WHY, AND HOW, TO GET BETTER AT MATH (FOR ALL)
MATH IS HARD.
Ever wondered how some people can just magically multiply 42 and 64 in their heads? (If you just tried that, the answer is 2688…I did it in my head). Do you want to be one of these people? (probably not, but, trust me, this I have a point).
Unfortunately for you, math is hard (and compulsory). Fortunately for you, I am here to help you get better at it.
You may not want to get better at it, but, you have to – at least till your A-levels (sorry IB folk, you’re stuck with Math till university).
The reason is simple. No matter what you decide to pursue in life, math will follow you. From things as simple as counting money (quickly) to hard-core rocket-sciency calculus. So, if you don’t want to hold up the queue at Starbucks trying to incorrectly count your change, you’re going to need Math.
There’s no shame in not being the Einstein of Math, but, you don’t want to be the person ridiculed repeatedly for doing poorly, and striking out on your dream job because of it.
HOW DO WE GET BETTER AT IT?
So, read on and find out how YOU can learn to multiply 42 and 64 in your head, buy that drink, pass that exam and land your dream job.
Here are 7 proven strategies to get you to where you want to be:
PERFECT YOUR BASICS
Flawed fundamentals are the primary reason people find math so difficult at higher levels of study. Sometimes, to move a step forward, you have to move a few steps backwards.
For example: quick and accurate multiplication is required for algebra, which is required for quadratic equations, which is required for graphs, which is required for complex trigonometry, which is required for calculus and so on…
You learn things step by step because that’s the only way to reach the top. We can’t jump from the bottom of the staircase to the top (we aren’t frogs after all).
Perfect each level and you’ll automatically be a lot better at math already!
PATIENCE IS KEY
You can’t learn math overnight. Sometimes, it may seem like you can’t learn math at all. I’m here to tell you, you can! You’ve probably failed at doing the same types of questions repeatedly. All hope is lost.
BUT, in math, there are many, many ways to answer the same question. You get rewarded regardless of the method you choose. Some are quicker and more efficient, whereas, some are slower.
Find the method you understand best and stick to it, even if it is unique to you.
Some people learn by seeing and for them, math might be particularly difficult. However, every topic and question in math can be visualised. From Venn diagrams to vectors, everything can be drawn and visualised. As my math teacher taught me:
When is doubt, sketch it out!
A sore point for many is the lack of uses for the math they’ve learnt in the real world. However, concepts like graphs and calculus are used to predict how much money you’ll have in your savings account in 20 years, and, how fast your car can go.
Find a real world application for every topic to root your understanding.
USE A CALCULATOR
Not on a non-calculator paper, but, otherwise a calculator is your best friend! On many questions, they will save you precious minutes (even on questions you thought you couldn’t use a calculator on)
Need to solve an equation? Calculator. Need to do some trigonometry? Calculator. Need to do calculus? Calculator. That’s what it’s there for. It calculates EVERYTHING.
Although it seems all-powerful, it is just a tool. Learning to wield it is a skill itself and takes practice. There are many youtube guides on how to best use a calculator.
Algebraic equations can be graphed on a calculator and use to solve for “x” in seconds. (valid method in exams as long as you sketch the generated graph on the paper with key points labelled)
Using the calculus options yields powerful methods of solving complex calculus questions in minutes!
A calculator is your best friend. LEARN to use it wisely.
PRACTICE PAST PAPER QUESTIONS
Yes, you’ve heard it a hundred times. It’s because IT WORKS! Past paper questions are the best because they show you the kinds of questions you will experience in your exam, unlike textbooks.
Do them in timed settings ONLY when you are confident.
Ask your teacher for past paper questions and do these when CONFIDENT
HIRE A TUTOR
This is the most important strategy of them all. This is because tutors bring ALL the other strategies to the table with them, with the added benefit of being a mentor and motivator.
We’ve been through it all. We know. It’s hard. We can help.
Hire a tutor for a one step method to get better at Math!
WHAT TO DO NOW?
Time to start your math improvement journey. Everyone has it in them. Don’t let math be the thing that brings you down.
Use these 7 proven strategies for the best chance at improving your math and getting the grades you long for.
And finally, if you feel overwhelmed and like you cannot do this alone, fear not – follow rule 7 and hire a Tavistock Tutor and they’ll be your guide on this journey!
Contact Nilesh C for more information.