Here’s A Big Secret To Being Good At Math

Math is a major problem for many people. “F…! F…! F…!” Other folks seem to be almost supernaturally
gifted when it comes to numbers. If you aren’t naturally blessed in this department,
does that mean you’re going to be one-upped by math wizards for your whole entire life? “This equation is never true. It looks very simple, but in mathematics,
proving that something doesn’t exist is always harder than proving that something exists.” Well, don’t worry, because you can actually
improve your math abilities in several ways. Many people believe math is a skill you can
learn through hard work and practice. At the very least, there are reportedly lots
of little things that anyone can do in order to improve their math abilities…and it starts
with picking up some basic foundational skills. According to Sciencing: “Start with memorization. Although the school system seems to discourage
memorization as a way to learn spelling and math, it can work.” It’s sound advice, so how about memorizing
your multiplication tables first, let’s say through twelve? Does anyone know why that’s a good idea? “Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!” Here’s the answer: Down the line, this will
simplify the process of performing more complex equations, which in turn will allow you to
take on more complicated problems. Think about any skill you’ve learned. Do you think about all the individual processes
required to walk down the street? Do you think about lifting one leg after another,
bending at the knee while you’re swinging your arms side to side? No you don’t. You just walk, because your mind has grouped
the basic processes into one fluid action. That’s why memorization and rote repetition
is so important with math. It helps transform a bunch of complicated
components into one smooth, effortless action. It’s just like learning how to walk. You need to practice, practice, practice the
math skill you’re going to use, just like you’re learning a new language. In fact, many well-regarded scientists actually
consider mathematics to be a language. Galileo once said, “[The universe] cannot be read until we have
learned the language and become familiar with the characters in which it is written. It is written in mathematical language.” Meet Barbara Oakley, the author of A Mind
for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra). In an article she wrote for Nautilus, Oakley
points out that “In the current educational climate, memorization
and repetition…are often seen as demeaning and a waste of time for students and teachers
alike.” Oakley goes on to note that American mathematics
education tends to emphasize active discussion over repetition…which is the equivalent
of learning a large vocabulary of words in a foreign language but never trying to speak
that language fluently. “Sandwich. Do you have a cheese sandwich?” Oakley writes that, “There is an interesting connection between
learning math and science, and learning a sport. When you learn how to swing a golf club, you
perfect that swing from lots of repetition over a period of years. Your body knows what to do from a single thought,
one chunk, instead of having to recall all the complex steps involved in hitting a ball.” There’s no reason to look down on educational
systems that make students spend hours going over problems again and again. This model of learning emphasizes fluency,
which ultimately helps your brain group more complex problems and equations into “chunks,”
the same way we learn letters, then words, sentences, and paragraphs. “D-O-G. Dog.” As Oakley told Forbes in 2016, “I’m becoming increasingly convinced that
‘chunking’ is the mother of all learning, or at least the fairy godmother. Chunking is what happens when you know something
so well, like a song, or a scientific formula, or a verb conjugation, or a dance routine,
that it is basically a snap to call it to mind and do it or use it.” In a 2015 Google Talk, Oakley argued that, “But what you’re really doing when you’re
learning and mastering a topic is you are, in some sense, creating a library of chunks.” Oakley went from being a 26-year student of
foreign language who avoided math at all costs to a college professor of engineering. Her story is proof that you don’t need to
limit yourself based on what you think you can and can’t do. Immersion is the quickest path to fluency,
and if we consider math a language, immersion is essential. So how can we begin to immerse ourselves in
math, day to day? Start by removing your math crutches, like
digital clocks and other tools that perform simple calculations for you. “One, two, three, four, five new ones. Now can I have one?” Your brain is a muscle and it needs to be
worked out. Be accountable. Do your homework, not because you have to,
but because it’s what will ultimately give you the experience needed to become fluent
in the language of math. Will this strategy work? You can count on it. “Twenty-two thousand two-hundred…twenty-two
thousand two-hundred twenty…” And when you get a question wrong, don’t beat
yourself up, figure out why. By doing this thoroughly, you’ll ensure that
you don’t repeat the same mistakes. “Even if you are right, that would be one
plus one plus two plus one, not one plus two plus one plus one.” “Okay, fine. One plus two plus one. SHUT UP!” Soon enough, your skills will vastly improve. “One, two, three, four…” “Doug, if I might…” When all else fails, don’t be afraid to ask
for help. emphasizes the importance of
being willing to ask for assistance when you’re stumped. Otherwise, your misunderstandings will snowball
over time. Take some advice from Po-Shen Loh, the national
coach for the USA International Math Olympiad Team: “If you just constantly challenge, and enjoy
the love of doing better today than you did yesterday, then you will be on an onward march
towards success.” There’s nothing to be ashamed of when you’re
trying to learn, and asking questions is the fastest way to begin understanding. And now, grab your pencils, we’re going to
give you a surprise pop quiz. “You can’t do that!” No we can’t, but we would if the technology
was there. In conclusion, keep this in mind: Performing
the basic skills of memorization and repetition in a way that will help you “chunk” your learning
will ultimately help you form a foundation that can be built upon over time. Then you’ll be well on the path to success,
ya genius! Alright, so let’s get started…right now! Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about your favorite
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30 thoughts on “Here’s A Big Secret To Being Good At Math”

  1. Here's a way to get better at math, have schools teach it the way it used to be taught instead of this new confusing way that they do now.

  2. Thanks to this video, i´m now working on being a genuis like Einstein with the Golf skills as Tiger Woods, and a body like Arnold. Didn´t know it was so simple 😀

  3. But why 12 ? Wouldn't it be better to excel multiplication from zero to ten ? And then do the thing in chunks like said. It's the fucking ten base system after all. We don't use binary, like machines do, nor do we use a duodecimal system(base 12).

  4. Math is language without emotions…..the emotional struggle to express their desires, rather than understand what they aren't understanding.

  5. When I was young I became exasperated at my inadequate math skills. So, like he says, I determined to immerse myself in math by reading books about it. One, Math for the Million, was popular long ago. I took college math courses which were not even required for my major like physics and calculus. I went into a mathematical field, accounting.

  6. It's weird that you get it and to make it make sense. Math literally if memorization esp because there are rules or formulas that have been figured out that you have to do it that way in those steps in a specific order.

  7. Yep. I grew up in an earlier time where reps were the deal. The deal now is communication as in a meeting of some sort like with a committee? As far as I know advances tend to be done by individuals. So if your idea is to be a good factory worker or do cutting edge? There was a recent article in C&EN (an ACS journal) that chemical companies make a lot more $ from breakthroughs, given that the reps have it.

  8. I can add a couple of things:

    Part of the beauty of math is that it isn't subjective. It's much tougher for a teacher who doesn't like you to punish you with bad grades. There's an integrity to math beyond any other discipline. Appreciating this fact helps you to appreciate and enjoy math, which will reflect in your performance.

    Another thing is that if you do the work, maybe frustrating at first, to maintain a high skill level, (for example, getting 90% grades), you'll ultimately work much less and have much better results than if you're always catching up. It's sort of like doing carpentry with the right tools and materials vs. improvising with the wrong tools and discarded materials. If you create a solid foundation and build on it, you'll perform like a genius.

  9. My brain doesn't have the capacity to learn complex subjects like math and science. Due to having a low drive to excel in school, I ended up being labeled a loser and failure by family members as well as my peers. I am now middle-aged, physically disabled, and unemployed- unsuccessful at finding a job due to my limited mobility. Oh, how I wish I was born a child prodigy.

  10. Abandon the silly idea that some people are 'natural born mathematicians'. It is all 100% hard work and obsession, and absolutely anybody can do whatever they put their mind to, as long as they don't give up.

  11. I always been "good" but I put it down to just knowing things like this and little tricks I worked out myself…e.g I don't know my times table but I know key ones like 7×8 and from there I can work out others. So 8×8 is 56 +8 and 7×9 is 56 plus 7 and I work out out like that….

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