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Thread: Why am I terrible at math, and what can I do about it?

  1. #1 Why am I terrible at math, and what can I do about it? 
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    Okay so firs thing's first: I feel like more of a dunce than I usually do for posting here, because of the quality of the content in the other posts in this section.

    This is my story: My first memory of having issues regarding math goes back to 4th grade, when I was in advanced placement for everything that year. I did quite alright in whatever other subjects I was dealing with at the time, but math was tripping me up. Only thing I remember though is enjoying long division for some reason. I remember having many literal headaches due to whatever it was.

    Skip to high school, and I struggled with it for the 3 years I had to take it. We had this experimental program called IMP (Integrated Mathematics Program) in which after a certain amount of time we'd switch to a different sort of math: Geometry to Algebra to Trig for example. There were other bits of things in there too. Just can't name them off hand. I found these years extra hard due to what seemed to me to be a rapid switching between the types of math. I'm absolutely horrible at remembering ways to solve problems, and just when I'd get a grip on one thing (usually slower than others) we'd move on, I'd have to learn something new and I'd forget nearly everything I'd learned before. I did terrible on midterms and finals as a result.

    I did go to community college, and I did get through math, but not in the most....legitimate of ways.

    To keep things simple, anything beyond basic math is largely quite difficult for me. And even basic math I have difficulty with to an extent. I'm horrid at mental math, and look like a fool when I have to use my fingers (or take even longer doing it mentally). I get a feeling that it's a bit of a psychological thing too in that I've convinced myself after so many years that I'll always be terrible at math. But I'm not completely lying to myself. I want to do something about it, as it's rather important, especially since I'm considering another career than what I was planning on doing (although that's obviously another thread) -- I just don't know what to do.


    /-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-
    tl;dr - I've been terrible at math most of my life, and I'm tired of it. Just don't know how to get my stuff together.


    Sorry for the rant-like post. I appreciate any help.


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  3. #2  
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    Same here. Chem ruined me as a Bio Major...had to switch to Anthro and just take Bio courses as electives. You can still do a lot in life without being good at math.


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    My niece said this site:

    BBC - Learning - Maths: Learning resources and online courses

    helped her a lot with her school work. Not sure if this will be too basic for you but from your post it may help.
    I don't know if I should be happy or embarrassed (I think both) that this is actually a good resource for me. I appreciate it. Only took a brief look at it, but it wasn't long before there was something I didn't know how to do, which was multiplying mixed numbers. Something long forgotten.


    Quote Originally Posted by mikepotter84 View Post
    Same here. Chem ruined me as a Bio Major...had to switch to Anthro and just take Bio courses as electives. You can still do a lot in life without being good at math.
    See, that's what I'm worried about. Not Chemistry per se, but math ruining any plans that I may have for the future. I made a post in the Introduction section of the forum asking about the best place to post about career related questions. Thanks for the input.
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  5. #4  
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    I found these years extra hard due to what seemed to me to be a rapid switching between the types of math.
    That's a flaw in maths curriculum all around the world. Commonly referred to as the "backpack theory" of education - just do it, put it in the done category, move on and collect the next thing.

    You now have the advantage of controlling your own "curriculum". Regardless of the level or topic at which you choose to start, you should treat it as though you were your own music coach or sports trainer. The prime thing being that you never, never skip the maintenance of existing skills even though you're working on something more advanced, maybe very much advanced. Singers, pianists, guitarists all practice the basics daily, or at least regularly. Frank Sinatra always 'warmed up' with scales and breathing exercises for half an hour before performances for the whole of his career. Tennis players keep practising forehand and backhand strokes even though they're currently trying out different grips for their smash or serve. Practise each skill or concept until you feel you've mastered it. Then keep practising to maintain the skill once you've done so.

    The main advantage you get with maths is that, eventually, the inclusion and incorporation of earlier concepts and techniques is included in more advanced work. So there's not a real continuing need to 'warm up' with simpler stuff - which doesn't mean you shouldn't continue that kind of practice while you're still mastering it. You can continue to do the same kind of exercises faster, more fluently, with more tricks and twists than the introductory material required. After all, opera singers and concert pianists do much more elaborate and challenging versions of scales and training exercises than beginners or amateurs do. International tennis competitors play against more challenging opponents for their warm-ups before matches than amateurs face in their competition matches. The important thing is that they never let skills slide, or ignore basics just because they're working on something more advanced.
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  6. #5  
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    You really do not need allot of math to land a good job. First of all make a list of things you would like to do working somewhere. Remember that you are looking for jobs that do not require much math like a plumber, policeman, dental hygienist, bus driver, boat repair, car repair, any sales types of jobs like clothing, shoes cars or boats, gardener, arborist, fireman, factory worker of any type, reservationist, teacher and on and on. There are so many good paying jobs out there that you should easily find something that you can do without the need for allot of math. It is good that you want to learn more math but get a job first that you can earn a living doing then use your spare time to learn more about other stuff.
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    plumber, policeman, dental hygienist, bus driver, boat repair, car repair, any sales types of jobs like clothing, shoes cars or boats, gardener, arborist, fireman, factory worker of any type, reservationist, teacher and on and on.

    Depends what level of maths you're talking about.

    Plumbers do need to be able to calculate pressures and flows and other important safety matters with water, sewage and gases. A plumber who doesn't understand how the standard equations governing their tasks actually work is a dangerous person.
    Firefighters need really good, exceptional, mental arithmetic skills to instantly calculate and recalculate estimated times of arrival in the midst of dealing with traffic and other distractions.
    Teachers. The last thing we need is for teachers' maths skills to be neglected, ignored or downgraded more than they already are.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    plumber, policeman, dental hygienist, bus driver, boat repair, car repair, any sales types of jobs like clothing, shoes cars or boats, gardener, arborist, fireman, factory worker of any type, reservationist, teacher and on and on.

    Depends what level of maths you're talking about.

    Plumbers do need to be able to calculate pressures and flows and other important safety matters with water, sewage and gases. A plumber who doesn't understand how the standard equations governing their tasks actually work is a dangerous person.
    Firefighters need really good, exceptional, mental arithmetic skills to instantly calculate and recalculate estimated times of arrival in the midst of dealing with traffic and other distractions.
    Teachers. The last thing we need is for teachers' maths skills to be neglected, ignored or downgraded more than they already are.
    Plumbers usually install what is already on the blueprint so they wouldn't need to do the calculations needed in most cases but would require simple math to figure lengths and widths of piping as well as a few other things like dimensions of a room or reading a blueprint. Most of the time plumbers use a tape measure and level for the majority of their work but many times are doing repairs which again need little math because the things being repaired are already there and all that needs to be done it remove the bad part and replace it.

    There are English , history , physical-ed, civics, music teachers and on and on that need no or little math.

    I had a friend that was a fireman and he didn't have but simple math questions to apply to get into the fire department.

    Most government workers that do not use math in their daily work also have good paying jobs. While some government jobs like accountants and engineers must have good math skills the majority do not.
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  9. #8  
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    I had a friend that was a fireman and he didn't have but simple math questions to apply to get into the fire department.
    Oh wow. I've tutored a couple of people who wanted to get into firefighting - the competition for these jobs is desperate here. The initial "training" is 10 weeks or so. It's basically selection by progressive elimination - the maths test in one of the middle weeks is one of the elimination processes.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    This may be topical: Here's How Little Math Americans Actually Use at Work - Jordan Weissmann - The Atlantic

    TL;DR version: Most people don't use anything much more advanced than fractions in their career.
    As is often the case with technical subjects we are presented with an unfortunate choice: an explanation that is accurate but incomprehensible, or comprehensible but wrong.
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    Oh wow. I've tutored a couple of people who wanted to get into firefighting - the competition for these jobs is desperate here. The initial "training" is 10 weeks or so. It's basically selection by progressive elimination - the maths test in one of the middle weeks is one of the elimination processes.
    Well my friend was given more physical things to do rather than math at the entry level of his trying to enter the fire department including running about 100 yards or so and only the top 20 went on to the next stage, the rest were sent home. Once he became a fireman he then went on to becoming a lieutenant then captain which required some math but no higher math like calculus
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  12. #11  
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    Well my friend was given more physical things to do rather than math at the entry level of his trying to enter the fire department including running about 100 yards or so
    The physical requirements here are pretty steep, so are the discipline requirements. Basically they progressively weed out the competition on the basis of various physical requirements, how quickly you can qualify for a heavy vehicle drivers' license (anyone who's not able to do standard manoeuvres within the few hours practice given in a week is out) and a whole heap of other stuff I'd never thought of. I never got a student past more than about 6 or 8 of the 14 weeks, so I don't know the whole story. They tended to come for a few months before the preliminary testing, so they'd actually get a chance to go through the interview and probationer stages.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bay Ridge View Post
    And even basic math I have difficulty with to an extent. I'm horrid at mental math, and look like a fool when I have to use my fingers (or take even longer doing it mentally).
    I've had the experience of splitting the bill after beer and pizza with a bunch of math grad students. You never saw so much confusion. Trust me, mathematicians can't do basic arithmetic any better than anyone else. After years away from school I now use a calculator to compute things I used to be able to do in my head. I never could remember 6 * 9 = 54 and I still have to think about it.

    Doing mental math isn't important and it's not correlated with mathematical ability in the least. You needn't worry about it.
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  14. #13  
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    You're not terrible at maths, you just think you are. Whether this is because of teaching or other factors, I don't know.

    I am good at maths, but if someone is watching me, I can't do it so well and tend to freeze up - being good at maths has a lot to do with confidence, and how you were taught it.

    Practice is one way of helping. Add the numbers on the car number plates you see as you drive, and practice doing time/distance calculations in your head.

    A lot of maths uses tricks.

    9 times table is easy if you remember this trick: Take one less than the number you are multiplying by. This is the first digit of the answer. To get the second digit of the answer, use the number that when added to the first digit makes 9. So 6 x 9: First digit is 5 (one less than 6) second digit is 4, because 5+4=9.

    Let's do another: 8 x 9 = ? First digit is (8 - 1) = 7. Second digit is 2, because 7+2 = 9!

    11 is different; 11 x 9 = 99, so the answer adds to 18, and when you get to 12, you have to go 2 less than the multiplier: 12 x 9 = ? first digit is 10, and the last digit must be 8, because 1 + 0 + 8 = 9. So the answer is 108.

    When you get to 20, you have to go 3 less than the multiplier : 20 x 9 = 180

    So the digits of the answers add up to 9, (or in a few cases, 18). I haven't worked out how far up this works, but it works up to 25 x 9 = 225.

    Hope this helps.

    OB
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bay Ridge View Post
    Okay so firs thing's first: I feel like more of a dunce than I usually do for posting here, because of the quality of the content in the other posts in this section.
    I know that it's hard, but try not to feel so bad. Different people have different sets of skills. I'm very good at mathematics but I am an absolute moron when it comes to my multiplication tables. Go figure! So I bought a calculator.
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  16. #15  
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    Math is probably tough for some people because it requires abstract thinking. Think of other everyday activities that require abstract thinking. Was learning to tell time as easy for you as it was for everyone else? Do you not understand jokes that others easily understand? Do you have particular difficulty understanding other people's feelings and motives? Do you have difficulty understanding why it's right or wrong to do or not to do certain things? All of these things involve understanding what is not obvious that is, they involve abstract thinking.
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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    Notwithstanding what I've said above, multiplication tables actually use memory rather than your internal 'maths co-processor'; memory providing an answer much much quicker.


    I am from a time when we had to memorise our times tables at school, and this has actually proved to be extremely useful. Ask me 4 6's and I say 24 without even thinking. This speeds up any mental maths I do, because I don't need to use my 'maths co-processor' for the first steps.

    The "problem" with calculators is that they encourage you to be lazy, and they also make you believe that you can't do any maths without them. Calculators are very useful, but only when used in the right place. (I checked my 9 times arithmetic in my previous post with one - but only to double check what I had already worked out in my head, so I didn't make an idiot of myself on here!).

    I would suggest that you learn your times tables: 2 is easy, 5 is easy; 10,15,20,25 etc., 10 is easy. 11 is easy; 22,33,44 etc., 12 is quite easy because of time calculations you are already used to, 9 times is easy with the little trick I've mentioned, so that's 6 of the times tables already under your belt. Then all you need to do is fill in the others.


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    Wow, quite a few replies have accumulated here. I've been periodically checking to see what others were saying, and I think it's been more than long enough to finally say something again :P

    Adelady - Yeah, you're quite right. Nice way of putting things into perspective.

    Cosmictraveler - There are definitely a number of jobs out there that would help me at least lean away from more math than I'd like. Just need to decide what I want to do with myself.

    river_rat - That confirms what I and most of my classmates thought when we were in school. Constantly questioned the usefulness of much of what we learned. People hated dealing with slope. It added to the psychological aspect that made things harder in a way. I cared so little and found it quite pointless.

    PhDemon - Wow, that sounds a bit extreme, even for an English teacher.

    someguy1 - What a generic name you have, lol. I don't know if I'd be so quick to dismiss mental math to that extent. I agree that it's not necessarily connected to ability, but it is nice to be quick with it.

    One beer - I definitely understand freezing up when being watched. Don't deal well with pressure when it comes to math lol. I remember learning 9 times table. Was the first one I learned besides 2, 5, 10 & 11. The way I did it was that I noticed the first number increased and the second number decreased with each sequential number. 18 > 27. I thought I was a genius for figuring it out like that or something lol.

    PhyMan - Yeah, most of us do have some sort of weak spot, even in things we're quite good at. But at least you're skilled there in general.

    jrmonroe - Abstract indeed. As for the examples you've mentioned: can't remember, when I was a kid I didn't so much, feelings no but motives once in a while, no. It may or may not be worth mentioning however that in college my English teacher pointed out my biggest weakness when I wrote papers, and that was dealing with abstract topics. I was fine when it came down to just breaking down whatever I was writing about on the surface, but when it came to say, my final paper (which I sort of foolishly chose to write about Free Will in A Clockwork Orange) I did quite terribly. I had a friend help me as he was better with abstract writing than I was. Even then I think I got like C-. What I wonder is what causes one to be so weak in an area like abstract thinking? And can it be improve or is it a sort of handicap that can only be accommodated for?

    One beer (again) - I agree with all of that. In elementary school, they were pretty good with having us not use calculators except for certain situations (of what kind I can't remember). It was all downhill after that. Especially during the 3 years I spent in Philadelphia's terrible public schools.


    So wow, I'm surprised and happy to see all of the friendly and helpful posts. I hadn't a clue what to expect from everyone. Certainly not this many replies. Maybe expected a couple insulting/condescending remarks. Glad to see I was wrong. I'll take this as a sort of welcome to the forums. Thanks everyone
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    Forum Masters Degree LuciDreaming's Avatar
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    I always thought I was rubbish at maths until I realised that every time a maths problem came up my head would repeat "I cant do it" over and over. So I couldn't do it because I wasn't even attempting to do it.
    I bought a book called Alex's Adventures in Numberland by Alex Bellos and for the first time I started to understand the point of geometry and the beauty of Fibonacci numbers and the golden ratio and a whole host of other things. Marvellous stuff. I'm still a bit rubbish - but I'm working my way through a basic maths teach yourself book and an algebra book and its helping it all come together. As far as I'm concerned its a language I cant speak and I really want to.
    "And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh" Nietzsche.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuciDreaming View Post
    As far as I'm concerned its a language I cant speak and I really want to.
    Lucid Reaming. LOL. Even if unintended :-)
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    I would suggest that you learn your times tables: 2 is easy, 5 is easy; 10,15,20,25 etc., 10 is easy. 11 is easy; 22,33,44 etc., 12 is quite easy because of time calculations you are already used to, 9 times is easy with the little trick I've mentioned, so that's 6 of the times tables already under your belt. Then all you need to do is fill in the others.
    I use this to teach students that there's really not much to learn.

    If you look at this chart - even printed it out for your own use - you can see what happens every time you learn one particular table. Cross out 1,2,3 in both directions, then see how many blank spaces are left. Now cross out, 5,10,9,11 in both directions, and see just how few individual calculations there are left to learn to fill in the gaps.

    By the time you get to the "last" table you claim not to have learned, there's just one tiny blank space to be filled. Every time you learn one table you've learned one more part of every one of all the tables you have yet to "learn". (And if you learned all the squares some time during this process, there won't even be that one left.)

    https://www.google.com.au/search?q=m...tm%3B720%3B526

    Notwithstanding what I've said above, multiplication tables actually use memory rather than your internal 'maths co-processor'; memory providing an answer much much quicker.
    There's been some excellent research in this area. If you're really interested, I'd heartily recommend Daniel T. Willingham. Excellent piece in AFT - A Union of Professionals - American Educator, Winter 2009

    Ask the Cognitive Scientist (PDF)Is It True That Some People Just Can't Do Math?
    By Daniel T. Willingham

    Students often say they are not good at math. While it's true that some people are better at math than others, the vast majority of people can master K–12 mathematics. Mathematics requires conceptual, procedural, and factual knowledge. Willingham has practical suggestions for helping students acquire all three.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    Bay Ridge; just a thought, might you be slightly dyslexic ? That could be giving you problems.

    As Luci says; Alex's book is indeed very interesting and well worth a read.

    adelady; thanks for the confirmation boost.


    OB
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I would suggest that you learn your times tables: 2 is easy, 5 is easy; 10,15,20,25 etc., 10 is easy. 11 is easy; 22,33,44 etc., 12 is quite easy because of time calculations you are already used to, 9 times is easy with the little trick I've mentioned, so that's 6 of the times tables already under your belt. Then all you need to do is fill in the others.
    I use this to teach students that there's really not much to learn.

    If you look at this chart - even printed it out for your own use - you can see what happens every time you learn one particular table. Cross out 1,2,3 in both directions, then see how many blank spaces are left. Now cross out, 5,10,9,11 in both directions, and see just how few individual calculations there are left to learn to fill in the gaps.

    By the time you get to the "last" table you claim not to have learned, there's just one tiny blank space to be filled. Every time you learn one table you've learned one more part of every one of all the tables you have yet to "learn". (And if you learned all the squares some time during this process, there won't even be that one left.)

    https://www.google.com.au/search?q=m...tm%3B720%3B526

    Notwithstanding what I've said above, multiplication tables actually use memory rather than your internal 'maths co-processor'; memory providing an answer much much quicker.
    There's been some excellent research in this area. If you're really interested, I'd heartily recommend Daniel T. Willingham. Excellent piece in AFT - A Union of Professionals - American Educator, Winter 2009

    Ask the Cognitive Scientist (PDF)Is It True That Some People Just Can't Do Math?
    By Daniel T. Willingham

    Students often say they are not good at math. While it's true that some people are better at math than others, the vast majority of people can master K–12 mathematics. Mathematics requires conceptual, procedural, and factual knowledge. Willingham has practical suggestions for helping students acquire all three.
    You're too helpful. You should stop that. lol. Just kidding of course, I greatly appreciate this. Will either take time later in the day to look at it or it'll have to wait till I get off work tonight.

    [QUOTE=One beer;435382]Bay Ridge; just a thought, might you be slightly dyslexic ? That could be giving you problems.

    As Luci says; Alex's book is indeed very interesting and well worth a read.

    adelady; thanks for the confirmation boost.

    Dyslexic, no. Although there is a math equivalent called Dyscalculia. I don't think I match enough of the items listed on Wiki. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyscalculia#Other_problems
    Last edited by Bay Ridge; June 29th, 2013 at 11:09 AM.
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    Although there is a math equivalent called Dyscalculia. I don't think I match enough of the items listed on Wiki.
    Dyscalculia is much less common, but it's absolutely stunning when you come across it. It's one thing for a young student to have a touch of isolated developmental delay - I recall a nine year old who simply could. not. get. one-to-one correspondence. Usually this is well mastered by six years old or so. (Meaning if you asked her how many people were in the room, she could count them out easily, but when you asked her how many heads were in the room she counted them out again. Eventually, after weeks - and weeks - of coaching, she finally got that you could match things like heads, tails, noses, steering wheels and such if you just knew how many people, animals, cars, but it was a hard slog for all of us.)

    But dyscalculia? This is not about getting numbers confused - that's usually related to dyslexia. I've only ever seen two that I regarded as exhibiting dyscalculia - which amounted to having no comprehension of numbers. At all. They could use reading skills to identify the number missing from a sequence like 12, ... , 14, but if you asked what was the next number or the previous number for two numbers like 18, 19, they simply couldn't do it. Counting on fingers, using a ruler, looking at a number chart, counting on an abacus, using counters, they might eventually work it out, with patient guidance and coaching, but absolutely no fundamental understanding at all. If you asked them to add or subtract one from numbers like this, again they couldn't use any number sense to work it out in the first place nor to check their answers. (And they couldn't be trusted alone with an abacus - no concept of restarting every calculation by resetting back to 0. Un.bel.iev.ab.le answers to questions until you watched what they were and weren't doing. And when you explained what they had to do, they really, honestly, did not understand why and consistently forgot to do it unless they were watched like a hawk.)
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    There is only one thing you can do if you truly are bad at math, work at it take a lesson from Rock Lee (you know the bushy eyed guy from Naruto) Never give up practice from day in to day out, don't stop (I have just did maths for several hours now. Of course there were breaks, but I shouldn't have taken them Q~Q I have disappointed myself)

    Also, if you are lazy then don't learn math say screw it and get on your life like math doesn't exist. But mathematical literacy, or illiteracy in this case, will leave you at a disadvantage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bay Ridge View Post
    Okay so firs thing's first: I feel like more of a dunce than I usually do for posting here, because of the quality of the content in the other posts in this section.

    This is my story: My first memory of having issues regarding math goes back to 4th grade, when I was in advanced placement for everything that year. I did quite alright in whatever other subjects I was dealing with at the time, but math was tripping me up. Only thing I remember though is enjoying long division for some reason. I remember having many literal headaches due to whatever it was.

    Skip to high school, and I struggled with it for the 3 years I had to take it. We had this experimental program called IMP (Integrated Mathematics Program) in which after a certain amount of time we'd switch to a different sort of math: Geometry to Algebra to Trig for example. There were other bits of things in there too. Just can't name them off hand. I found these years extra hard due to what seemed to me to be a rapid switching between the types of math. I'm absolutely horrible at remembering ways to solve problems, and just when I'd get a grip on one thing (usually slower than others) we'd move on, I'd have to learn something new and I'd forget nearly everything I'd learned before. I did terrible on midterms and finals as a result.

    I did go to community college, and I did get through math, but not in the most....legitimate of ways.

    To keep things simple, anything beyond basic math is largely quite difficult for me. And even basic math I have difficulty with to an extent. I'm horrid at mental math, and look like a fool when I have to use my fingers (or take even longer doing it mentally). I get a feeling that it's a bit of a psychological thing too in that I've convinced myself after so many years that I'll always be terrible at math. But I'm not completely lying to myself. I want to do something about it, as it's rather important, especially since I'm considering another career than what I was planning on doing (although that's obviously another thread) -- I just don't know what to do.


    /-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-
    tl;dr - I've been terrible at math most of my life, and I'm tired of it. Just don't know how to get my stuff together.


    Sorry for the rant-like post. I appreciate any help.
    Math is like addiction it's like a drug. It's so attractive.

    When I was in 7th grade I hate maths too, I never got passed in Mathematics. Then one day I got a really very good teacher who taught us so great he taught us the concepts and he told us if you do practice regularly then you will like mathematics. Otherwise there is no chance of any attraction towards mathematics.
    To be honest I love Maths more than my girlfriend. I am so much addicted to it that without doing 10-15 questions I can't sleep. If you hate maths then think of it like an exercise because doing math put your brain at work which help you fight many brain diseases.

    I believe that you will like math if you do many questions. Find yourself a good tutor and pay your whole heart attention to the things taught in the class.
    And most important
    Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bay Ridge View Post
    Okay so firs thing's first: I feel like more of a dunce than I usually do for posting here, because of the quality of the content in the other posts in this section.

    This is my story: My first memory of having issues regarding math goes back to 4th grade, when I was in advanced placement for everything that year. I did quite alright in whatever other subjects I was dealing with at the time, but math was tripping me up. Only thing I remember though is enjoying long division for some reason. I remember having many literal headaches due to whatever it was.

    Skip to high school, and I struggled with it for the 3 years I had to take it. We had this experimental program called IMP (Integrated Mathematics Program) in which after a certain amount of time we'd switch to a different sort of math: Geometry to Algebra to Trig for example. There were other bits of things in there too. Just can't name them off hand. I found these years extra hard due to what seemed to me to be a rapid switching between the types of math. I'm absolutely horrible at remembering ways to solve problems, and just when I'd get a grip on one thing (usually slower than others) we'd move on, I'd have to learn something new and I'd forget nearly everything I'd learned before. I did terrible on midterms and finals as a result.

    I did go to community college, and I did get through math, but not in the most....legitimate of ways.

    To keep things simple, anything beyond basic math is largely quite difficult for me. And even basic math I have difficulty with to an extent. I'm horrid at mental math, and look like a fool when I have to use my fingers (or take even longer doing it mentally). I get a feeling that it's a bit of a psychological thing too in that I've convinced myself after so many years that I'll always be terrible at math. But I'm not completely lying to myself. I want to do something about it, as it's rather important, especially since I'm considering another career than what I was planning on doing (although that's obviously another thread) -- I just don't know what to do.


    /-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-
    tl;dr - I've been terrible at math most of my life, and I'm tired of it. Just don't know how to get my stuff together.


    Sorry for the rant-like post. I appreciate any help.

    You might be terrible in math because you are not interested in it, so you cannot focus your attention on it for a long time .

    Attention or concentration are keys to that , i suppose .

    or especially because you do not have what it takes to excell in maths : nothing wrong or offending about not being able to excell in math , simply because each individual is made to excell in some areas and not in others .

    Some have an artistic mind mainly , some are mainly attracted by science , others by the applications of science : technology ...some by manual work ...


    You can always try to develop your mathematical skills , but if you feel you cannot find yourself in math , so to speak, just don't do it or just do it as a hobby then .It makes no sense to try to prove yourself to yourself or to others by trying to excell in math >

    You motivation must lay elsewhere .

    Jung's so-called depth psychology might shed some light on why we do the things we do , why we choose a certain profession or education avove the other ones ...


    This free audiobook might help you in relation to concentration : The power of concentration by Theron Q.Dumon :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43WROOePcCQ
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepotter84 View Post
    Same here. Chem ruined me as a Bio Major...had to switch to Anthro and just take Bio courses as electives. You can still do a lot in life without being good at math.
    Exactly :

    We can be good in some areas and bad in others : pretty normal .

    That cannot prevent us from excelling in some other areas and have therefore an excellent life
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bay Ridge View Post
    Okay so firs thing's first: I feel like more of a dunce than I usually do for posting here, because of the quality of the content in the other posts in this section.

    This is my story: My first memory of having issues regarding math goes back to 4th grade, when I was in advanced placement for everything that year. I did quite alright in whatever other subjects I was dealing with at the time, but math was tripping me up. Only thing I remember though is enjoying long division for some reason. I remember having many literal headaches due to whatever it was.

    Skip to high school, and I struggled with it for the 3 years I had to take it. We had this experimental program called IMP (Integrated Mathematics Program) in which after a certain amount of time we'd switch to a different sort of math: Geometry to Algebra to Trig for example. There were other bits of things in there too. Just can't name them off hand. I found these years extra hard due to what seemed to me to be a rapid switching between the types of math. I'm absolutely horrible at remembering ways to solve problems, and just when I'd get a grip on one thing (usually slower than others) we'd move on, I'd have to learn something new and I'd forget nearly everything I'd learned before. I did terrible on midterms and finals as a result.

    I did go to community college, and I did get through math, but not in the most....legitimate of ways.

    To keep things simple, anything beyond basic math is largely quite difficult for me. And even basic math I have difficulty with to an extent. I'm horrid at mental math, and look like a fool when I have to use my fingers (or take even longer doing it mentally). I get a feeling that it's a bit of a psychological thing too in that I've convinced myself after so many years that I'll always be terrible at math. But I'm not completely lying to myself. I want to do something about it, as it's rather important, especially since I'm considering another career than what I was planning on doing (although that's obviously another thread) -- I just don't know what to do.


    /-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-
    tl;dr - I've been terrible at math most of my life, and I'm tired of it. Just don't know how to get my stuff together.


    Sorry for the rant-like post. I appreciate any help.
    I have the same problem, I am TERRIBLE at math. I could learn one thing, understand it and then after a five minute break it was all gone.

    I do wish to learn though, nice to see people posting so many resource links.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bay Ridge View Post
    Okay so firs thing's first: I feel like more of a dunce than I usually do for posting here, because of the quality of the content in the other posts in this section.

    This is my story: My first memory of having issues regarding math goes back to 4th grade, when I was in advanced placement for everything that year. I did quite alright in whatever other subjects I was dealing with at the time, but math was tripping me up. Only thing I remember though is enjoying long division for some reason. I remember having many literal headaches due to whatever it was.

    Skip to high school, and I struggled with it for the 3 years I had to take it. We had this experimental program called IMP (Integrated Mathematics Program) in which after a certain amount of time we'd switch to a different sort of math: Geometry to Algebra to Trig for example. There were other bits of things in there too. Just can't name them off hand. I found these years extra hard due to what seemed to me to be a rapid switching between the types of math. I'm absolutely horrible at remembering ways to solve problems, and just when I'd get a grip on one thing (usually slower than others) we'd move on, I'd have to learn something new and I'd forget nearly everything I'd learned before. I did terrible on midterms and finals as a result.

    I did go to community college, and I did get through math, but not in the most....legitimate of ways.

    To keep things simple, anything beyond basic math is largely quite difficult for me. And even basic math I have difficulty with to an extent. I'm horrid at mental math, and look like a fool when I have to use my fingers (or take even longer doing it mentally). I get a feeling that it's a bit of a psychological thing too in that I've convinced myself after so many years that I'll always be terrible at math. But I'm not completely lying to myself. I want to do something about it, as it's rather important, especially since I'm considering another career than what I was planning on doing (although that's obviously another thread) -- I just don't know what to do.


    /-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-
    tl;dr - I've been terrible at math most of my life, and I'm tired of it. Just don't know how to get my stuff together.


    Sorry for the rant-like post. I appreciate any help.
    Hi Bay Ridge!
    I understand your feelings, When I was in school Mathematics is one of my hate subjects, but good thing that on that year Homework-desk.com born. They help me all throughout my journey. If you still have struggled on this matter you can also visit Mymathdone.com they are also good to become your study body .
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    Certain people who do good in other subjects but not math often have a non-linear way of thinking. In history for instance they'll tune in to chapter 1, sleep through chapter 2, tune in to a really interesting chapter 3, and then go back to learn chapter 2 to better understand chapter 3 which excites them, getting an A on the test. This doesn't work at all in math. If history is like building a 1 story ranch house, math is like building a tower. You don't completely build floor 2 and there's no moving on to floor 3.

    I think math isn't about understanding complex things, its about understanding simple things very, very deeply. So if you don't breeze past the simple stuff in the early chapters of a book, but instead think about them very, very deeply, you'll find the other chapters become easy and you don't get lost. And lots of sleep.
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    Someone posed a math question.....I have NO clue if it is legitimate. If anyone can help? I'd appreciate! As you all know I am not a scientist or a mathematician.
    The sum of two consecutive even integers is 24. What are the two numbers?
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    Learn the reason for math, then the history of its use, the development of math, pythagoreas newton.Take a round about approach to it and learn it all.
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    One of the problems I originally had was my school taught it as a half-assed set of problems, not as a set of proofs - in order to understand something you need to know the point of it and to do that it's a good idea to study its history.
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    The sum of two consecutive even integers is 24. What are the two numbers?
    The sum? You sure it's not the product?
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Someone posed a math question.....I have NO clue if it is legitimate. If anyone can help? I'd appreciate! As you all know I am not a scientist or a mathematician.
    The sum of two consecutive even integers is 24. What are the two numbers?
    EDITED after Reading the F*cking question...If sum is correct I think you mean consecutive ODD numbers...

    if so the answer would 11 and 13.

    Say the two consecutive numbers are x and x+2

    the sum of them x+(x+2) = 2x+2 = 24
    x = 11

    If adelady is right and you mean the product of two consecutive even numbers the answer is 4 and 6.

    x(x+2) = x2+2x=24
    x = 4 (or -6)

    Working is shown so you can use it to solve similar probelms...
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    The sum of two consecutive even integers is 24. What are the two numbers?
    The sum? You sure it's not the product?
    I just quoted what they said, Adelady!! I am certainly NOT a math person. Thanks for replying, however. I do appreciate it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Someone posed a math question.....I have NO clue if it is legitimate. If anyone can help? I'd appreciate! As you all know I am not a scientist or a mathematician.
    The sum of two consecutive even integers is 24. What are the two numbers?
    EDITED after Reading the F*cking question...

    the answer is 11 and 13.

    Say the two consecutive even numbers are x and x+2

    the sum of them x+(x+2) = 2x+2 = 24
    x = 11
    Thank you also!! Sir Demon!!! I also appreciate your answering. I posted what the question posted to a room not on this forum. I am NOT NOT NOT math......it terrifies me.
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    I find that visual representations of math are the most enlightening.

    Also, I think I ended up in bizzarro world. When did 11 and 13 become even numbers?
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    I think the question is in error. As I said in my (edited) post if "sum" is correct the question must mean ODD numbers, or else the question should be asking for the product of two even numbers not the sum.
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    Perhaps things would have been different if teachings focussed on the understanding of maths as opposed to it's mere application.

    I think most of us, if we spent the time could apply a chosen method of mathematical application to produce a result but it takes a true mathematician to determine when to apply a particular technique to solve a particular problem. This understanding can really only come from a deeper understanding of the theory of mathematics and why it is appropriate to choose a particular technique over another.

    The same could possibly be said for any curriculum.

    In my opinion before you give the tools of mathematics to a scholar, you should ensure that they need to know which tool to pick up to do the job.

    The foundations of mathematics is often dispatched by curriculum as 'historical niceties' as opposed to being fundamentally necessary to prompt 'actual learning' as opposed to being able to simply apply a particular method.

    ....and yes, I wish I could find the time to actually learn mathematics as it is particularly frustrating when searching for answers to universal questions to be reliant on those that can do maths well. I envy those (and you know who you are) who are in a position to search for those answers independently. :-))
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    Pretty much the only thing stopping anyone from learning math is their own fear of it.

    Also: The Stereotypes About Math That Hold Americans Back - Jo Boaler - The Atlantic
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    I think the question is in error. As I said in my (edited) post if "sum" is correct the question must mean ODD numbers, or else the question should be asking for the product of two even numbers not the sum.
    Sir PHDEMON!! Many Mahalo's!! I very very much appreciate EVERY PERSON who took the time to answer my question!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster View Post
    Pretty much the only thing stopping anyone from learning math is their own fear of it.

    Also: The Stereotypes About Math That Hold Americans Back - Jo Boaler - The Atlantic
    There is fear and there is terror. I have stated before in this forum, though probably not this thread that I have balanced 4 million dollar budgets.....but ask me a math question and I turn into a jelly bean......actually more like a GUMMY BEAR!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    The sum of two consecutive even integers is 24. What are the two numbers?
    Any EVEN integer x satisfies x mod 2 = 0

    So 2 mod 2 + 4 mod 2 = (2 + 4) mod 2 = 6 mod 2 = 0

    So 24 mod 2 = 0 and since 0 = 0 this implies 6 mod 2 = (2 + 4) mod 2 = 24 mod 2

    The answer is 2 + 4 = 24 ( all modulo 2)

    And if you don't like modulo 2 arithmetic, try modulo 9 - it works just as well.

    Try it - you will like it, as modulo 9 arithmetic is just another name for base 10 arithmetic with which I assume you are all familiar
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    I always did well in math. The irony is that as a geologist I haven't needed anymore than grade 10 math in 35 years in the career...although I had to take some quite advanced courses in university.

    I enjoy math but its a bit of a shame that some otherwise brilliant people are stifled from entering the sciences. I'd much rather my doctor have good communication skills to advise me of a diagnosis or treatment than him having an aptitude to do differential equations.Certain professions have become lacking in people skills over time....too much emphasis on math achievement to enter them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    The sum of two consecutive even integers is 24. What are the two numbers?
    Any EVEN integer x satisfies x mod 2 = 0

    So 2 mod 2 + 4 mod 2 = (2 + 4) mod 2 = 6 mod 2 = 0
    So 24 mod 2 = 0 and since 0 = 0 this implies 6 mod 2 = (2 + 4) mod 2 = 24 mod 2

    The answer is 2 + 4 = 24 ( all modulo 2)

    And if you don't like modulo 2 arithmetic, try modulo 9 - it works just as well.

    Try it - you will like it, as modulo 9 arithmetic is just another name for base 10 arithmetic with which I assume you are all familiar
    I have no clue as to what you said. But thanks for the answer!
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    I have no clue as to what you said. But thanks for the answer!
    Well, I have no idea where the comprehension problem arises - it would help if you could be specific.

    Look - this is a Mathematics sub-forum. Please don't ask questions whose answers you are

    a) not equipped to understand AND

    b) not willing to try and understand by asking further questions.

    Some of us here genuinely try to help out in mathematics - are we wasting our time?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    I have no clue as to what you said. But thanks for the answer!
    Well, I have no idea where the comprehension problem arises - it would help if you could be specific.

    Look - this is a Mathematics sub-forum. Please don't ask questions whose answers you are

    a) not equipped to understand AND

    b) not willing to try and understand by asking further questions.

    Some of us here genuinely try to help out in mathematics - are we wasting our time?
    MY question was a question, to which I had no answer. YOu may have provided an answer, however, though I can pass on that information to the person who asked me the question, it makes no sense to me.


    and by the way the name of this thread it: Thread: Why am I terrible at math, and what can I do about it?

    If asking a question, which if you scrolled back you would see I had. You would understand that I was not off subject.

    Mahalo.
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    and by the way the name of this thread it: Thread: Why am I terrible at math, and what can I do about it? .
    Yes, I can read.

    I cannot speak to the general case, but in yours it would appear that a) you have never really tried and b) Nothing, since you seem unwilling to try, even to the simple extent of asking questions of those who try to help you (albeit in the present case, somewhat tongue-in-cheek).

    Look if you are not interested in mathematics, the solution is simple........
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    I have no clue as to what you said. But thanks for the answer!
    Well, I have no idea where the comprehension problem arises - it would help if you could be specific. Look - this is a Mathematics sub-forum. Please don't ask questions whose answers you area) not equipped to understand ANDb) not willing to try and understand by asking further questions.Some of us here genuinely try to help out in mathematics - are we wasting our time?
    MY question was a question, to which I had no answer. YOu may have provided an answer, however, though I can pass on that information to the person who asked me the question, it makes no sense to me.and by the way the name of this thread it: Thread: Why am I terrible at math, and what can I do about it? If asking a question, which if you scrolled back you would see I had. You would understand that I was not off subject. Mahalo.
    Agree 100%. Hopefully playing guitar for 43 years hasn't given me poor people skills. We guitarists tend to be laid back about things.Back to subject. Some people have poor math skills but good reading comprehension skills as in understanding the initial question
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    I find that something like 9 times out of 10, if someone is bad at math, it is for one of two reasons:

    1) - Order of operations.

    Did you ever watch the original Karate Kid movie? Do you remember "wax on, wax off", "paint the fence"..... etc....

    Order of operations is the "wax on, wax off" of math. It is impossible to be good at math if you are not an absolute pro at order of operations. Master that, and everything else is at your finger tips.


    2) - They missed a section.

    Math builds on itself. If you miss even one section, or just learn it inadequately (just memorize stuff to pass the test) then nothing afterwards will ever click for you. You simply have to go back to the last section of your education where you were doing well, and take whatever was being taught the next class and re-learn it.

    There is no substitute for a solid foundation. Try to build without one and whatever you create will always crumble.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  53. #52  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fossilborealis View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    I have no clue as to what you said. But thanks for the answer!
    Well, I have no idea where the comprehension problem arises - it would help if you could be specific. Look - this is a Mathematics sub-forum. Please don't ask questions whose answers you area) not equipped to understand ANDb) not willing to try and understand by asking further questions.Some of us here genuinely try to help out in mathematics - are we wasting our time?
    MY question was a question, to which I had no answer. YOu may have provided an answer, however, though I can pass on that information to the person who asked me the question, it makes no sense to me.and by the way the name of this thread it: Thread: Why am I terrible at math, and what can I do about it? If asking a question, which if you scrolled back you would see I had. You would understand that I was not off subject. Mahalo.
    Agree 100%. Hopefully playing guitar for 43 years hasn't given me poor people skills. We guitarists tend to be laid back about things.Back to subject. Some people have poor math skills but good reading comprehension skills as in understanding the initial question
    Being a poor guitarist player, but an excellent vocalist and actor....and reading comprehension in any field if vital. You seem to have continued to retain this skill.
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  54. #53  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    I find that something like 9 times out of 10, if someone is bad at math, it is for one of two reasons:

    1) - Order of operations.

    Did you ever watch the original Karate Kid movie? Do you remember "wax on, wax off", "paint the fence"..... etc....

    Order of operations is the "wax on, wax off" of math. It is impossible to be good at math if you are not an absolute pro at order of operations. Master that, and everything else is at your finger tips.


    2) - They missed a section.

    Math builds on itself. If you miss even one section, or just learn it inadequately (just memorize stuff to pass the test) then nothing afterwards will ever click for you. You simply have to go back to the last section of your education where you were doing well, and take whatever was being taught the next class and re-learn it.

    There is no substitute for a solid foundation. Try to build without one and whatever you create will always crumble.
    There is most like a lot of truth in what you said. I think when they threw "new math" into the mix.......it threw me out of the mix.
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    So true. Talk about new vs old math...Then there was 'real old' math. I was transferred into a school in Norwich, England in 1971. The trig equations looked like something from Isaac Newton. I moved a lot (5 high schools in 4 countries). I could wing everything else but often had no idea what was going on in math class even though I was good at it.'Back then' there were zero resources. Read the chapter, look blankly at the few examples and that was it.

    Today, in contrast, when I want to look up some differential equation, etc....Google is my friend. Instant YouTube videos on a lecture... or visuals of the graph of variables changing as a solid object is rotated...or alternative approaches on statistics, etc. So much support out there 'if' if a student at least has the desire to learn. Our province even has a homework hotline for high school kids to help them with math, essays, etc. A parent can also request a tutor provided by the province.

    Anyways...there are options today to at least help a student tread water instead of looking at a math test book as some unfathomable enigmatic spawn of Satan.
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    My question to you is this, what are you good at? There might be different ways to look at the problem. You could accept the fact that you are not the master mathematician and accept the things you are good at, or you have to stop telling yourself that you are not good at maths. If you keep telling your brain that you are not good at maths it will develop that way, however if you keep repeating it to yourself that you are going to be better at it, you will become better, words are power. The trick I have discovered about teaching oneself is repetition, even when you think it makes no sense keep telling yourself the same thing and slowly you notice a change.
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    Here's a math problem:
    Given a circle, place points A, B, and C on the circle such that the measure of arc ABC is twice the measure of arc AB. Then, the length of the segment AC is 3sqrt(3) and the length of the line segment AB is 3. Then place a point D on the circle that doesn't lie on arc ABC. What is the measure of angle ADC?
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  58. #57  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fossilborealis View Post
    So true. Talk about new vs old math...Then there was 'real old' math. I was transferred into a school in Norwich, England in 1971. The trig equations looked like something from Isaac Newton. I moved a lot (5 high schools in 4 countries). I could wing everything else but often had no idea what was going on in math class even though I was good at it.'Back then' there were zero resources. Read the chapter, look blankly at the few examples and that was it.

    Today, in contrast, when I want to look up some differential equation, etc....Google is my friend. Instant YouTube videos on a lecture... or visuals of the graph of variables changing as a solid object is rotated...or alternative approaches on statistics, etc. So much support out there 'if' if a student at least has the desire to learn. Our province even has a homework hotline for high school kids to help them with math, essays, etc. A parent can also request a tutor provided by the province.

    Anyways...there are options today to at least help a student tread water instead of looking at a math test book as some unfathomable enigmatic spawn of Satan.
    Well said. No resources when I was a kid. I can, however do accounting!! SO how does that happen?
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  59. #58  
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    its
    8 + 16 = 24
    just study sequences and you'll know how
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