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Math Help - How to improve math skills?

  1. #1
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    How to improve math skills?

    Hi,

    At the moment im on a first year at university(technology). Before that iv finished collage type high-school, where i had not as much math practice compared to output from common high-schools. Because of that i feel like im missing basics. Not just knowledge that i can learn but the ways "how to" and efficiency.


    Complicated and confusing question: How to solve math problems the right way.
    Details such as focus, memory management, information processing and so on. Sounds like it is stuff from computer science, but i found that managing such things consciously and understanding about the effects... helps.

    ---For example such thing as using paper to write solution as steps, i feel like it corrupts memory use and tricks "me" to relaying on written down information. On the other hand the memory cant hold much... much precise data, so the paper is a "how to solve math problems step by step way, which is displayed very clearly"

    ---Knowledge of basics. "Basics" as i interpret is is a very wide concept. Very often i can find myself in a situation where im able to get something derived... derived as im able to use basic on in to make major change to get closer to right solution. So finding way to solve problem by using standardized model ... a basic, for example logarithm base rule.

    ---The numbers. For example it is more difficult for me to do a summation with values consisting numbers .. values 3 or 7 ... it just take more time. How much i can improve "my math" by doing simple but conscious thinking (not like 2*2 problems) based arithmetic operations as training to improve feel for numeral system.

    ---Anything else You like to add.

    I realize the fact, that practice makes perfect. It is more that true ... this is way stuff works, but lets see something different from other aspect ... for example swimming. As i do it i get better as you might expect. The thing is that swimming in not very natural ... for example comparing to running. So as i do it, my stamina and strenght increases, the result is that i can pass longer distances faster. The point is that i can keep swimming for years to achieve 1000 butterfly stroke distance as it requires both stamina and form... the thing is that this stoke requires technique the most. The simplest principle reducing drag did not work as good as it did for other strokes, because synchronizing was the key that rendered common principle low usability. The point is that if i did not know "that", i could keep trying increasing freestyle stamina till limits and never achieved what i wanted. So... practice could be used the not right way ... could made things more permanent and harder to change, result could be different.

    Math... numbers, solutions and problems.

    What are your ways? How do you became as good as you are?

    Thank you in advance.
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  2. #2
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    Secondary school is an essential place to develop your foundation skills. College/University courses assume you have these skills to a certain standard.

    If you feel you may not be up to this standard then make sure you keep in touch with your lecturer/tutor during the semester.

    How to get better with numbers? Practice lots and lots. I see a strong positive correlation between hours spent and results.

    Good luck!
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  3. #3
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    pickslides, Thank you!

    I fully agree with you, Universities do assume certain level of knowledge. Before high school iv had max scores in math, at collage like high school i had more than half times less math practice than normal. Because of that my national examination score was below average. At the university iv passed math tutor class test above average. But more math is coming... and i feel like things i know are not what i like to have to go on.

    I agree with you, that practice and experience are important and lead to positive results. Still how to solve math problems the right way, how to gain "practice" effects faster and efficiently?
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by minimii View Post
    pickslides, Thank you!

    I fully agree with you, Universities do assume certain level of knowledge. Before high school iv had max scores in math, at collage like high school i had more than half times less math practice than normal. Because of that my national examination score was below average. At the university iv passed math tutor class test above average. But more math is coming... and i feel like things i know are not what i like to have to go on.

    I agree with you, that practice and experience are important and lead to positive results. Still how to solve math problems the right way, how to gain "practice" effects faster and efficiently?
    You mentioned computer science in passing; are you perhaps studying maths and comp sci concurrently? I find that working on difficult problems helps stretch my mind and enforces basics as well as introducing new ideas. For example with math/comp sci overlap I've been doing a lot on the sites Project Euler and SPOJ recently. For something purely maths, an option would be to try to solve problems from competitions like various olympiads or puzzle sites/books. Of course the learning curve can be pretty sharp. But for me it's more fun that way. May or may not work for you.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by minimii View Post
    Still how to solve math problems the right way, how to gain "practice" effects faster and efficiently?
    Sometimes there is more than one way, so read lots of worked examples from many different books, once you have found a style you can relate to stick with it.
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