Mathematics Help for Those Intimidated

by blackspanielgallery

This is a review of a book that will help instill confidence, and assist with studying techniques for mathematics.

The Problems in Studying Math

Many students are intimidated by the study of mathematics, and too often these students may seem to be studying as hard or harder than for any other subject but without success. Before assuming it is lack of work ethic, or an inability of the student, consider what is contained in this book. This is appropriate for anyone studying mathematics, from the young child to the college student. The problems that can be encountered have a narrow range, so it is quite possible to overcome the barrier to learning mathematics.

Image allowed by the author, me. This is one of my books.

There Are Many Books on Study Skills for Mathematics

There Are Many Books on Study Skills for Mathematics

There are books on becoming successful with the study of mathematics.  Many are helpful.  Unfortunately, a few are counterproductive, and those books may actually do harm.  As I looked into having the college library acquire books to help students succeed, I looked in the pages of some only to be appalled.  Some books on overcoming the difficulties in studying mathematics were written merely so the author could commiserate with the students, or allow the students to commiserate with the author, with the message the students and the author too suffered from a poor experience with a certain teacher and that experience ended all hope for successfully studying mathematics.  Such books give the reader a license to believe the situation is impossible, hence nothing productive comes out of reading them.



Other books approach the subject with optimism, claiming the situation can be improved.  They usually also give some ideas of what is needed to make that improvement.

Finding Confidence and Help with Math

Finding Confidence and Help With Math

Improving Mathematics Skills

And Building Confidence

There are several ways to improve one’s study skills in mathematics.  Below are those I consider important.


First, mathematics is different.  Studying mathematics like one studies history will not work.  Mathematics first must be thought through and understood, but then must be practiced.  Well, to stop here would be problematic.  Practice requires feedback, so practice the problems that have answers provided.  Many teachers do not understand this and assign the problems without answers in the back of the book.  So, the student works a problem, gets it wrong, and has no clue the problem is wrong.  Repetition of this process reinforces the wrong technique.  Knowing the problem was worked wrong, seeking information on how to correct the problem, and learning from one’s mistakes is important.  Practice where answers can be checked.


Another stumbling block is lack of confidence, too often brought on by lack of success.  Having a positive attitude is important, and the book goes into how a student might build confidence in mathematic.  Simply put, success in a practice test after applying sufficient practice should make the student confident that the problems on the test can be just as skillfully handled.


One thing that is too infrequently emphasized is that complicated problems often utilize one or two concepts already mastered with just one added step.  There is no need to memorize an entire process, simply understand the added step, why it works, and what to choose in getting there.


Another sticky point is application problems, which is what educators now call word problems.  Here, looking for certain words can translate into addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or equality.  But, even deeper are the ways the words are ordered or certain other words are included that imply parentheses. 



Finally, a discussion on the use of a calculator should eliminate many careless and understanding the calculations errors.

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Updated: 10/03/2015, blackspanielgallery
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blackspanielgallery on 06/13/2015

Many people are. I am a college professor who teaches math and saw what my students go through.

happynutritionist on 06/13/2015

I am one of those that was very intimidated by math as a child, and as an adult, still count on my fingers sometimes :-)

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