Maths is one of those subjects that garners a lot of emotion – one either loves it or hates it – with most hating it. While every student at some point in their lifetime has had to study maths, the subject always seems foreign and complicated. However, maths forms the bases of many other subjects such as Physics and Computer Science, and therefore, can be an important subject to learn.
So why do many people hate studying for maths? Mostly its because they have a lot of difficulty knowing how to learn the subject. It can be very confusing and frustrating when one studies hours for a maths test or exam and stills gets a poor grade. The trick with maths is to understand how it works rather than trying to memorize the material. Once you understand how it works, you will suddenly find that it becomes a lot easier over time.
To help you understand how maths works, try the following tips on solving maths problems:
Maths is Sequential and Cumulative
As maths is a sequential and cumulative subject, students should avoid falling behind in their classwork or their homework. There are basics to maths that need to be understood before studying more complex maths problems. For example, it is difficult to understand calculus without a strong grasp of algebra. By not falling behind in class, students can also find it easier to understand the logic to maths. By following its logic, it becomes easier to solve any problems you may face.
Do not try to Memorize Maths
Unlike theoretical subjects such as business and history, students should not attempt to memorize maths. While you may need to memorize certain formulas, it is easier to understand the process to maths. It happens often: a student studies a particular maths problem from their textbook expecting the question to be on the exam. When the professor changes the question slightly, the student is suddenly unsure how to solve the problem. By understanding the process, the student can apply the process to any math problem correctly even if the wording and numbers have been changed.
It is all about Practice
This point cannot be overstated! Maths is all about practice. The more you practice maths, the easier it becomes as a subject. You can try answering all the practice questions in your textbook or try to find some additional practice questions at your local library or online. While this can be tedious and seem like too much work, it is really the only way to properly understand the underlying dynamics of how maths works. Your homework is a good place to start practicing maths problems.
Do not skip Maths Problems
It is easy for a student to give up on a maths problem if they are stuck, and go to the next question. It is important to be persistent and try to figure out how to solve a problem before moving to the next. Sometimes, it is easier to try and ‘reverse-engineer’ a math problem if you already have the answer. Try working backwards from the answer until you figure out how the problem was originally solved. Repeat the process until you are fully confident with how to solve the problem completely.
Try Studying in a Group
Sometimes, it is easier to study in a group when you are having difficulties in a subject. Choose your group carefully, and make sure to collectively set a schedule and stick to it. Working together in a group is also an excellent way to practice your own understanding of a problem by explaining it to others.
When it comes to maths, patience is extremely important. It takes time to master the logic behind math problem solving and requires a lot of persistence. It is easy to become frustrated if your math textbook seems daunting, but by focusing on the basics of maths, you will find that the more complex problems actually start to become easier.
Ask for Help
If you are completely stuck on a particular maths problem, it is always a good idea to ask for help. This is especially beneficial in order to save time and frustration. Sometimes, having someone explain something to you will make it easier to understand the problem quickly. Remember to practice yourself as well to make sure you fully understand the problem.