How to become good at math? To help you understand science subjects and mathematics in particular, E-repetiteur shares with you this article by Lucas Williems , a 22-year-old student passionate about mathematics and programming.
Good reading to all and above all do not hesitate to put into practice the advice and tips that we give you here.
Getting good at math is the goal of many students. But before starting, let’s agree on one point: not everyone has the same facilities with mathematics. It is undeniable that some people are more made for this discipline than others. But skills are not everything , the method used when doing math is very very important.
So, for lack of being able to give you facilities in maths, I will try to bring you methods, to show you how to work maths.
Don’t learn, understand!
The first thing, I think, to get good at math is not to learn math, but to understand it ! By understanding, I mean being able to explain the reasoning.
I’ve seen too many of my classmates spend time mindlessly learning formulas, properties, theorems without understanding what they mean. This way of doing things is very inefficient because, in addition to quickly forgetting the things learned whose meaning they will not have understood, they will not know when to use them because they will not have understood what they are for.
The only way to do so is to understand : try to understand where the reasoning comes from, what it is for, how it works. Understanding may take longer than learning (in the moment anyway), but ultimately understanding is the only way to succeed in math.
In addition, you will see that it is 100 times easier to find results (formulas, etc.) that you have understood, rather than results that you have learned, because understanding reasoning means appropriating it, a little as if you were the one who found it.
The second point is to do exercises. This is the only way to see if you have understood a reasoning correctly: it allows you to use it, to appropriate it.
As I think you know how to do exercises, I will not detail this part further. However, I have a remark to make: don’t do tons and tons of exercises, it’s useless either. Stop as soon as you stop making mistakes and think you have really understood. Otherwise, if you still make mistakes, review your course and redo the exercises you didn’t get to.
Not looking at solutions
This is a really essential point ! Do not look at the solutions of the exercises, or so, only bits of solutions. Butting on a problem is the best way to retain and understand. Don’t stop looking until you get that click, that little enlightenment that allows us to solve a complicated problem.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s the solutions that I find on my own, without help, that I retain the best and that make me progress, not the solutions that are given to us.
In short, to quote Alain Connes (see the video at the end), “the only way to understand is to dry up on a problem”.
Try to show it all again
Finally, to finish, the last point consists in trying to demonstrate everything again. This is a very good way to understand the mathematical tools/concepts you are using, because too often we use mathematical formulas without even knowing why they are true and why we can use them.
Demonstrating everything will allow you, for example, to understand why good at mathand therefore to greatly consolidate your bases.
Moreover, giving demonstrations is a very good way to express and formalize one’s reasoning. It is the only way to realize if one knows, if one has acquired reasoning.
A video to sum it up
To summarize most of the points I have just mentioned, here is a short, but great video on the subject of a very great mathematician, Alain Connes , Fields Medal (equivalent to the Nobel Pri