How to Study Maths
Mathematics is a subject that you cannot avoid. Some love it but, if we’re being honest, most people hate studying maths. The importance of maths for students has never been greater. STEM subjects are the basis for technologies of tomorrow. Most university courses include some level of maths while almost every profession uses maths in some form on a daily basis. The problem many students have is that they don’t know how to study maths to get good results.
Maths is one of those subjects which you can easily spend hours studying, but end up none the wiser. However much you have studied, if you can not solve the problem on day of the test, you are lost. Thankfully, there are some techniques for studying maths that you can do regardless of your level. You may even end up loving mathematics by the end of the blog post!
7 Tips for Maths Problem Solving
1. Practice, Practice & More Practice
It is impossible to study maths properly by just reading and listening. To study maths you have to roll up your sleeves and actually solve some problems. The more you practice answering maths problems, the better. Each problem has its own characteristics and it’s important to have solved it in numerous ways before tackling the exam. There is no escaping this reality, to do well in a Maths exam you need to have solved a LOT of mathematical problems beforehand.
2. Review Errors
When you’re practising with these problems, it’s important to work through the process for each solution. If you have made any mistakes, you should review them and understand where your problem-solving skills let you down. Understanding how you approached the problem and where you went wrong is a great way of becoming stronger and avoiding the same mistakes in the future.
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3. Master the Key Concepts
Do not try to memorise the processes. This is counter-productive. It is much better and rewarding in the long-run to focus on understanding the process and logic that is involved. This will help you understand how you should approach such problems in the future.
Remember that Maths is a sequential subject so it’s important to have a firm understanding of the key concepts that underpin a mathematical topic before moving on to work on other, more complex solutions which are based on understanding the basics.
4. Understand your Doubts
Sometimes you can get stuck trying to solve part of a maths problem and find it difficult to move on to the next stage. It’s common for many students to skip this question and continue on to the next. You should avoid doing this and instead spend time trying to understand the process of solving the problem. Once you have grasped an understanding of the initial problem, you can use this as a stepping stone to progress to the remainder of the question.
Remember: Maths requires time and patience to master.
It is a good idea to study with a friend who you can consult with and bounce ideas off when trying to solve complex problems.
5. Create a Distraction Free Study Environment
Mathematics is a subject that requires more concentration than any other. A proper study environment and a distraction free area could be the determining factor when solving complex equations or problems in geometry, algebra or trigonometry!
Studying with music can help create a relaxing atmosphere and stimulate the flow of information. Having suitable background music can foster an environment of maximum concentration. Of course, you should steer clear of Pitbull and Eminem, instrumental music is the best thing in these times.
Our blog post “Music for Studying: 10 Tips to Pick the Best Study Music” gives more advice on picking the best study music for you.
6. Create a Mathematical Dictionary
Mathematics has specific terminology with a lot of vocabulary. We suggest you create Notes or Flashcards with all the concepts, terminology and definitions you need to know. You should include their meanings, some key points and even some sample answers so you can consult them at any time and recap.
7. Apply Maths to Real World Problems
As much as possible, try to apply real-world problems when approaching maths. Maths can be very abstract sometimes so looking for a practical application can help change your perspective and assimilate ideas differently.
Probability, for example, can be used in everyday life to predict the outcome of something happening and determine whether you want to take a risk such as if you should buy a lottery ticket or gamble.
Oh and don’t forget that it’s also important to have confidence in yourself and face the exam knowing that you have prepared properly!