An advice given by Littlewood to Ingham ( both were giants in Number Theory while Littlewood, together with Hardy of course, got Ramanujan to Cambridge ) is the following:
Albert Ingham was educated at Stafford Grammar School, and from there he won a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, in December 1917. After spending a few months in the army towards the end of World War I, he began his studies in January 1919. An outstanding undergraduate career saw him awarded distinction in the Mathematical Tripos and win a Smith's prize and the highest honours. In 1922 he was elected to a fellowship at Trinity for a dissertation on the zeta function and his next four years were occupied only with research, a few months of which were spent at Göttingen. During this time Ingham was greatly influenced by Littlewood who gave him the advice to:-
... work at a hard problem: you may not solve it but you'll solve another one.
An advice I have taken long ago. When you generally work on harder problems than those presented to you in TMA's and/or exams, your TMA questions tend to become trivial. This is one possible method to score high marks for your TMA's. Other known proven recipe's which I do not advise are:
- ask someone with a degree 'to help you' ;
- target a student in the forums and offer him help ( not knowing he is going to do all the helping himself );
- post portions of your questions in Dr Math type of forums, mathematicians are very helpful;
If you have a blog ( in mathematics, or any other field ) and people start acting friendly then they are working towards asking you
- to 'exchange' some OU course books;
- to 'compare' answers on a TMA.
Make sure you always say NO, you don't owe them anything. Friendly visitors come in many disguises.