Passing Math

At school I was useless at math. So was Albert Einstein I believe. Many years after leaving school I enrolled in a distance learning course at a university for a diploma in datametrics. I did well in all the computer courses, but I had to do a module in physics as well. I went to write the exam and managed to get a magnificent 38%.

The University allowed me to rewrite a supplementary exam, and I had two months to get myself sorted out. I had already learnt the work with all my heart. What more could I do?

Two months later I rewrote the exam, and passed with a mark of 88% ! This enabled me to pass the Diploma cum laude, with distinction.

So, how did I do that?

Well, I discovered a secret to learning subjects that involve figures, numerical problems and the like. The secret is simple: practice.

The text book I was working out of had the answers to all the problems at the back of the book. So I tried to do the sums without looking at the answer. Then I would check. If the answer was wrong, I would try again, using a different approach. If that didn’t work out, then I would start with the answer and work backwards to the start. Then I would do it again from the front.

Then I would do the next question. I did them all. I solved every question that I could find. I practiced and practiced.

I worked in pencil, with an eraser handy, so that if the sum got messy I could clean it up. I used lots of scrap paper. It was hard work, but after awhile the elation of solving more and more questions first time round started making it a breeze to do.

So to summarize:
1. Get a book with lots of problems to solve in it. Make sure it has the answers in the book.
2. Only look at the answers to check if you got it right.
3. If you can’t get it right, try again.
4. If you still can’t get it right, start with the answer and work backwards.
5. Do every problem you can find. Do them again if you are not yet confident.
6. Be prepared to work hard, and it will pay off big time.

Just the other day I gave this advice to a granny who was looking after her 14 year old granddaughter. This young girl was failing math and Granny couldn’t help her much. Three weeks later she saw me again, and couldn’t wait to thank me. She explained that it had made a tremendous difference, and her granddaughter was actually starting to enjoy math, and was passing the tests easily.

Like that guy Hunter said in the TV series of the same name – It works for me!