Math! Who's Afraid of the Big Bad...
by Robert Crawford III

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Mathematics can be one of the most challenging subjects students may take, in middle grades, high school and college. But it can be one of the most fun courses to take as well. As a tutor of basic math, algebra, geometry and trigonometry I have found that some students are very reluctant in enrolling in these classes, science classes too but I will cover that in my next article. We often look at such geniuses as Albert Einstein, John Nash, the movie (A Beautiful Mind) and others and wonder what may be wrong with our abstract thinking process, why canít we understand math and its theories and formulas like others.

I say with confidence donít be afraid of learning math; guess what, math is basically learning the formulas and remembering where and how to apply them. You may think the guy sitting in front of you who gets a good grade on each exam, test or pop quiz every time is brilliant. He may be but most likely he has studied and remembered the formulas and learned how to apply them to the problems given.

My older brother reluctantly assisted me in math and he would always get upset because I could not understand the problems early on in grade school. Now he and I jokingly laugh about those days because we both enjoy math, but I believe I am more in tune with problem solving then he, although he is an engineer. I said all that to put you at ease with math and the problem solving of mathematics. Some of us have study harder than others when it comes to math problems. I was one of those but it helped me tremendously. Here are few basic concepts I adopted in my grasp of mathematical knowledge.

1. Ask questions if you are unsure about the formulas and donít be ashamed, many people may have some type of difficulty when it comes to math.

2. Study each formula carefully, in order words spend twice the amount of time studying and learning math equations from the time you are in class. Ex: if your class meets for one hour spend two hours away from class studying time on math problems. This does not mean you have to spend two solid hours studying, break your time up in 30 minute intervals.

3. If there is someone else in the class who has a better understanding of the content get with them for one on one tutoring or a small study group. This seems to help a lot when your peers tutor you and it may be fun. Keep your group around 4 to 5 members and do this early on if problems start to arise, smaller groups seem to get more done.

4. Always, always let your instructor or teacher know you are having problems. This will allow you some leverage that they are aware of any problems you may be having and may devote some additional help or sources of help to assist you.

5. You may want to study each theory or formula with a friend by conversing what you have learned with them. I found this to be very helpful.

6. Write down notes as the problems are being explained. And always try taking courses in sequential order if you can. For example take pre-algebra before algebra and algebra I before algebra II and trigonometry, well you get it.

7. Finally, a very helpful tool is Math.Com on the internet. This is a great website that breaks down problems and provides a better understanding of math.

About The Author: Robert Crawford III, PhD student has written several articles concerning tips for college and high school students academic success. Contact Information: or

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