Mathematics according to Cambridge Advanced Dictionary [Second Edition] is defined as the study of numbers, shapes, and space using reasons usually the special system of symbols and rules for organizing them. Mathematics problems are one of the most challenging problems for students. Mathematics is one of the major and most compulsory subjects students/learners must undertake beginning from the Kindergarten to the tertiary level making mathematics problems unavoidable for students/learners of all categories of learning. The essence of this article is to enable students/learners to realize that maths is the simplest subject in the whole World.
WRONG VIEWS ABOUT MATHEMATICS AND POSITIVE RESPONSES TO THEM
There are wrong views about mathematics problems that students and learners which we are going to critically deal with here. This will certainly change your opinion concerning mathematics problems. The problem is not with our curriculum because our curriculum assuredly is carefully planned. Below are some of the wrong views about mathematics and all there is to know about it:
THAT MATHEMATICS IS THE MOST DIFFICULT SUBJECT
Mathematics problems are not difficult but very demanding in terms of time and effort. Maths requires more time and effort, unlike other subjects. Here are some of the reasons why you must understand that maths should be the simplest subject in the whole world:
- Mathematics is taught and learned from Nursery class to tertiary level
- Some topics in mathematics are the same irrespective of the level
- Any topics properly learned and understood in mathematics are never easily forgotten. One can score 100% on a mathematics problem
THAT ONE CAN DO WITHOUT MATHEMATICS PROBLEMS
It is obviously wrong for a student to assume that he or she can do without mathematics. You can totally run away from mathematical problems whether you like it or not. This is to say that mathematics is obviously unavoidable and consequential as far as life is concerned. The earlier a child embraces this reality the better and the easier you embrace the subject. Maths has lots of influence on other subjects and must be passed for one to secure admission into higher institutions.
THAT MATHEMATICS IS SOLVED USING MAGICAL POWERS
Let it be categorically clear here that mathematics is not magical but requires the right application of appropriate formulas and constant practice. You know the right formula to apply when solving mathematics problems and constantly practicing, that is, working on those formulas to master them regularly makes you too good at mathematics.
THAT MATHEMATICS CAN ONLY BE PASSED BY GENIUS OR THOSE THAT ARE HIGHLY INTELLIGENT
Maths can be passed by anybody who is hardworking and willing to.
THAT MATHEMATICS IS A SUBJECT THAT CAN BE PASSED BY CRAMMING
Maths is a subject that can be passed and known and so does not require cramming but understanding the steps.
THAT PRACTICING MATHEMATICS MAY MAKE ONE GO INSANE
Giving much time to practicing maths does not make one go insane rather, it makes one’s brain expand so as to be able to accept more difficult and larger information.
THAT MATHEMATICS IS A SUBJECT FOR THE MALE GENDER AND NOT FEMALE
Maths is a subject for both male and female gender and as such, both male and female gender can become best mathematicians.
THAT THE BEST MATHEMATICS TEACHER IN THE WORLD CAN OPEN ONE’S HEAD AND PUT MATHEMATICS INTO IT.
This is not true at all. No man can put maths into your head without you doing your own part.
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THOSE THAT KNOW AND MAKE MATHEMATICS IN EXAMS.
A student that knows and makes mathematics in examinations includes students that possess the following qualities:
- Students that have an interest in the subject – of maths.
- Hardworking students that are ready to practice maths always.
- Determined students that are not ready to give up so easily
- Careful and sensitive students that can avoid making unnecessary mistakes.
- Humble students that are willing and ready to learn and to take correction.
- Optimistic students that have a positive view of mathematics.
- A very serious student that is ready always to give full concentration in the classroom and always does classwork and homework as required.
- Courageous students that are not always afraid of mathematics but are ready to handle it with full confidence.
- Obedient students are always ready to obey any given instruction that guides the conduct of any maths exams.
- Time-conscious students that are ever ready to plan and manage their times properly.
REASONS WHY STUDENTS FAIL MATHEMATICS PROBLEM
POOR MATHEMATICS FOUNDATION
The foundation of a building is its durability of such a building. A good foundation will produce strong and long-lasting buildings while a poor foundation will promote collapsed buildings. This is much applicable to your success in the good foundation you have in the subject. So don’t despise the time of little beginning – give more attention to every class work and assignment and your foundation stage of learning maths from primary, junior secondary to senior secondary schools very seriously.
LACK OF INTEREST
Interest is very essential to success because all that have succeeded in one thing or the other had an interest in what they succeeded in first. So, for you to achieve success in mathematics you must put more interest into the subject. Your interest will determine how much time and attention you put into learning and practicing maths. Therefore, develop an interest and likeness for mathematics and your math teacher.
LACK OF CONSTANT PRACTICE OF MATHEMATICS
Mathematics as a subject demands constant6 practice and so the more time you give to practicing and solving maths problems the more success you achieve. Therefore, practice mathematics and don’t give up on it.
Laziness and procrastination are great enemies of success, and so, anybody that wants to achieve good success in math must be diligent enough to practice maths constantly and to do all the given classwork and homework. The truth is that maths is not the subject for lazy students but for hardworking students and as such don’t be lazy students.
Mathematics as a subject requires a high level of accuracy and does not tolerate mistakes being that any mistake made will attract a penalty. So, every possible effort must be made to avoid unnecessary mistakes. Some common mistakes that are made in Maths are:
- Mistakes of signs and symbols
- Misplacement of figures
- Using wrong methods and formulas
- Omission of some problems/questions
- Copying questions/ mathematics problems wrongly, etc.
To avoid these problems, do this:
- Constantly practice mathematics
- Give full concentration when solving mathematics problems
- Observe adequate rest prior to maths exams/test
- Cross-check your works after solving, before submitting
- Have some level of confidence in yourself but not overconfidence.
ELIGIBILITY OF FIGURES
Legibility promotes readability, and so, figures in mathematics must be written clearly and legibly enough to avoid wrong interpretation by examiners and subsequent loss of marks.
LACK OF CONCENTRATION
Maths requires concentration and undivided attention when one is learning about it so as to have a good understanding of what is taught, and when one is writing maths examination/test. This will help to avoid unnecessary mistakes which may lead to failure.
WRONG VIEW/OPINION ABOUT MATHS
Some students fail maths because of wrong views they have about the subject. They view maths as a no-go area that requires magical powers for one to excel. They also view maths as the most difficult subject that is meant to torment the lives of students. On the contrary, mathematics is not as difficult as viewed by most students and does not require magical powers but constant practice.
FEAR OF MATHS/LACK OF CONFIDENCE
Maths as a subject requires some level of confidence for one to achieve success in it and as such, one must not entertain any form of fear. This is for the fact that the fear of maths is the beginning of maths failure.
PRIDE AND OVERCONFIDENCE
Maths is a subject that can be passed by students who are humble enough to learn and to make corrections and not those that are full of themselves with the mind that they have known everything about mathematics. Pride and overconfidence in maths usually result in unnecessary mistakes which will consequently result in failure.
Maths as a subject is learned in steps and stages and so, one must always be ready to learn all the steps for one to have proper knowledge of a particular topic in it. So, coming late to maths class or not coming at all will make one miss some steps or stages in a topic which will consequently impede one’s understanding of the entire topic and result in failure.
For one to achieve success in maths, one has to be careful enough to take notes and obey certain instructions and also to be careful enough to avoid making avoidable mistakes as one solution. Maths does not tolerate mistakes and ignorance is not an excuse. Mistakes in maths attract penalties.
POOR TIME MANAGEMENT
Any student that is going to succeed in maths must be someone that can plan and manage his or her time properly not only before maths exams/tests but during the exams/tests. This is so because maths is a subject of time and accuracy. In writing maths exams one needs to learn how to combine accuracy as one solves together with the management of the given time.
LACK OF ADEQUATE KNOWLEDGE
For one to have success in maths, one must have good knowledge of how to use mathematical materials like maths sets, four-figure tables, graph books,s, and calculators. Lack of good knowledge of how to use these materials usually results in failure. Be careful not to go to maths exams with a calculator you are not used to for it might land you into big trouble.
LACK OF GOOD REST BEFORE MATHS EXAMS/TESTS
Sitting for maths exams is highly demanding and requires some measure of energy. This is because solving a mathematics problem is a task and makes the brain walk at a faster rate than when one is studying or writing a non-calculative subject. So one needs to ensure that one has good rest before going into the exam hall. This can help one’s brain to have enough energy to withstand the rigor of solving in the exam hall. Don’t say you want to have “TILL DAY BREAKS [TDB]” when you are having maths or any other calculative subject the next day.
LACK OF DETERMINATION
Maths is not the only subject for the lazy and fearful student, but the subject for diligent and determined students. Learning and solving mathematics problems sometimes may look tacking and tedious, but with determination, diligence, and perseverance, one’s success in maths is assured.
LACK OF ADEQUATE MATHEMATICAL MATERIALS [PARENTS INDUCED FAILURE]
Maths is a unique subject that requires some instructional materials to aid one’s understanding. Some of the materials include
- Mathematical set
- Four figure table
- Maths textbook
- Maths workbook
- Graph book, etc.
Lack of any of these materials at the needed time will impede one’s understanding and will consequently result in failure.
WRONG APPROACH TO TEACHING [TEACHER’S INDUCED FAILURE]
To my fellow maths teachers, maths should be taught in more simplified ways to a complex way. More emphasis should be put on giving class works immediately after each maths lesson, no matter how small so as to access students understanding of what is taught than giving homework which in most cases is done by another person, and the student just copied and submitted.
Also, while teachers strive to cover the scheme, too much emphasis should not be placed on coverage of the scheme at the expense of students’ understanding of what is taught. It is better to cover a few topics in maths and students had an understanding of what is taught than to move like a jet and cover the whole scheme without your learners understanding what was taught especially at the foundation level
Teachers should always ensure that corrections of classwork and homework are done for the students before moving into another topic or subtopic.
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23 HINTS TO SUCCESS IN MATHEMATICS EXAMS
- Maths is a universal subject in the sense that it has an influence on one success in other subjects like physics, chemistry, economics, accounting, commerce, etc., and must be passed and also must be known.
- Don’t take maths as a very difficult subject or too simple but as a subject that is easy to learn.
- That your success in maths is to some extent dependent on you, and so put in your best until you are able to succeed.
- The amount of success you have in maths to a large extent is dependent on the amount of experience you have on how much time you give to practicing mathematics. So, give more time to practicing maths.
- Don’t despise the time of little beginning. Your knowledge of maths is dependent on the foundation you have in the subject. Therefore, develop a love and interest for the subject and your maths teacher. Your interest will determine how far you can go in practicing the subject.
- Practice maths always and don’t give up when practicing it.
- Don’t be afraid of maths, rather handle maths with full confidence. Remove all forms of fear when practicing or answering mathematics questions.
- Don’t leave out any aspect of maths for every aspect is very important and inter-related.
- Every maths question has a solution so solve without relenting until you are able to arrive at the answers or solutions.
- Maths is a subject that deals with figures and signs, so the proper use of negative and positive signs is very important.
- Maths requires a high level of concentration, so don’t allow yourself to be distracted when learning or solving maths questions.
- Go into the exams hall with your full maths sets, calculators, four-figure table, and any other needed materials. Don’t go into the exam hall with a calculator you are not used to.
- Read carefully and obey every given instruction before starting your exams.
- Read the whole paper through carefully, noting all the instructions given about the number and choice of questions alternatives,s, etc.
- Make a rough time budget. Note whether all questions have equal weight and marks, and decide how long you should give to each question.
- Start with the simplest questions in which you are not likely to make mistakes. Don’t try to impress your examiner by tackling the difficult questions because you think they will make you shine.
- Take your time to answer every question but don’t waste too much time answering every question. Maths is a subject of time and accuracy.
- Don’t allow any question to scare you or get you frightened, and as such, answer every question confidently and with full concentration.
- Math questions can be twisted in so many ways and so, don’t stereotype your mind when answering maths questions; thinking this is how it is done. Instead, go by what you are asked to do in the question.
- Be very careful in the way you read the questions, number your work, and your calculator, and answer the questions. Also, be very careful not to attempt any question you are not sure of especially when you have options.
- Maths exams require energy and are somehow demanding and as such, give yourself enough rest before getting into the exams hall.
- Don’t be overconfident, read through your work, and don’t be too hasty to leave the exam hall before your given time.
- Thousands of students have made maths and other calculative subjects without partaking in any malpractice and thousands are still making it. So, you are not an exception, therefore do your best and leave the rest for God to handle. Yes, you can become successful in maths and other calculative subjects.
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Being the best and solving maths problems is as simple as A, B, and C, and it’s achievable. However, the above facts and principles to learning and solving mathematics problems must be strictly followed. Don’t forget that the fear of failure is the grand patron of failure itself. What this means is that what you fear most would always turn out to become your worst nightmare. Kill the fear of mathematics and other calculative subjects, approach them with every confidence and follow all necessary formulas and you are good to go.