Having a basic foundation of numbers, math should be an easy subject, right? It starts out that way, but the more math concepts you discover, the harder it can get.
Math is an incredible and dynamic subject, as it can range from the simplest arithmetic equation of “1 + 1 = 2” all the way to solving interdisciplinary equations like Grover’s quantum search algorithm in physics. That’s why some feel intimidated by its complexities and, as a result, lose interest in math as their lack of confidence overwhelms them. Sixty-eight percent of students feel that without such confidence, their interest in math is deterred, preventing them from exceeding in mathematical studies.
In other words, math can be hard – but it doesn’t have to be that way. To improve your math skills, you’ll have to remember these three simple rules:
1. Focus on understanding the process – it makes a difference.
Usually, some students will rely on the memorization of steps towards the solution rather than learning the context and necessity of those steps. This is their first mistake.
When students don’t fully understand the basics towards the concept at hand, the more frustrated they’ll get when diving deeper into math and its applications. In fact, seventy-five percent of students agree that putting effort into understanding mathematical concepts rewards them in confidence and higher grades than memorizing formulas.
Yet a student’s frustration may tempt them to think, “It’s okay, I’ll just go on to the next lesson, understand that one, then come back to this one”. This thinking is particularly ineffective, as it just increases their frustration and further affects their interest and success in math. Math requires mastering of a topic before moving on to the next, as each topic utilizes the previous one and its concepts.
Essentially, learning math and its concepts is like building a chair. If you skip on instructions like putting in screws where they need to be, it’s only a matter of time before the chair collapses. Learn to master the math concept at hand, then you’ll build a strong foundation towards excelling in math and its topics.
2. Practice makes perfect.
The second rule towards improving your math skills is learning that one can’t be good at math simply by listening and absorbing information. You have to apply that information learned to the problems you’re trying to solve by practicing, which can bring you out of your comfort zone. But that’s the beauty of math; it shows you that being out of your comfort zone is the first step to progress.
To become more familiar with the topic, you have to constantly engage in the lesson and the concepts it presents, drawing connections to other concepts you’ve learned before. The more connections you link, the more “A-ha!” moments you’ll achieve.
One of the best ways to practice is by simply doing the homework assigned in class. Homework allows you to review the math material covered, reinforcing your understanding of the topic’s formulas and concepts.
To deepen your understanding of math, you can also work on additional exercises. These extra practice questions help to solidify your grasp on math concepts, challenging you with problems outside of the materials covered in class.
In any math you do, never skip the habit of writing down your thinking process. By writing down even the simplest of steps in your sequence, you can always check back on your work, easily identifying what you did right and what you did wrong. This paper trail only reinforces your understanding of the concept, as it helps internalize what the problem is and what you need to do to solve it.
3. If in doubt, seek math help.
All too often, students may not seek help when struggling with learning math concepts. It is critical that they have access to readily available help in order to improve their math skills. If you’re stuck on a problem and don’t seek help, your frustration only worsens as you try to solve it. In adulthood, people in the workforce often collaborate together to resolve problems, which is why it is necessary to instill the habit of seeking help at an early age.
There are many ways to seek math help, like looking for resources online or having a friend work with you. Tutors and after-school programs are great ways to help you improve your math skills, as you are around professionals that can answer your questions and help to explain problems. Sixty-six percent of educational professionals recommend that students, who are looking to improve their math abilities, should always ask for clarification to better understand the math involved.
As stated by Malcolm X, “[…] mathematics leaves no room for argument. If you made a mistake, that was all there was to it”. When you make a mistake and struggle to understand why, that’s when you need to seek help. Help provides a different perspective and further clarification, guiding you to the path of mathematical success.
Taking the steps towards improving your math skills, whether through practice or seeking help, inevitably gives you the confidence to master the subject and its concepts.
To help our students strengthen their math skills while prioritizing their safety, we at Math Project sought to overcome the current barriers the COVID-19 crisis has brought upon the education system. With an incredible one-hundred percent of students successfully assimilating to our cutting-edge technology, we were able to continue fostering our students’ confidence in math.
No matter the situation, we adapt to ensure your success in all mathematical endeavors – get in touch with us today.
7 Steps to Math Success – thoughtco.com
5 Tips for Improving Students’ Success in Math – edutopia.org
Top 10 Strategies to Improve Your Math Grades – mathgoodies.com
10 Tips for Math Success – education.com
Malcom X Quote – goodreads.com