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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fixing study problems(2) - "I skip the proofs."


( Continued from yesterday. )

Lack of mass.

Take trigonometry for example. I remember myself saying things like "Why do I have to study this? Is this really important? Will I ever be able to apply this?" Readers of this blog know that trig is very important in mathematics. And in the physical sciences, engineering, game development and even in financial engineering, trig skills are essential. Still, at this very moment, millions of children are struggling with trig because trig is =difficult= (*). As a result however they start asking questions like I used to ask 'why do I have to learn this?'.

Do you ever speak about the topic you have to study at the moment ( besides that you don't get it )? If you do, then it has mass for you, and lack of mass is not the problem. So if you have a study issues at all, they occur further down the line. But if you think your issues are related to the topic itself then the following things may be of interest.

Looking at your topic from a different perspective might help, read books written for the general public, watch documentaries. You need to find a 'click' with your subject. So that finding out things about it comes natural and not as a struggle just to collect some tma points.

Imagine a student fairly good in math but with little affection to abstract algebra. A typical reaction might be, that he/she likes 'applied math', or likes to 'calculate stuff', or the notorious:

'I skip the proofs.'.

Most scientists see that numbers are everywhere, but it takes mathematical maturity to see that numbers are merely properties of mathematical objects at a ( much ) deeper level. My point being that before the student can get over that reluctance to study abstract algebra he has to know that it is literally everywhere.

Talking to people who love your subject helps a lot. And thanks to the Internet you can always find them. You can always decide later that studying your topic is not for you anyway. It is important to recognize that you are not to blame for not 'getting it'. But it is not the subject fault's either. Studying a subject only works if you like it. Is that all there is? I am afraid so. Its like communicating with a person over Internet that you have never met before. Its easy to give up on them.

#1. There is no such thing as 'not getting it'.
#2. Get to know your topic first.
#3. Studying comes natural if you ( start to ) like your topic.

More later.

(*) A more important question is if trigonometry is really difficult or just made difficult.


  1. I love maths very much. What do I do during my semester is rather silly. I fell in love with a topic like say differential equation. I buy books and start researching on it. Its application, who are the scientists, mathematicians developed this concept, how did they do. In the meantime my semester course is short, progressive and little to do with the concept. Students who gets A+ are those who just have learned the method to do the problems, have solved prescribed book problems, and practiced thoroughly. I may say that they are concerned about grades and they take easier way to it. But I fail greatly. If I come across a theorem, I reason it. I find the proofs consent myself that yes this is right this is wrong. The A+ student don't care about this. And when the exams come I am lagging behind. I know the Proof, how was it done, I know why it is done, What is the concept behind. But I haven't done any maths. I don't remember this Integration, I don't have experience of solving problems. I in the end I end up getting P(PASS) or D grade .

  2. Impressive information.Scientific fields that make use of trigonometry include:
    acoustics, architecture, astronomy , cartography, civil engineering, geophysics, crystallography, electrical engineering, electronics, land surveying and geodesy, many physical sciences, mechanical engineering, machining, medical imaging , number theory, oceanography, optics, pharmacology, probability theory, seismology, statistics, and visual perception
    That these fields involve trigonometry does not mean knowledge of trigonometry is needed in order to learn anything about them. It does mean that some things in these fields cannot be understood without trigonometry.


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Mathematics: is it the fabric of MEST?
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(Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion, colloquially aka Raumpatrouille Orion was the first German science fiction television series. Its seven episodes were broadcast by ARD beginning September 17, 1966. The series has since acquired cult status in Germany. Broadcast six years before Star Trek first aired in West Germany (in 1972), it became a huge success.)