An analysis on why math is so hard, and what students and adults alike can do about it!
Mathematics (Photo credit: Daniel Morris)
Math? “Ugh”. “Not this again”. “I’m going to play outside”. Sound familiar? These are some of the countless phrases that students say whenever they have to do any type of math, whether they are taking a class/course or just need it for some situation in life.
In our currency society, math literacy is slowly decreasing day-by-day. Tests that typically got a score of 80% before, now only get up to 73% and 66% respectively, and that number keeps on decreasing. Soon, many students will be incapable of doing math, and as one of the founding blocks behind society’s progress, that fact alone is terribly SCARY!
So if you’re stuggling, don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. Countless kids and adults have been in your shoes, and many more will soon step into them. I’m here to offer some tips on how you can change your perspective and try to make math more entertaining for yourself so you can learn better!
Rule 1: Practice Makes Perfect
I cannot stress this enough. You probably hear it everyday, but seriously its one of the most important elements to getting math. Unless you’re some kind of prodigy, math is a continuous process and you must nurture your math skills everyday.
My tip? Go purchase a math book either at your level or a level or two higher. Practice one or two pages of questions a day, and ask for help if you’re strugging. To make it even more fun, give yourself a reward for completing each set of questions with a certain percentage. For example, get 30 min of T.V. if you score 90% on your question set.
Rule 2: You Must Go Deeper
Another reason I see people stuggling with math. All they do is memorize concepts and equations, and as soon as the teacher changes the idea or adds something slightly new, they are dumbfounded and frozen; unable to do the question.
My advice is to take the time to understand why you do something. Although this takes longer, think about it this way. In all of math from elementary schools to high school there are probably 3 pages of equations that covers every problem possible. Add another 10 for all of university. If you take the time to learn how each problem and equation works, then no matter what question you get, you’ll understand it.
My tip? Go seek help from a teacher or a classmate and ask them to explain the problems to you. You can also use the Internet, as there are many websites that have dedicated sites to teaching you certain topics, just like Algebra or Geometry.
Rule 3: “I see no use in this”
This is a phrase you should never say. Although it is true that 80% of the math you learn in upper levels will probably not see the light of day, give yourself a good mentality and figure out a use for as much math as possible.
My tip? Take what you learned, and see if you can apply it to anything in real life. For example, you learn about Quadratic Functions. Figure out what price you would have to sell candy to other students that will leave you with the most money!
Rule 4 & The Conclusion: Keep up the Pace!
Simple. Never fall behind. Always spend 30 min at least practicing problems and taking some time to understand the math. Naturally, it should sink in.
I hope these tips helped you out in some way or another. If you still see yourself struggling, don’t give up. Don’t let yourself down. Maybe you’re not fit for math, that’s fine. Just make sure to give your best shot, and to always stay positive, even within the dark, a light will shine!