The US stands 38th in its ranking among the 72 countries that participated in the survey regarding the math performance of its school children. The study was conducted by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2015.
But, given the increasing importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education in the most promising careers, math certainly needs more focus.
So, as a student, one may wonder how one can get good at math?
Why is math a challenge & how to get good at math?
A lot of students find math complex, and problems hard to solve. This often leads them to lose motivation towards solving them. Has that happened to you?
The main challenges here are a lack of clarity and persistence. Once you develop the clarity about how to approach a problem and know how to solve them, you will be confident and this alone can build your interest in solving various kinds of problems. And as you work on different questions, you are likely to stumble upon the solutions and gain clarity. Thus, both of them are complementary to each other. Yes, quite like the complementary angles you studied in your Geometry class!
Do you think overcoming the challenges with math is hard? We don’t think so. There are innumerable instances of students who performed badly on this subject, but with time improved at it drastically. As a platform that enables students to learn math, we have seen many such drastic transformations. What it takes to drive such change is using the right strategies. Or sometimes, more than one strategy. While some involve a deeper and more focused approach to looking at math, some are fun like playing games to improve at math.
Let us take a look at the best ways to deal with the numbers.
1. Practice, practice, & more practice
Math is one of those subjects that relies more on practice than through memorizing. As you go about different numerical problems, you see different challenges, and opportunities to apply various formulas, math operations, rules of the PEMDAS, etc. With practice, you will be quicker to understand which rules to apply in which place. Besides, you will also become aware of the common errors you tend to make.
2. Solve questions from the previous exams
Math is a subject that builds upon previous learning. To make the most of the cumulative learning, it is ideal to have a stronghold over the fundamentals. So, if you are seeing poor scores in maths, make sure you are good with the math of the previous grade level. Solve those problems, and even work at increasing speed and accuracy at basic operations.
3. Break down problems into steps
One of the common mistakes students make when it comes to math is jumping steps. They assume things, make mental calculations, and thus arrive at inaccurate answers. To avoid this menace, try writing all the steps in the solution. And also, make calculations like larger multiplications, or subtractions over a rough sheet of paper to avoid silly mistakes.
4. Study in a group
If you can find a group of friends who are committed to getting better at math, it can be a positive experience to be a part of it. You can sit with each other and solve problems individually, help each other with problem areas, and even engage in healthy competition.
5. Rework on problems you solved incorrectly
All of us make mistakes, and we can learn from them too. This cannot be truer for math. Make a deliberate attempt to work on the problems you got wrong in the test, or even during practice. You are likely to see patterns like making errors with square roots, or forgetting to change signs when transferring a number from LHS to the RHS, etc. By becoming aware of your mistakes, you can overcome them better.
6. Apply Math to Practical Situations
You are learning math to be able to apply it to real situations, so why not start at them now? The next time you are travelling, try using geometry principles to figure out which route would be the shortest. Or the next time there is a grocery list being prepared at your home, participate by calculating how much of an item is required for a certain number of weeks.
7. Study Math LIVE 1:1 online
You perhaps know about graphs, but do you use that enough? Besides geometry, graphs can be an excellent way to understand algebra. Try that some time. Besides, you can also ask someone to draw a diagram for you while explaining, or watch an animated video when you are looking to understand concepts of trigonometry, or calculus. Do you know we teach graphs with the help of whiteboard learning? To know how whiteboard learning can help you understand better, take our demo session with whiteboard assistance:
8. Practice Mental Math
When we use a calculator often, we tend to gradually erode our capacity to perform calculations on our own. Even small additions and subtractions require us to use a calculator because we lose confidence over our ability to calculate on our own. Make a habit of making mental calculations, recalling the tables of larger numbers, etc. This will give you the mathematical sharpness.
9. Stay positive
Often when students fail the math exam or do not find solutions to problems they feel demotivated. But, it would help them to know that it is okay to fail, and then try again differently. With a positive attitude, you can focus better too.
10. Seek help from online math tutors
It is good to seek help from a knowledgeable person and get mentored. Many math helper are willing to guide students with tips to excel in the subject and provide personalized classes. Contact them 24/7 and learn the concepts, discuss your unique challenges, and ask them to provide you with the right strategy to improve at math.
If you are really interested in learning how to get good at math, you can even speak to our best math tutors and start a session to understand how seamlessly you can go from disliking math to loving it.