How To Learn Math Fast: Smart Study Tips For Students (+INFOGRAPHIC)

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      Math can be a polarizing subject: the rigid formulas and complex problem-solving of mathematics are loved by some and loathed by others. But whether you love it or hate it, everyone needs to learn math at some point. And while there may not be an easy way to learn maths, there is a range of strategies and techniques that can help students understand it faster.

      Before we get into the ‘how’, let’s cover the ‘why’.

      A boy standing at the chalkboard

      Why do we study maths?

      It may seem like math has no importance in life for most people, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! We all use mathematics every day without realizing it. Splitting a dinner bill, operating a cash register and counting the minutes until your parking meter runs out are some of the more obvious uses for your math skills, but some are less obvious.

      Problem solving – the process of working through every detail of a problem to find the right solution – is a fundamental life skill, and studying math improves our ability to solve problems in all areas of life. This can be anything from figuring out where a smell is coming from by eliminating all other possible causes to finding the quickest way to get to work in a traffic jam.

      So next time you think ‘I’ll never need to use this math skill again’, think again: math concepts and the techniques we learn from solving math problems help us every day!

      How to learn math for students

      There are many ways to learn math – in school, with a tutor, using online math learning websites – but whatever way you’re learning, there are some basic principles to keep in mind.

      1. Practice makes perfect

      Nothing that’s worth having comes easy, and a solid grasp of mathematics is no exception! This is a skill that will develop only by being practiced over and over again, so use your spare time to practice equations, exercises and basic arithmetic. You’ll see – and feel – a difference in a matter of weeks.

      2. Review your mistakes

      A lot of mathematics is all about problem-solving, and to solve problems you need to apply different solutions until you find the right one. If you got the wrong answer, review your process and identify the mistakes. Understanding where you went wrong in your approach using a step-by-step process is the best way to strengthen your skills and avoid making the same errors again.

      Math tasks and a hand holding a pencil

      3. Focus on concepts, not processes

      Math is a sequential subject: you need to understand one problem thoroughly before moving onto the next. If you only know the process of an equation, you’ll find it more difficult to understand where it fits into solutions for different problems in the future.

      In fact, in a study conducted by the Cognitive Science Society, students who used a problem-solving-first approach consistently outperformed students who learned the mathematical solution before trying to solve the problem with it. By understanding the problem before knowing the solution, students could more clearly identify the logic behind the problem and what processes would be involved in solving it. That’s why the best way to learn math is to understand the concepts and logic of each solution rather than memorizing the process.

      Is there any way to learn maths faster?

      Now, the tips you came for: how to learn math fast. While there are no shortcuts when it comes to learning things properly, there are some techniques you can use to strengthen your mathematical understandings and study smarter, not harder.

      Here are several tips from study experts for learning maths fast.

      Math tips

      1. Use real-world, concrete examples

      Math solutions can be very abstract, which makes them difficult to remember and understand. One of the best ways to learn maths fast is to apply a math solution to an everyday situation that you’re more familiar with.

      Find an example of a math problem in your daily life to get better at math fast. Some examples could be:

      • working out the probability of winning off of a lottery ticket,
      • converting recipe quantities from US standard or imperial system to metric amounts, or
      • calculating the distance you can drive on a half-tank of fuel in your car.

      2. Use technology to improve the math learning process

      There is a reason that math websites and online math tutoring have become so popular, and it ties back to one of the fundamental principles of learning maths: practice makes perfect. The more exposure you have to math, the more you will understand and the faster you will learn to work through the process of solving an equation.

      From helpful online resources like videos, books, and games to interactive video lessons, technology has made it easier – and faster – to learn basic math online free. Whether it’s to learn elementary math online or something more advanced, tutoring sessions can really help you learn math faster.

      Online tutoring has grown dramatically in popularity in recent years, a trend likely due to the intensified competition for university placement faced by today’s students. The result is increased pressure to perform well in STEM subjects, and many parents seek math tutors online as a convenient, affordable alternative to tutoring center programs.

      What website will help me in math?

      There are thousands of places to learn math online but look for sites that offer a range of options, like free or cheap trials to help you find a tutor you like working with and instant tutoring for those last-minute cramming sessions. Sites like Eurekly offer math tutoring from elementary to college level, and most tutors offer free trial lessons so you can find the right tutor for your learning style, goals and personality.

      3. Create a distraction-free environment

      Math is a subject that requires your utmost concentration, so avoid the temptation to multi-task or study in distracting environments, such as noisy cafes or in front of a television. Find somewhere that you won’t be called away or tempted with distractions like food, housework or your phone.

      Some studies have shown that listening to classical music while studying can improve focus and reduce stress, so try adding a classical playlist to your study routine.

      So, if you want to know how to learn math fast, there are thousands of helpful resources, tutoring services, and study tips to help you. Whether you focus on applying math solutions to everyday problems, or you hire a tutor to help you reach your learning goals, you can find the right way for you to learn faster. Just treat it like a math problem – apply different solutions until you find the right one!

      Math teacher writing formulas on the blackboard

      Math tricks (+INFOGRAPHIC)

      1. How to multiply faster in mind

      There are many “trick methods” you can use to help you multiply faster.

      • One powerful method is remembering that 5 is 10 divided by 2 when multiplying by the powers of 5. In this case, a complicated multiplication like 48 x 5 can be made easier and faster by multiplying by 48 x 10 (simply adding a 0 to make 480) and dividing by 2.
      • It is also useful to remember that every multiplication has a “twin”: for example, if you are struggling with 7×4, try working it out as 4×7, which may be easier to remember.
      • Subtracting and adding to squares (i.e. multiplying a number by itself) can be a helpful tool for faster multiplication too.
      • When it comes to multiplying by 9, the best trick to use is to actually multiply by 10 and then subtract one group of the number you are multiplying by. For 9×8 for example, try 10×8 which is 80. 80 minus 8 gives 72, which is the answer to 9×8.

      2. Calculating percentages quickly

      To calculate percentages quickly, it helps to memorize four key percentages: 5 percent, 10 percent, 25 percent, and 50 percent. This will allow you to easily calculate percentages that are multiples of 5 and provide you with a close estimate for percentages that aren’t multiples of 5.

      For example, to find what is 15 percent of 430, you would need to consider that 15 percent is 5 percent added to 10 percent. Since 10 percent of 430 is 43, and 5 percent is half that, then 15 percent is 43 added to 21.5, i.e. 64.5.

      A tip for calculating percentages greater than 100 percent is to move the decimal of the percent two spaces to the left and use the answer to multiply the number in question. An example of this is 270 percent of 30. Moving the decimal of the percent two spaces to the left gives you 2.7. The answer is then obtained by multiplying 30 by 2.7 which makes 81.

      An infographic enlisting 4 methods of calculating faster in mind

      3. How to solve math problems fast

      If you are looking to learn math fast and solve problems quickly, there are steps you can take to help you achieve this.

      First of all, when you are faced with a mathematical problem, you should write it down. Seeing the problem written down will speed up the process of solving it vs. doing it in your head, as it will allow you to recognise the type of problem and what formulae you have to use to solve it.

      Memorizing important multiplication shortcuts and factoring also come in handy when trying to solve equations quickly. Don’t hesitate to use a calculator for tedious calculations and remember that practice makes perfect, meaning that the more time you spend practicing, the quicker you will become when solving math problems.

      4. How to memorize math formulas fast

      If you understand a formula but are having trouble remembering it, there are some simple tricks that you can use to jog your memory. Mnemonic devices can help you remember complicated formulas.

      For example, the simple phrase “SOH CAH TOA” can be used to refresh your memory of the formulas for sine, cosine, and tangent of an angle with “SOH” indicating that S(ine) is the length of the O(pposite) side over the length of the H(ypotenuse) and so on. You can make your own mnemonic devices, based on words that you are likely to always remember.

      Other than mnemonic devices, it is also argued that certain lifestyle choices can help us remember things we learn. Exercising after studying and getting enough sleep are techniques you can use to ensure that the math formulas you are memorizing stick.

      Math formulas and graphs

      5. The best math websites and how to make good use of them

      With the proliferation of technology, there is increasing online demand for help with math and plenty of sophisticated math resources have begun to emerge on the web in the last few years. Some of the best ones include the following:

      • Paul’s Online Math Notes, which provides a complete set of free downloadable notes and/or tutorials for classes that mathematician Paul teaches at Lamar University, including Algebra, Calculus I, II and III and Differential Equations.
      • Arcademics, which aims to make the subject fun through educational, multi-player games based on math concepts.
      • Khan Academy, which is full of helpful videos explaining all sorts of math topics.
      • Eurekly, which provides expert-leveling math tutoring from teachers from all around the world.

      In order to make the most of math websites, one should use the variety of interesting multimedia offered to explore math concepts they have difficulty with, as these visualizations are found to facilitate numeric calculations and learning. The best websites provide simple instructions and use easy language in a personalized experience, making learning easy for math students.

      To conclude, there are thousands of places to learn math online but you should try to look for sites that offer a range of options, like free or cheap trials to help you find a tutor you like working with and instant tutoring for those last-minute cramming sessions. Sites like Eurekly offer math tutoring from elementary to college level, and most tutors offer free trial lessons so you can find the right tutor for your learning style, goals, and personality!

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