“Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.” - Albert Einstein
As Einstein said, there’s always a maths problem more complicated than yours. Galileo had to fight with the Church over whether or not the Earth revolved around the Sun. This, like many other discoveries, required a sound knowledge of maths.
You mightn’t need to understand maths to this extent. A lot of people can find maths really challenging and think it's only useful for students studying the sciences or maths.
However, maths can be a very useful skill outside of the classroom whether you’re looking for work as an accountant, trying to work out how to save money at the supermarket, or when you have to divide the bill at the end of a meal.
Maths teaches us how to deal with numbers, how to calculate and figure out a number of problems that occur in everyday life when it comes to anything numerical.
Do you still have nightmares about long division or the times tables?
Do you panic when you hear “quadratic equations”?
How can you gain a mastery of maths about losing your mind?
In this article, we’re going to explain some of the tricks and techniques you should use to figure out what maths is all about. It's much easier when you think about maths as a useful and logical system of skills that can teach you how to solve so many problems without any difficulty.
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Is Studying Maths Easy?
It’s true that maths is often thought of as one of the most complicated subjects you’ll learn at school. That said, I bet you can do 25 x 4 without any problems!
A lot of people struggle when it comes to adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing numbers in their head. Of course, you can practise this (who doesn't love a good multiplication table?) and be taught certain strategies to make these operations simpler.
In truth, you can easily learn maths if you’re using the right techniques. You have to make sure the techniques match your objectives which could be:
- Studying for A Levels maths
- Preparing for a maths exam at university
- Applying to jobs that require maths skills like accounting
Maths can be divided into several categories:
- Arithmetic (numbers, how to add, subtract, multiply, divide, place value, etc.)
- Algebra (number theory, symbols, equations, etc.)
- Geometry (shapes, size, position, etc.)
- Trigonometry (measuring triangles and calculating their qualities)
Just like in other subjects like geography or history, you sometimes will have to learn things off by heart in maths.
What’s the point?
No matter what level of maths you’re studying, you’ll still cover all aspects of maths.
“When it comes to academic support, I teach my students to memorise the multiplication tables and ask them to add and subtract in their head as quickly as they can. This is useful when tackling larger maths problems,” Sarah, private maths tutor.
Of course, some problems are more difficult than others. It goes without saying that find the answer to addition and subtraction problems is easier than doing multiplication and division. That said, if you're always counting on your calculator to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to problem-solving, you'll never get any better at doing maths in your head.
Certain types of problems won’t be covered at all in school and mightn’t be seen until you study maths at university and when it comes to learning maths, you need to choose your learning methods based on:
- Your knowledge of basic maths
- Your reasons for learning maths
- The level of maths you need to reach
- The time you have to learn
- Your learning objectives
So let’s have a look at the different learning techniques.
How to Teach Yourself Maths Quickly
A lot of people either hate maths or struggle with it. However, it’s one of the most important subjects on the curriculum and can still play an important role in your life even if you don’t use it at work.
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The statistics don't look good for the UK, either. According to the Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS), the UK is still behind Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Japan when it comes to maths. The same goes for the rest of Europe.
However, there are a lot of useful and easy ways to learn maths. The first way is to do exercises over and over again and get some printable worksheets to study. This can help you:
- Learn to solve problems
- Improve your knowledge of decimal numbers
- Know the different properties of shapes
- Learn the square roots of various numbers
- Apply your knowledge to other subjects like physics or chemistry
Whatever your reasons for learning maths, there are two main ways to learn:
- With a qualified and experienced maths tutor
- Teaching yourself with a variety of learning resources
There are a lot of advantages to learning maths with a teacher:
- Whether you’re getting ready for your GCSEs, A Levels, exams at uni, or an interview, a private tutor can help pick out the right maths activities.
- Understanding maths is more than just understanding theories: you have to also have reasoning skills and private tutoring can help you develop these skills.
- They’ll provide you with a reliable maths programme to help you achieve your goals.
- Private mats tutorials can include interesting topics like the history of maths.
- Your private tutor might be a qualified and experienced teacher who’s familiar with the maths topics that appear on the national curriculum, for example.
There are also a lot of advantages to studying on your own:
- Studying at your own pace
- Free lessons online
- Solving math problems in a fun way with games and apps
- Testing your knowledge with interactive activities
You cant just wing it or you won’t know how quickly you’re learning new concepts. You need to organise your learning whether you’re working with a teacher or not.
Teach Yourself Basic Maths
If you’re not good at maths, the best way to learn is to use mnemonic techniques and fun ways to learn so that you actually want to learn.
If this is the case, online maths classes might be useful. You can use them to:
- Work on your memory
- Motivate yourself
- Learn maths more easily
There are plenty of maths exercises that can improve your memory which is useful for certain maths topics like factorisation, derivatives, decimals, calculus, or percentages.
These exercises will help you improve at any level:
- For primary school children learning to tell the time and learning about numbers.
- Secondary school students getting ready for GCSEs or A Levels
- At a university where you’re likely to see applied maths problems
The key to learning maths easily is to use enjoyable games that are appropriate to your level:
- Classic maths games like sudoku for training your memory and mathematical reasoning
- Complex maths games like maths puzzles
- Logic games to test yourself
- Online revision games for when it’s time to study
There are plenty of tools available to you on the internet. For example:
- Specialised books
- Audio CDs
- Online maths classes
- Specialised maths websites
There are so many ways to easily learn maths!
Educational games are useful for speeding up the learning process. To get the most out of them, consider including them in your revision schedule.
Websites And Apps For Fast Maths
You should also check out these maths websites and apps:
|Sudoku, Chess, and Board Games||Easy to learn||Not for specific maths skills|
|Montessori||Multi-platform||Just for kids|
|iTooch||Positive reinforcement, progression, built-in calculator||Rigid structure, American school system|
|BBC Bitesize||Wide range of subjects, activities, levels||British curriculum only|
|AB Math Lite||Bright and colourful app, free||Mostly arithmetic,|
The Best Methods to Teach Yourself Mathematics
When it comes to learning maths quickly, there are three simple rules:
- Acquire knowledge
- Test your knowledge
- Revise to further your understanding
You should put together a study plan so that you don’t get bogged down when studying geometry, decimals, symmetry, or calculus.
It’s important to carefully plan your studies, especially if you’re studying on your own:
- Establish what you know with the help of a teacher. You’ll soon see if you’re familiar with polynomials or not.
- List your strengths and weaknesses: you may be a visual or aural learner so make sure you adapt your learning techniques. An aural learner may find word problems easier while there's a high probability that a visual learner will excel at geometry or analysing a graph.
- Use online maths exercises to check your knowledge and whether you’ve learnt certain topics such as symmetry, logarithms, calculus, fractions, or algorithms.
- Make revision sheets at the end of each chapter and make sure you regularly test yourself with a short quiz or a worksheet. This can do wonders for your confidence as well as showing you whether you need to give yourself some extra homework on certain topics.
A maths lesson or private maths tutorial will always have the same objective of helping you progress in a given maths topic:
- Calculations: quotients, subtraction, division, vectors, multiplication, or fractions.
- Logic: scalar products, perimeters, or quadrilaterals
- Problems: exponential functions, standard deviation, binomial distribution, boundary function, etc.
How can you effectively learn mathematical and algebraic formulae?
While there's no simple equation for become a master of maths, your answer will depend on what you’re learning. You should be confident, learn with mind maps, and rephrase problems in your own words. Saying the problems aloud will also help you solve them.
If you’re studying for an exam like the GRE (Global Reasoning Exam, a maths certification that can be useful for getting research grants), it can be quite daunting.
If you’re considering studying alone, it still might be useful enlisting the help of a mathematician to teach you an effective methodology for studying.
Whether you’re learning with or without a tutor, there are ways to make studying maths easier. You just need to be committed and organised and it’ll all work out!