What exactly is math?

Math is a scientific discipline. It is concerned with the logic of form and quantity. Math pervades every part of our life. It serves as the foundation for everything in our daily lives, including mobile devices, computers, software, ancient and contemporary architecture, art, money, engineering, and even sports.

Since the dawn of recorded history, mathematical discovery has been at the forefront of every civilized civilization, and arithmetic has been employed by even the most primitive and oldest nations. According to mathematician Raymond L. Wilder’s book “Evolution of Mathematical Concepts,” the need for math arose as a consequence of more complex demands from civilizations throughout the globe, necessitating more sophisticated mathematical answers.

What Is the Importance of Math?

Everyone should be informed of this subject. We understand how arithmetic develops skills in children that prepare them for life, which is why math is helpful in daily life. The following are some of the most important benefits of having a solid foundation in this particular subject.

Mathematics Aids in Clear Thinking.

Studying numbers boosts the brain’s processing speed. When faced with an issue, your brain should be able to digest information quickly and provide a speedy solution. You’ll be able to deal with the stresses of everyday life without breaking down. And you’ll want to dig further into a problem before making a decision.

Excellent Career Opportunities

Employers seek to recruit individuals who are strong problem solvers. When it comes to job applications, your math abilities put you ahead of the competition. Everyone in a firm should be able to do basic arithmetic calculations, whether for financial analysis or cost estimates. The possibilities are endless. After graduating from the mathematics faculty, you may follow one of the most common math-related occupations. You must grasp dimensions and fabric pricing as a fashion designer. An architect assesses structural difficulties as well as the amount of space required for a construction.

Time Administration

Time is something that math teaches us to cherish and appreciate. You are capable of making educated decisions about how you spend your time. At work or school, you will be required to manage your time effectively at all times. It’s vital to keep it under control or to use it sparingly because if you don’t, you won’t notice how much money you’re waste on frivolous items.

Know How To Budget And Spend Money

You should be aware of insurance, mortgage payments, and tax obligations. Math is utilized in the classroom for more than simply calculating numbers. It is also relevant to financial management. Before you spend money, utilize your expertise to assess the worth of financial chances. To succeed in the real world, you must budget your money.

Why is math so important?

Math abilities are crucial for a variety of reasons.[ii] They may significantly alter your view on life, improve your brain, and assist you in achieving new objectives.

• Math improves brain capacity — Studies have revealed that persons who study math have more grey matter volume than those who do not. Math knowledge also makes it easier to link diverse parts of the brain, which improves all aspects of cognition.

• They will increase your self-confidence – One of the most essential aspects of math skills is that they may help you increase your self-confidence and believe in your own brain ability. Your whole perspective will shift if you can approach obstacles with a fresh feeling of joy and empowerment. You are up to any task that life throws at you!

• They can help you acquire a better job — Improving your cognitive abilities and self-esteem will boost your employability. Stronger math abilities can also aid you in many aspects of your job, including computer skills, bookkeeping, and scheduling. By obtaining formal math skills, you will qualify for higher-paying professions and have the courage to pursue them.

How Do You Apply Math in Your Everyday Life?

You probably recall telling your high school math instructor, “When am I ever going to utilize this stuff?!

” The answer is – rather often! Math is useful in daily life since it allows you to tally finances, enhance your intellect, and even create better desserts! Here are some examples of how math abilities might aid you in your daily life .[iii]

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Arithmetic helps you tell time — You may assume you ‘know’ the time when you look at the clock, but you’re really utilizing math to do so.

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Math may help you balance your budget — To calculate interest rates, you’ll need to apply subtraction, addition, and even percentages while preparing and balancing your budget.

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Math allows you to alter ingredients and multiply quantities to guarantee that your next batch of cookies or pan of lasagne is ideal.

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Arithmetic improves your analytical thinking abilities – By exercising your brain muscles with math, you really enhance your capacity to do analytical thinking tasks and reasoning more readily.

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Arithmetic can help you travel – While traveling throughout the globe, you will need to apply your math abilities in a variety of situations. For example, you’ll need to calculate lengthy driving or rail distances, create a budget, and, most significantly, exchange currencies. If your arithmetic abilities are strong, you’ll have an even better experience traveling across the world.

Before moving on to the next topic, be sure you understand the one you’re on.

Math is comparable to reading in that if you don’t know how your letter sounds, you won’t be able to pronounce words and therefore won’t be able to read a phrase or a sentence.

Because each subject builds on the one before it, all math courses are taught in a certain sequence. If you’re having trouble with a certain topic, work on it until you understand it and can solve it. Don’t skim through different subjects since it will impede your development.

Watch video courses, participate in math conversations, perform sample assignments, or even buy a series of books demonstrating alternative problem-solving methods. But don’t go on to the next subject if you’re still confused about the current one. If you do, you will get much more agitated and will almost likely lose hope.

Be Math-Skilled!

Knowing how to use basic arithmetic is essential for daily life, future careers, and job chances. Significant research on one’s capacity to build mathematical abilities shows that it is the same as any other talent one is capable of acquiring, so don’t give up if you find the topic difficult.

Here are some helpful hints and methods to help you flourish in math:

1. Dissect Complicated Issues

There is always a simpler solution to a problem. Identify conceptual frameworks, isolate them, and practice solving the unknown to get to the core of any hard arithmetic issue. Attempt to simplify words by reducing them to their most basic form.

For example, if you need to measure an angle, seek for the simplest way to do it. When the right procedures are used, measuring the value of an angle inside a triangle is simple. You’ll be able to uncover an unidentified variable utilizing right angles, supplementary angles, and complimentary angles after you’ve mastered the technique of seeking the unknown.

2. Learn Basic Math Skills

Basic arithmetic abilities include calculations using numbers, sizes, or other measurements. These abilities include essentials such as addition and subtraction, as well as more complex mathematical concepts based on them. Good mathematics ability can assist you not just in school but also in daily life.

The following are examples of fundamental math skills:

Subtraction, addition, multiplication, and division

To answer a math problem, you must first comprehend these four operations. To do any math-related task, you must be able to mentally add, subtract, multiply, and divide basic integers.

Decimals and fractions

Decimals are parts of whole numbers, while fractions are numerical representations of decimals. When introducing fractions, it’s vital to start with lesser numbers, such as 1/4, and to stick to the ratios (1:4, 1:25). Learning how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions is a great approach to enhance your mathematics skills.

Percentage

It’s a percentage of the total or a specific number per 100. This is utilized for doing tasks such as calculating the discount, nutrition value, sales tax, interest rate on your bank savings, and more.

Data visual representation

Numbers are often presented in a variety of formats to aid comprehension. Basic math abilities are required to understand and analyze trends. It is critical to be able to read trend lines, data points, and axes in order to have a better understanding of the underlying data. It will also let you create graphs and charts, making it simpler to explain your thoughts.

Unknown Problem Solving

Knowing the value of an unknown variable is a typical math issue. In other words, if Juan has to earn USD$600 this month and receives USD$20 for walking a dog for one of his neighbors, he’ll have USD$800 at the end of the month. He’d be inspired to calculate out how many walks it would take to earn the required quantity of money. In the lack of more complex mathematics, Juan may devise a simple approach to get the unknown variable in this equation (20x = 600) and then solve for it. Similarly, the cross-product of two fractions may be used to determine an unknown number in a percentage. To retrieve the variable’s value, you must first isolate it from other quantities. A proportion calculator might be a useful tool for determining an unknown number in a percentage.

3. Before moving on to the next topic, be sure you understand the one you’re on.

Math is comparable to reading in that if you don’t know how your letter sounds, you won’t be able to pronounce words and therefore won’t be able to read a phrase or a sentence. Because each subject builds on the one before it, all math courses are taught in a certain sequence. If you’re having trouble with a certain topic, work on it until you understand it and can solve it. Don’t skim through different subjects since it will impede your development. Watch video courses, participate in math conversations, perform sample assignments, or even buy a series of books demonstrating alternative problem-solving methods. But don’t go on to the next subject if you’re still confused about the current one. If you do, you will get much more agitated and will almost likely lose hope.

4. Understand the Importance of Number Sense

To learn an idea, many individuals remember math. This might also imply that they will be able to remember the multiplication table. However, if you have a sudden spike of worry while taking an exam, you may forget all you’ve previously remembered.

Instead, having a firm knowledge of number sense is more useful. For example, you may use 108 to figure out what 89% is. Because you’re looking for groups of eight rather than 10, subtracting eight from 80 yields 72.

If you’ve honed your number sense, you may utilize it to simplify calculations and acquire confidence in handling similar problems in the future. With excellent number sense, you can determine if an answer is acceptable and establish answers before utilizing calculation.

5. Maintain A Consistent And Regular Practice

Another advice for improving your arithmetic abilities is to practice as much as possible. This implies you must spend some time each day tackling arithmetic problems. The more you practice, the more proficient you will become.

If you’re struggling with arithmetic in school, you may seek additional assistance by speaking with a teacher, searching for free online math tutoring services, or enrolling in functional math training classes. Math tutors can teach you how to break down complicated equations and solve issues.

6. Create a Routine

To improve your arithmetic skills, develop a routine for completing problems and learning the topic. When you learn how to solve, it gets simpler to solve the same problem the following time. In the long term, this will save you time and effort. This is particularly true when dealing with a major issue.

If you can get into a solid rhythm with your math studies, you won’t have to worry about repeating the same issue since you already know how to do it. As you repeated particular issues, you’d observe patterns and tendencies.

7. Concentrate on Learning New Concepts

You may memorize equations and rules to solve mathematical problems, but it doesn’t mean you understand the ideas underlying what you’re doing. As a consequence, it becomes more difficult to solve problems and learn new things. The more time you devote to studying new topics, the better your math abilities will become.

Starting with additional arithmetic tasks right soon may lead to frustration and misunderstanding. Always pay attention in courses or math tutorials and search for the most basic math elements and formulae that can aid you in your study.

It is also strongly advised that you spend time mastering math problems provided by your teachers before completing any assignments. Learning this will allow you to completely grasp everything you’ve learnt.

8. Make a Math Practice Test

Math study sessions should include problem solving and measuring one’s learning via examples and practice questions.

Using practice examinations to learn math is the most effective method. Simulate a future examination, or gather previous practice questions and create a mock exam for you to complete. This will allow you to practice answering actual test questions in advance.

9. Make a note of each math step.

The majority of individuals will attempt to answer arithmetic problems in their heads. Complicated arithmetic issues, on the other hand, would include combing through several types of data and making numerous deductions before arriving at a solution. Trying to complete everything at once might lead to confusion and frustration.

Work through a math issue step by step while writing it down to help you along the way. As you progress, this strategy will be beneficial as you work through more complex arithmetic problems, allowing you to go step by step. If you make a mistake, you may review your steps to learn from them.

10. Mental Math Practice

In certain cases, mental calculation skill provides significant benefits. Mental arithmetic strengthens the brain. The use of a number to measure your surroundings helps both rational and intuitive thinking. Practicing mental calculations can help you strengthen your foundation and obtain a better comprehension of more challenging ideas.

Calculating how much to tip a server at a restaurant, for example, is a straightforward arithmetic problem that many people are unable to handle without the help of a calculator. You may save time in situations like these by training your brain to solve basic arithmetic questions.

Keep in mind that mental math is not the same as remembering mathematical knowledge such as multiplication tables. It is simplified by a foundation of memorized answers to fundamental arithmetic problems, but executing it in your brain requires both acquired information and manipulation of numbers and operations. This combination of talent and memory allows you to tackle considerably more complex issues than easily learned facts.

11. Download Beneficial Math Apps

There is an unmistakable link between arithmetic and technology. Using the correct learning tools and programs is one method to ensure you perform well in arithmetic. Given that many people are already attached to their phones, it seems to reason that they would want to use a math software that teaches them.

Many popular math apps are available for download on the iPhone and Android operating systems. Take advantage of free math applications as you gain confidence in your abilities and practice the fundamental concepts in your spare time. Furthermore, these platforms are useful since the majority of them give solutions to issues.

12. Apply Math Problems to Real-World Issues

Apply arithmetic to real-world problems to make it more relevant. Some individuals see arithmetic as both abstract and disconnected to reality. Even if this is true to some degree, it does not have to be interpreted in this manner. For example, the Pythagorean Theorem deals with the interactions between different-sized shapes, so consider applying it to common situations involving triangles. Improve your arithmetic abilities by finding out how to use what you study in your daily life.

13. Consider Taking Private Math Lessons.

Math tutoring may also help you comprehend many subjects in greater detail. For example, some students who fail may fail to see that the underlying issue is a lack of basic ideas. With the help of a tutor, one will be able to see how numerous subjects are connected to one another. This will assist individuals increase their mathematical comprehension, making their abilities more efficient.

Math might be difficult enough on its own, but with the help of an expert math tutor, you’ll be able to study at your own pace. So, if you struggle with arithmetic, private math tutoring may give you with the tools you need to succeed. Whether you’re seeking for a strategy to boost your competitiveness or just want to have access to the skills you need to succeed, private math tutoring may help.

10 Math Success Strategies

1.

Complete all of your assignment. Never consider schoolwork to be a choice. It is the primary method through which students practice and learn the topics given in class. Set a consistent time and location for completing homework so that it seems routine.

2.

Strive not to skip class. Every day, a new idea is introduced in math class. What pupils do now contributes to what they will do tomorrow. Absences in math are punished; in order to stay up, students must find time to return and study what they missed. So, if you need to make an optional appointment, avoid scheduling it during math.

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Make a study partner out of a buddy. We all have genuine reasons for being absent. So locate a buddy who will take excellent notes while you’re away and will contact you that night to catch you up on your homework. This is wonderful preparation for the real world, where healthy connections are essential for success. It’s a good idea to form a study group in more advanced subjects to prepare for examinations.

4.

Make a good impression on the instructor. High school instructors might have up to 175 pupils, so it’s critical to stand out. Introduce yourself during the first week of school. Inform your instructor that you are interested in her lesson and grateful for the chance to learn. In order to demonstrate that you are paying attention, ask questions. Parents should identify themselves as well, either by e-mail or during Back-to-School Night. Teachers react best to pupils who have an interest in the lesson.

5.

Analyze and comprehend each blunder. Our society has grown perfectionist, and it’s tempting to overlook our flaws. Students want to forget about a mistake they made on homework or an exam. However, it is critical to correct errors and understand why they occurred; otherwise, we are destined to repeat them. Take the time to find out why you made a mistake and how to do it correctly. If you’re unsure, ask the instructor. In advanced levels, writing a paragraph of reflection on why mistakes were committed might be beneficial.

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Get assistance right now. If a student becomes aware that something is tough, he should seek as much assistance as possible as soon as feasible. Teachers are highly accommodating to requests for additional assistance. Clear up any misconceptions before they become a problem.

7.

Don’t swallow your inquiries. We learn via the medium of questions. Ask it if you have one. Many of your kids are probably asking the same question. It will assist you, your students, and the instructor if you say it aloud. Asking excellent questions is a life skill that may be practiced at school. The more we inquire, the simpler it becomes. A competent teacher will treat all queries with respect. If your instructor makes you feel embarrassed for asking a question, speak to your parents and have them inform the administration; this is a significant issue.

8.

Basic abilities are required. How much is 9 times 7? Students must be able to answer this properly in their sleep in order to be successful. Most high school arithmetic problems are based on multiplication tables. If your youngster is unfamiliar with them, have them practice! Create flash cards, invest in a computer software, and practice, practice, practice.

9.

Algebra I is required. Algebra I abilities are essential for further math courses. Students must grasp abilities such as solving systems of equations, graphing, slope, and radical simplification. Students should not be pushed to take Algebra I unless their instructor feels they are ready. If their Algebra mark is less than a C, they should seriously consider retaking the course. Even in Calculus, most problems include one tough step followed by 10 Algebra stages.

10.

Recognize what the calculator is doing. It is not enough for kids to know how to operate the calculator; they must also understand what the result implies. They should constantly ask themselves what the calculator is doing for them and study the calculator’s response. For example, if the instructor asks for “the square of negative three,” many pupils would write “-32,” which results in the response “-9,” whereas the correct answer is “(-3)2,” or 9. Students should experiment with their calculators to get acquainted with how they operate.

How to Improve Your Math Skills

1. Brush up on fundamental math ideas to help with more complicated arithmetic problems:

Math may be a difficult subject, particularly if you don’t understand some of the basic ideas. Because more complicated mathematical concepts are built on more basic ones, it’s a good idea to go over any concepts or ideas that aren’t immediately evident until they are. For example, brush up on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

2. Attend every math class to prevent losing out on vital information:

It is tough to enhance your math abilities if you miss classes. You will miss out on critical knowledge if you skip class, and your math talents will stagnate. Math concepts and skills are cumulative, so what you learn in week 5 of the semester builds on what you learned in week 4. However, if you missed classes during week 4, you may struggle to understand the concepts offered in later weeks.

See also: How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence and the Advantages of Doing So.

3. Pay close attention in class to increase your comprehension of mathematical topics:

If you’re a student, paying attention and focusing throughout your teacher’s lectures during math class may help you progress rapidly. Any questions, equations, or figures created on the board by the teacher should also be noted down. They will come in helpful if you get stuck working on math assignments outside of class.

4. Pay attentive attention in class to improve your understanding of mathematical topics:

Paying attention and focusing throughout your teacher’s lectures during math class may help you grow more quickly. Any questions, equations, or figures that the teacher creates on the board should also be written down. They’ll come in handy if you get stuck working on math homework outside of class.

See also: How to Become an Excellent Teacher.

5. If you’re having problems with the homework, ask your math instructor for help:

If you have any questions regarding the mathematics you’re learning, see your instructor first. If you’re confused or don’t understand what your teacher is saying, raise your hand and ask a question. In reality, you are probably not the only one who is puzzled, and your query will be appreciated by your peers.

How to Become a Math Prodigy

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How to Study Mathematics

1. Examine the notes you took in class on math:

Your detailed notes will be meaningless if you never refer to them! Re-read the notes you took during the last math class for 10–15 minutes before beginning your assignment or tackling a few arithmetic problems. This can help you recall how to solve an equation or calculate a variable and prevent any possible misunderstandings.

2. Complete all of the problems on all of your math assignments:

Instead of seeing math homework as a nuisance, think of it as a chance to improve your arithmetic skills on your own! To that end, be ensure that you finish all of the concerns on each assignment. If you’re not sure how to tackle a problem or believe it’s beyond your abilities, go to your teacher after class and ask for help.

Also see: How to Read and Understand More Quickly

3. Do extra challenges on your own to master difficult topics:

After you’ve finished the assigned homework problems, try working on some extra ones in a math area that you’re struggling with. After you’ve finished 3–5 more problems, compare your results to those in the back of the book. If one of your answers is incorrect, check through your work and figure out where you went wrong. Working on extra problems is a great way to improve your arithmetic skills.

4. Divide complex problems into smaller, more manageable chunks:

This is an excellent method for rapidly grasping complicated mathematics ideas that may look intimidating or unreachable at first. Even the most difficult math problems are composed of several basic, easy-to-solve component steps. After you figure out what those phases are and how to manage them individually, you’ll be well on your way to effectively tackling the larger issue.

Also see: Countries with the World’s Best Education Systems

5. Work through these practice problems and compare your answer to the provided result:

If you want to improve your math abilities but are experiencing difficulty with a certain kind of problem, try working over some of the example equations given in your math textbook. Compare your step-by-step process to the one outlined in the book. Determine your mistakes and make the appropriate modifications.

6. Explain difficult concepts to your classmates to help them understand the arithmetic:

It’s an excellent way to improve your understanding of a subject by teaching it to others. You’ll need to put your math skills into words and find out how to break down large, complicated concepts into smaller, more digestible bits of information. If you’re having problems expressing anything, consult your textbook or ask your instructor for help.

Also see: Countries with the most valuable currencies in the world

7. Apply math ideas to real-world issues to make them more accessible:

Math might look abstract at times, as if it has no link to reality. This, however, is not always the case. Find ways to connect what you’re learning with your daily life in order to improve your math skills. The Pythagorean Theorem, for example, is concerned with the correlations between different sizes of shapes.

8. It is a good idea to work with a tutor for one-on-one instruction and mentoring:

If you’re still struggling with math, you might think about hiring a tutor who can work with you one-on-one. One-on-one learning is usually beneficial since the instructor can answer all of your questions and tailor their teaching style to your learning preferences. The tutor can also explain concepts in a manner that makes sense to you, as well as give helpful suggestions on how to make math easier to learn.

The Key to Becoming a Good Mathematician

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How to Prepare for Math Exams and Tests

1. Study for 3–4 days ahead of time for an impending test or exam:

If your teacher informs you that an exam is approaching, do not cram the night before. Set up 60 minutes each day to study for the exam. Examine your important in-class notes and reread the book chapters you’ll be graded on to identify which flaws to avoid. If you have time, you may also utilize flashcards to test yourself or form an impromptu study group with your friends.

2. Study in a group of peers to help each other out with arithmetic:

Study groups are a wonderful way to prepare for a test and enhance your overall math abilities. They let you and your classmates to ask each other questions regarding topics that are confusing you, as well as study material that will be addressed on a future test or exam. Consider using flashcards to help you learn or collaborate on difficult problems.

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3. To do well in exams, keep your calm and pay attention:

Many individuals experience anxiety or fear before math tests. Unfortunately, feeling this way may impair your performance and result in a worse math grade. Take a deep breath before entering the classroom to stay calm. If you begin to feel tense throughout the test, get up, stretch your legs, and take a 2–3-minute break to relax.

Secrets to excelling in math

There is a widespread perception that Asians are innately talented in mathematics.

In the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tables — an international study that assesses education systems globally – Asian nations such as Singapore and Japan score first and second in math proficiency, whereas Australia ranks about 12th.

What is the key to excelling at math? Is your intelligence innate, or the product of a lot of hard work?

To better understand the reasons for exceptional math performance, I traveled to Japan to observe how Japanese children can mentally multiply three- or four-digit numbers together.

In Japan, how are youngsters taught math?

All Japanese youngsters are taught the times table jingle kuku from the age of 7 or 8.

“Ku” is the Japanese word for “nine,” and the title mirrors the jingle’s concluding phrase, “nine nine (is) eight-one.”

Children are taught the jingle by rote and are expected to repeat it quickly in class and at home.

Local contests put second-graders against one another to determine who can rap all 81 lines of the kuku the fastest.

It takes a lot of practice with a stopwatch to do this right. Because of the continual link between the issue and the proper solution, the youngster ultimately knows the answer to the problem as soon as they see it.

According to popular science writer Alex Bellos, Japanese adults know that 7×7=49 not because they know the math, but because the music of “seven seven forty-nine” sounds right.

The abacus is used to teach arithmetic. Reuters/Issei Kato

Some Japanese students also participate in after-school math programs. In May, I visited a Tokyo school that specializes in abacus training for elementary and secondary school pupils. This was one of approximately 20,000 independent schools operating throughout Japan.

Students begin by learning how to perform arithmetic calculations using a physical abacus. They next advance to utilizing the mental abacus by visualizing the beads moving.

Children at the abacus school devote an incredible one to two hours on two to four afternoons each week to speed math exercises on pre-set worksheets.

This is in addition to the Japanese government’s weekly allocation of four 45-minute math sessions.

After a few years at the school, the top pupils can mentally multiply seven- and eight-digit figures quicker than Australian youngsters can verbalize the answer to 7×8.

Why are Australian schools opposed to rote learning?

Despite these Japanese children’s outstanding performance, the aggressive “drill and kill” technique utilized by abacus schools is criticised in places like as Australia, where instructors specifically prohibit such practice.

In Victoria, schools have lately been urged to recycle textbooks and obsolete worksheets, instructors have been discouraged from teaching mathematical formula, and youngsters have been advised against memorizing times tables.

These guidelines are based on the beliefs of American psychologist Jerome Bruner, who maintained that infants learn best when they actively explore things for themselves.

Since then, rote learning systems in which youngsters spend the majority of their time memorizing information, following prescribed formulas, and performing exercises have been largely seen as contributing little to profound comprehension of mathematics.

However, studies show that memorization and rote learning are still useful classroom strategies.

Children cannot appreciate the relationship between mathematical concepts, according to cognitive psychologist Daniel Willingham, if all of their mental resources are used to perform simple arithmetic operations.

As problems become more difficult, practice and rote learning are essential for speeding up some of these operations and making them automatic. This allows the child to focus more of their cognitive resources on higher-level comprehension.

Unfortunately, repetition is not always enjoyable.

One reason educators avoid rote learning techniques is that they reduce children’s engagement and motivation.

The determination to succeed

However, Japanese students at the abacus school enjoy performing calculations quickly.

Children in Japan compete to move beads on the abacus. Reuters/Issei Kato

Many people consider mental calculation to be a sport and compete in local, regional, and national contests. These are not only for lads. While in Japan, I competed in a regional tournament for young girls.

This contrasts with a growing avoidance of competition in Australia, where youngsters are shielded from both the reality of failure and the benefits of achievement.

In the junior Australian Football League, for example, children under the age of ten now play football with no points, scoreboards, awards, or recognition of individual performance.

When these objective performance criteria are removed, children have nothing to aspire towards.

When passion produces talent

Stars are created rather than born. According to research, becoming an expert in a particular field requires at least 10,000 hours of intense training. Mathematical high performers put in the hours because they are driven to succeed.

However, deliberate practice is difficult. My findings in Japan reveal that Japanese youngsters utilize competition to drive their enthusiasm for math, from quicker kuku recitation times to ever longer mental arithmetic tasks.

In Australia, such competition does not exist.

While discovery-based math instruction is more enjoyable, it is also less effective at producing fast and accurate performance at an elite level.

How can we persuade Australians to share the Asian passion for competitive mathematics?

In March, the Chinese television game show Super Brain drew 22 million viewers as competitors competed to answer increasingly tough math questions.

Given the recent success of The Great Australian Spelling Bee in rekindling interest in spelling, maybe The Great Australian Times Tables is what we need today to push youngsters to reach the same levels of arithmetic ability as our Asian neighbors.

Exam Hints in Mathematics

Math is one of the most stressful tests. It will always be difficult, no matter what level you are at. Despite this, Maths is one of those exams that we like to study for because it’s past paper after past paper and you can get into a good routine and pattern. If you’re worried about your Maths test, the Atomi Maths team has put together a few insider advice on how to best rise to the difficulties given by your Maths exam in a few of days.

1. Budgeting time

The first thing to handle in your Maths test is determining how much time to devote to each question. If your test is 100 minutes long and you have 100 marks on the paper, you should spend no more than a minute on each mark.

It can be difficult to leave a question unfinished, but taking too long costs you marks elsewhere. It may be painful to move on, but remember that staying put is considerably more expensive. There is no sense in spending 6 minutes to obtain 2 more marks when those 6 minutes might be used to gain 6 points elsewhere on the paper. You must prioritize and adhere to the time constraints you establish for yourself.

P.S. Work this out before beginning the exam.

2. Read the most difficult questions first.

Our attention and ability to concentrate on difficult issues deteriorate during a test. With that in mind, there is much to be done about mentally strategizing responses to the paper’s most difficult, mark-heavy questions throughout your reading period (Usually the last couple of questions of the paper).

Best case scenario, you devise an answer to a question and hammer it out as soon as writing time begins. Even if the answer isn’t immediately obvious, familiarizing yourself with the more difficult questions means you’ll have a head start when it comes time to answer them.

3. Before you write, think about the answer.

Before you begin writing, consider the best technique for answering a question. ‘I have two known sides, one angle opposite a known side, and I need to discover the unknown angle opposite the other known side,’ for example. The sine rule may be used to solve this.’

It may seem straightforward, but you’re more likely to identify flaws in your approach if you thought it out thoroughly before diving into writing it. A few moments at the beginning of your question to ensure you know where you’re headed will go a long way toward protecting you from getting lost along the route.

It’s also a good idea to make a brief dot-point description of the approach you’re planning to use. If you get lost in your workout, you can always go back and recall, “Oh yes, I’m attempting to fulfill the sine rule right now.”

4. Create a diagram wherever possible.

Even if the question does not specifically ask for it, drawing a diagram has a number of advantages. It enables you to see the major characteristics of a query as well as the missing part that we must locate. It puts all of the pertinent information on the page rather than requiring you to keep it all in your head. It also often enables you to physically draw out the path to addressing a question.

While it is not always feasible or desired – a one-mark, quick algebra question usually does not need a whole graph – bringing out the diagram move might occasionally be exactly the correct move to solve a hard topic.

As an added bonus, the markers are sometimes used to actually mark the diagrams, so if you have information on there, it’s not a waste of time.

5. Outline the logic of your operations.

You may believe that it is unnecessary, but it is always a good idea to build your solution from the ground up. Draw a diagram, define any unknowns, state a formula, or identify what you need to solve the problem, and then demonstrate your work step by step.

This not only helps you frame your response, but it also allows the marker to see your stream of thinking.

In the case that your solution is wrong, you’re more likely to obtain partial points for working if the marker can understand precisely what each “x” and “y” signifies, and how you approached the issue. Even if you don’t, sketching out your responses helps your teacher see the path to handing you a grade.

The more work you get out of your thoughts and onto the paper, the more likely it is that the marker will give you more marks!

6. Use caution while rounding and converting units.

Giving the answer in the requested form is an avoidable but very common error. Typically, a question will indicate how many decimal places the answer should be rounded to; after you’ve typed your answer, return to the question to see that what you’ve written fits what was requested. When I initially read the question, I used to highlight the section of the question that taught me how to offer my response, so that I not only read it but could readily go back to it when required.

The same logic holds true for the units in use. There is no more disheartening method to lose marks than simply forgetting to include the units at the end of a number. Tell the marker if you’re calculating time, distance, speed, money, or anything else.

If you frequently fall into this trap, keep your units in your calculations – the extra time spent writing “cm” on every line will be worth the mark you save when it’s included in your answer.

7. At the end, double-check your work.

Rarely will anybody be completely certain of every answer they wrote in their Maths test. Highlight the questions you were most doubtful about, and if you have any extra time at the conclusion of the test, utilize it to go back and make sure you gave your best possible response.

This may consume all of your test time, but if it doesn’t, another smart strategy is to double-check as many of your numbers as possible. When using a calculator, shaky or sweaty hands may occasionally transform a 5 into a 3, or an addition sign into a multiplication sign. Going through each sum again weeds out these little inaccuracies and prevents you from wasting marks.