How to Improve Mathematics?

If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.  ~John Louis von Neumann.
Most of the students do not realize the importance of mathematics and take it as a burden during studies. This is most common of all the subjects but still hated the most.
Are you the one who is having phobia and trouble with math? 
Let us try some tips to get rid of this fear from math and improve our skills related to it. 
What you have to do?
You have to watch what your teacher is doing in class – very carefully. Try to be very active in class, take all notes , list all the concepts and questions explained during lecture very carefully and write them neatly as when you will refer to them on later stage during exam you can understand easily. Always try to write the explanation of the steps with each step. Do not use your mobiles during class at all. This is really big distraction that keeps you away from learning maths. 
You need to do it all yourself – solve as much questions as possible to know about the concept and steps for the solution unless you are confident about the method. Try extra question from text book or online.
You have to explain – to your teacher about your concept when you are asked during class. Try to respond to question raised during class keeping aside all fear and hesitation of being wrong. Explain questions to friends. You will notice that your concepts are getting clear by answering every question that will be asked from you. Always look for study groups of students where you can get new concepts to solve questions and also teach them yours. 
 You have to be confident – do not hesitate to ask any question. Do not be bothered about what others will think about this question. You can learn best if you clear your confusion about problem. 
You have to understand –  each step of question and do not try to memories it.  Each concept of course should be clear before moving on next course, if you will not do so it will be hard for you to cope with concepts of coming subjects. Try to find connection between different concepts, it will be easy for you to understand by relating concepts. 
You have to call – friends or tutor in times of need. If you do not understand any problem do not waste much time on it and ask for the help of friends if they cannot help you go for a tutor. Tutor can tell you the concept very quickly that you cannot understand properly. But never leave any concept without understanding.
Remember Always what Albert Einstein said ;
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” 
Exam or Test Strategy:
Start studying math a week prior to your exam. It will help you to be well prepared by the night before exam and you can focus on revision of all the concepts, formulas and methods easily. Prepare your calculator, pencil, pen, rubber and student card a night before. Try to sleep early and after getting up have healthy breakfast and then try to revise for some hard formulae on your way to institution. Do not start writing all of the sudden after getting exam. First read exam paper carefully twice and start with the questions you are confident about. The questions that are not much clear to you highlight them and get back to them after solving rest of exam. After finishing your exam check all the questions, if you have missed some and also check answers. Do not forget to use calculator for calculations. Try to stay away from distractions during exam. 
Online Resources:
There are great number of resources online that you can check for extra help and better understanding of concepts.
Khan Academy: It has large collection of video lectures, worksheets you can easily download required thing and study.
Coursera: This website offers courses for graduate and undergraduate from well reputed universities of the world. You can register for free and develop better understanding of mathematical concepts.
MIT  open course ware (MITOCW): It has a long list of different online courses available around the world.                                             

 Always try to follow William Glasser’s results:
10% of what we READ
20% of what we HEAR
30% of what we SEE
50% of what we SEE and HEAR
70% of what is DISCUSSED with OTHERS
95% of what we TEACH TO SOMEONE ELSE
William Glasser
 I hope you can improve your mathematical skills by practicing these simple steps. All the best.
Be happy for your grades as you have worked really hard and you 
deserve it!
I hope now you believe that ” MATH IS EASY!!!”
 One of my student from department of graphic design gave me above picture with girl shouting ,” Math is very difficult”. She gave me this two years before and I still have this with me. 

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  • I have struggled a lot with math in my school and i am sad to say that I do not like math at all.. but these tips can help many

  • Anonymous

    For me, it is sometimes fine and other times difficult but enjoyable. Very useful tips 🙂 thanks for sharing. Practice is key for such a subject.

  • Some believe that Mathematics is hard but I think it just needs attention.
    Thank you Maryam for sharing your thoughts and its good that you were not bored in Math class.

  • for me mathematics is an art & it needs time , practice practice & practice till the perfection.if you learn this art you never get bored during the class.Just need to keep the intrust alive & never let any step slip, Thank for you export opinion well done

  • That is very nice.
    I believe that teaching is an art , if some one was good student it does not mean he/she can be good teacher. May be an average student become a good teacher.

  • Math was never one of my best subjects but I always wanted to do better. When I was in college I finally found a teach who really wanted to teach it so that people like me could get it. It made such a difference in my ability to learn it and understand it. Now I am able to actually understand and solve difficult problems.

  • Thanks Catarina for sharing your experience with Maths.
    Seems that you were a very hard working student. This also indicates your passion, to fight complicated problems in life. I am sure, your thoughts, approach and actions will be logical as well. I wish all students have passion like you when they solve maths. No matter which method you are following if steps are correct the answer will always be right and no one can stop grades.

  • Catarina

    When I was at school I used to find new ways of solving complicated mathematical issues. The teachers had never seen my solutions before but since they worked they had to give me high grades.

  • OOh that is so sad , I feel sorry for that. I personally believe that all the students are not on same mental level, some get new ideas very quickly some take some time.
    Many teachers are responsible for the fear of Math in minds of students.

  • I also said the math genes passed me by. I think my fear of learning math started in grade school because, unfortunately, my 8th grade teacher would literally sneer at me and others who were "slow" at getting it. He stopped short of calling us stupid but that's how we felt.

  • Hello Welli
    Thank you.
    its all about practice and hard work.
    it is not like that you will study one day before exam and you will understand. Math needs time and effort.

  • Hello William
    This is correct. I agree with you. Explaining problems also improve understanding.

  • Hello Doreen
    I feel you are not alone in saying that. This is question of more than 90% students.
    If in some point/place equations are helping but we can not know that.
    I will upload a gunny photo telling same about this point in post.

  • Thankyou kalim.
    I hope you have found these tips helpful

  • I am terrible with numbers and have been so all my life. I had trouble with math in school, but managed to pass all the classes. But I still don't understand the value of having to learn calculus and trigonometry. There is no practical application for them in everyday life.

  • Hello Lorraine
    Its nice to know that you are a mathematics teacher. Mean you were a good math teacher.
    I feel teaching math is fun. My husband is teaching computer sciences and he is always unhappy with the fact that he have to make a lot of effort every time to change and include new terminology and theories in his subjects and argues that math is always same…. Its not same but we can say formulas are same… it is fun teaching it.

  • Yes Meredith
    I feel this culture of tutoring is getting common day by day and if we do not know , we must take help from some one who really knows.

  • I agree with you Ken. Our teacher always use to emphasize that math makes minds logical and develops an mathematical thought. Truly it is related to philosophy.

  • Thank you Arleen.
    Business math is somewhat easier than calculus I feel, I have not only read but also taught both. But math is study of numbers 🙂

  • This is true that many just take it as pain with a hope to never take it again.

  • Hmm that is nice to know that you like Calculus , I am also in love with calculus than nay other subject of math

  • Great approch

  • Maths is more of a mental challenge that a real challenge for many. I mean that people, kids especially, find it hard in their minds and they shut down. Being a mentor, I have dealt with kids who are stars in maths, and I found out that the reason is because they love the subject and the teachers are "funny". Kids will be good at what they love and if its fun and this is a big point for any maths teacher. Another point is to practice maths every day. Thanks for raising this matter Anna.

  • Yes this examples depicts the time when we have studied mathematics. But time is changing and I get shocks when students can not tell what is 11×11
    So I emphasize them to use technology as they are allowed to use it in exam… Its better to use calculator and right correctly, I believe.

  • Hello Donna
    Yes that is main point,you have really summarized whole thing by saying , " Mathematics can be hard, but that doesn't mean you'll never "get it"."

  • Thank you Susan
    I really love it as you said Math was a second language at your home…. I remember one of my teacher Dr. Tariq he always used to say that Math always reshapes minds and all approaches of student studying math become mathematical towards life.
    It was nice to know that your father was HOD.

  • I will appreciate if you will mention your name but I have heard that Math is mother of sciences 🙂

  • Hello Lenie
    In mathematics rules are linked together like chain… if you miss one step you can not easily understand other formulas and concepts. You are true in saying so and mostly I have noticed this problem in students and at the end they complain that math is hard.

  • I think doing the problem, and explaining it is important. Not for tests but to learn it. If you can explain how to do something, you embed it into your memory.

  • I love math. I'm a certified Mathematics teacher, and taught it at the high school level for years. It's nice to see that you are writing about this subject. Many people hate math and experience math anxiety. Often this type of anxiety can be alleviated through simple explanations and one-on-one attention.

    The greatest compliment I had as a math teacher was when some of my students told me that they switched their classes around (at the beginning of the semester) just so that they could have ME as their teacher. 🙂

    Math is not written about enough, and awareness of math phobias is the first step to overcoming them!

  • I had such math phobia that I'm already starting to get nervous about helping my kids with their homework! I like your tip to not waste time when you don't understand a problem but get help immediately. I think that will help us in the future.

  • It's been a long time since I took a math test Andleeb, but these certainly seem like good suggestions. I think what you learn from mathmatics is not necessary how to deal with numbers but rather a way of thinking or system of logic. In a funny sort of way math is like philosophy.

  • Like anything is it how it effects you. My major was accounting so you would think I loved math. I like numbers but not math. Give me a word problem and I freeze. Great tips

  • Many people dislike math. They get through it hoping to never repeat the experience. When I homeschooled my child, she would listen to Sal Khan when she wouldn't listen to me!

  • Math was by far my least favorite subject but I was able to pass with decent grades. I was more a calculus person than algebra.

  • I went to school in NZ before calculators were allowed in the exams. That meant you better know the problem, the concept, and have the tools to solve it before exams came around. The only way to do that was to do them over and over again. Seems like too much is left up to learning the technology to solve the problem rather than solving the problem itself. Kind of like manually changing the channel on the tv with out a remote 🙂

  • Mathematics intimidates a lot of people. I liked mathematics and did well at it, so I don't have that reaction. Your tips are good. Students have the right to have questions answered and find ways to understand. Mathematics can be hard, but that doesn't mean you'll never "get it".

  • I grew up in mathematics family. My dad was the math department head at a math and science focused high school. Math in our home was a second language. That said, this really resonated with me on so many levels. Love the post Andleeb, 🙂

  • Thank you Beth.
    Its good to know that you do not feel math hard.
    I wish my students will think like this.

  • Anonymous

    Mathematics is father of sciences….n I don't understand any science…

  • Hi Andleeb – I like this information and especially where you stress to understand and not move on until you do. So often when things get difficult we tend to set them aside which just creates bigger problems later on.

  • Math isn't difficult for me but everyone has some areas that are hard. Your tips are appropriate for any subject that causes you difficulty.

  • Yes I know many have problem with maths.
    You are right, I believe what is said for math it applies to all subjects.
    I try my best in my capacity that students get and love this subject but sometimes I just want to cry myself 🙂 when all efforts are ruined. But Teaching is really an art, and it is not necessary that any gold medalist can teach you in a better way ,at times an average student can be a good teacher. I am happy for your son, but you are underestimating your mathematical capabilities i guess.

  • I, myself hated math and it was never my best subject. My son has done math that I could never in a million years do and needed it for the computer coding courses he is taking. Thankfully we could afford tutors for him, when needed, during his school years and he wasn't just passed along. Unfortunately many can not and some, not all, math teachers should not be teaching it.

  • Hello Jacquie
    But math is simple, I see many suffering from this subject but this is what I love most in my life.
    The idea of tutor is mostly common in South Asia and you will be surprised that even school going kids come back from school and run to tuition centers or wait for tutors to come at their homes to teach.
    During my study I never went to even one tutor. I am teaching from last 9 years in different universities and I have never done tuition of even a single student till now. If I will help any student who is willing to learn it will be for free , and just for few days.. never charged a single penny. I am sometimes forced a lot to do so but until now i am standing against this. As I believe after my job the time is for my family…
    What I have written was in view of general behavior, but honestly speaking I do not like home tuition stuff and will never do God Willing.
    Coursera is best.. I simply love it.

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  • You have touched on a difficult subject for so many people! Oh the dreaded math…and combined with our society, at least here in the US, to pass students on regardless of their understanding. I love the idea of tutors and keeping at it until you understand and even if you get all the way through and still don't get it…Coursera to the rescue! I have taken c=several courses online, but not math. I'll re-think that!