Many students say they hate math.
Don’t hate math!
Math can be your friend.
For one thing, math always works, if you work it well.
A. 1 + 1 always = 2
B. 5 + 8 – 3(9) – 6 x 4 always equals -38
If you “plug in” the right numbers and do the right operations, you will win!
That is a great comfort.
It means that you can get 100% on a math quiz or test. Yes – YOU!
Try to do that on an essay. It’s tough.
Numbers don’t lie That is why they can be your friend. They are reliable. (Of course, people can use numbers to help them lie. I realize that.)
Build a foundation.
Math skills are built one upon another, so starting with a strong foundation will always help you.
Trying to multiply fractions will give you a headache if you don’t know how to multiply whole numbers.
Trying to complete question B above will give you grief if you did not learn about order of operations.
Yes, it does take some time to strengthen the foundation and work your way toward the more complex questions. Unfortunately, students often find themselves in a grade that they cannot handle, and this is the frustration. They feel like they are banging their heads against the wall, working harder and harder and falling further behind. Until they have the opportunity to step back (perhaps more than a few steps) and establish that base, they will never truly grasp math. Worse, they will continue to hate it for the rest of their lives perhaps!
What a shame because…
You can conquer math. The following tips are taken from my Student Survival Guide. This free booklet is available for registering on the website. Just click on the title above.
Strategies to help you get started on your LOVE of math:
Read all explanations, directions, and examples carefully.
Take a piece of scrap paper and write out a couple of the example questions, write out each step, write out the conclusion following the example in the book. This procedure ensures that you really do know each step.
Use scrap paper to do many rough calculations.
You can always transfer your work to “show your work” once the question has been roughed out.
(If you are using a calculator, record each step on a piece of scrap as well, so you don’t lose your place within a longer question.)
Whenever possible connect new material to tasks already learned.
Keep monitoring yourself to make sure you are understanding the passages or directions and examples you just read.
Stop, re-read, self-test – as often as necessary to grasp the concepts.
Frequent reviews, while important for all academic courses, are especially important for math.
Do not skip over entire sections you don’t understand.
Mathematics tends to be cumulative (one skill built upon another), leaving out one of these building blocks will inevitably bring your entire construction down.
In other words, you will be lost when it comes to more complex math later this term or next year.
Get help if you need it.
(Watch for Discount Coupon below!)
If you are unable to “work out” the math problem using your notes and textbook, ask someone, a teacher is best.
Teachers know how they want you to approach certain tasks, so they are the best resource for explaining the procedure.
However, if the teacher is not available, a parent, another knowledgeable student, or a tutor may be able to help you.
Don’t be afraid to tell someone that you don’t understand.
Having said this, don’t give up right away. Make sure you have honestly tried to figure out the procedure. The best way to truly learn mathematics is to work with it.
Nobody simply looks at numbers and immediately grasps the concepts of algebra or geometry. You must learn to be patient and spend time with the procedures, rules, and steps.
Many students think math is boring. They think it is boring because they are trying to memorize everything rather than work with the numbers and concepts, understanding mathematics more holistically.
Try to get comfortable with math; bring it closer to you – it won’t bite. Once you see how stable and reliable it is, you might find yourself falling in love with math after all.
Next week, I will be writing Steps to Working Out a Math Problem.
As always, I am here to help. Check out the website and feel free to e-mail, ask questions, or leave a comment.
This week’s video: Don’t Hate Math!
Discount coupon on The Complete Fractions Course! (Don’t be afraid – jump right in.)