“Divide each difficulty into as many parts as feasible and necessary to resolve it.”
Howdy there partners! I’m here today to talk to you about good ol’ humble mathematics! If math is now the ghost of functions past for you then skip this, sit back, and chillax! For the rest of us that are in the midst of the beautiful struggle I’ve compiled a list of the seven tips and tricks that have helped me get through math courses and can maybe help you too!
- Give math the time of day, and I mean everyday: We’ve all met those folks who claim they don’t have time for some very basic things like cleaning or brushing their teeth in the morning. Okay though the latter is a total hyperbole, even with busy schedules we generally do not make time for things that aren’t important to us. That being said, check your priorities and take some time to reflect how important it is to you to pass the math class and If your a STEM major then it would be wise to take your reflections a step further as you need to internalize the material for future courses. Meow that you know this is something you value proceed to the rest of the steps 🙂
- Make sure to write down the problem correctly: This may seem super obvious but you have no idea how many times I’ve been at the mere verge of pulling my hair out while struggling with a problem…only to realize I needed to swoop that x for a y!
- Review concepts before the lecture: Awww man this one is a life saver! Figuratively! Mathematics is a language, more poetic and romantic than the latin based languages. So you wanna learn it, and the way to do so is to hear it over and over again! Yay! (:0) Read the chapters before class, watch videos on the topics being covered. By doing this you are giving yourself time to process the information so by the time you sit in class and hear the information again it will serve as review (getting more out of yer time there) thus ensuring you retain the material. Also, meow that you’ve had the opportunity to look at the information you can ask questions. Personally I know I’m back in the loop when I can I ask a clarifying question or two!
- Pretty, legible, and if you dare, colorful notes: This is applicable when your writing notes on your own time (Before lecture). Certainly in class your notes may look more like code or cryptic messages and that is quite all alright so long as you can understand (and perhaps dare to go back and rewrite).
- Label everything! I’m known to occasionally label a label and there’s no shame in my game!: Labeling is really important because during a test you need to be able to not only identify what they are asking you to do but also what the operation is called. This is another item that may seem obvious here but I often find that when I talk to high schoolers about their math classes they usually can’t communicate about what they are currently working on or name basic mathematical operations.
- Make a mistake? Call yourself out, in red: Contrary to what is generally recommended for students in mathematics I use pens instead of pencils and thereby ensuring I immortalize my mistakes, muahaha. Even if you do use the handy dandy pencil the idea is that if you realize you’ve made a mistake, at least a significant one (as in not computational) writing out what you did wrong and what to do next time is a great reference to have in your notes. Its similar to the marks you get in your writing, it’s no different in mathematics 🙂 !
- Box your answer, but make sure to check before doing so: As annoying as it may seem when your professor constantly asks you to check your answer try to think about it this way…you wouldn’t go to the store and pay for your vanilla latte with a bird ($100) only to proceed to not count the change right? Right. So check that answer :). Seriously though, checking your answer is a very big deal because even when your calculation is on point you have to think conceptually to realize whether the answer even exists and depending on the problem the only way to realize that is by checking your answer!
Until next time,
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