90 minutes.

When applying to my Master’s studies at Cambridge, I was not familiar with the college system, so I did not put any college as my preference. However, I feel very lucky that I was assigned to Lucy Cavendish College because I instantly felt very welcome there. I think the best part of being a member of this college is the supportive community and friendly staff members. My Director of Studies (Dr Orsola Rath Spivack) and Tutor (Dr Eileen Nugent) were always there when I needed advice, had questions, or just wanted to talk. When I had struggles with my course, I was offered a private lesson and when I faced financial issues, I was presented bursaries I could possibly apply for. I am very grateful for all the help I got and I am sure that it had a really big impact on the quality of my studies and wellbeing.

Patricija and co-founder
Patricija with friend and co-founder Žygimantas
School mascot
Beloved mascot / head of the school - Pienė (the cat)
Center of Mathematical Sciences
The Center for Mathematical Sciences