Math is not an easy subject to master and the same time, it isn’t impossible to excel in it. Math syllabus has changed to a great extent, and it’s no longer as easy as it was a decade or so ago; so, math tuition teachers as well as students have had to adapt and adjust to the changes.
Firstly, students need to work on their fundamentals first. Be it in online math tuition or group tuition or even private math tuition, tutors have the same standard opinion that the basics are of paramount importance.
When Maths is first taught to children, parents and teachers will start off by teaching what numbers are. Then the basic 4 operations are taught and so on and so forth. Maths is a subject that requires progressive learning and not adhering to this can be detrimental to a student’s learning.
Without understanding fundamentals properly, the misconceptions of students will carry forward to more difficult topics which will end up confusing students no matter how much effort they put in. Students should have a habit of always revising topics that they learnt in their previous years so that they do not forget them.
Secondly, practice. A word that everyone has heard before and are probably tired of hearing and yet is very underrated. No one will be born a genius. They can only become successful after putting in the effort to practice. The more that someone practices, the more that they will be familiar with problems of certain formats.
Many students may complain that the questions in their examinations are foreign to them and were not even taught to them when the truth is that they have all the tools necessary to solve them. Students need to make themselves familiar with all the tools that can be used to solve questions.
For example, integration can be done through substitution, partial fractions, by parts, etc. Although students may know this, they may still get stumped by a question that requires the combination of these methods.
Thirdly, sitting down, reading through notes and doing practice problems may sometimes be not enough for students. One strategy that can be used in this case is for students to try and become teachers. This is especially useful and effective during revision after learning all the content.
Teaching others is not only beneficial for the person who is being taught, it also helps students identify their own misconceptions and weaknesses. If a student is able to teach something simply without it being confusing for others, it means that they have a good understanding.
Similarly, if they have trouble putting their thoughts into words and are not fluent in their teaching, it indicates that there is something that they do not fully understand. Once students are able to identify these weaknesses, they can focus on improving them!
Fourthly, Maths has a lot of theorems. Solving problems is all about knowing certain methods and theorems and using them correctly. At first glance, it may seem like Math requires a lot of memory work.
However, memorising theorems and methods can only get students so far. It is much more important to get an intuitive understanding of the basic theorems and concepts instead.
For example, differentiation may seem like a very confusing and complex topic but it becomes much easier to understand if students derive formulas instead of memorising them. By thinking of differentiation as gradients, students will be able to understand the topic at a deeper level and perform much better in it.
Even though it may require more effort, students should adopt the habit of breaking down theorems, understanding them and deriving them.
Lastly, there are also specific tips and tricks that students should follow while solving the math problems themselves. When learning primary school maths, many students might have the habit of solving the questions in their head before even writing anything on the paper. This method is only efficient and feasible up to a certain level of mathematics. After this level, it becomes more time-consuming and confusing for students instead.
Analysing your thoughts…
Students should thus adopt the habit of writing down their entire thought process, even if it may not seem like it can help solve the question. Writing it down can sometimes (more frequent than people expect) even cause a Eureka moment for finding the intended solution. Writing down working is also useful for examinations as it provides students with a chance of getting method marks.
ALL IN ALL, in order to excel in mathematics, the right kind of guidance from the best math tutors will go a long way in helping students progress at a rapid pace. It also goes without saying that hard work and persistence are also two most important values that students need to follow in order to ace the examinations!