How to pass Mathematics: You have to work at it


How do I pass mathematics has been the question that most students who struggle with mathematics have uttered numerous times. Yes. You have to work at it! There is no magical formula. There is no secret code. In addition, this may be surprising to many, but only a very small percent of people are actually born with it. The vast majority of us who have learnt to be successful in mathematics had to work at it.

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Yes. You pass mathematics by working at it. But how does someone work to pass mathematics. You can’t study mathematics like how you would study social studies or history. Working at mathematics involves you having to actually do mathematics. The teacher may explain how to do a particular problem. The unsuccessful mathematics student will simply look at the teacher’s demonstration and conclude “I know how to do that”. But how can you be so sure without actually trying it out? Can you conclude that you can ride a bike by simply watching a rider? Of course not! The same logic applies to you learning mathematics. You must try it out to know which parts give you difficulty. You need to know if you can easily remember the steps.

But now you have tried to repeat what the teacher did and you have been successful. Does that mean that you have learnt? Does that mean that you are ready? The answer is a resounding no! You still need to practice the skill to gain mastery. There are great practice websites such as Khan Academy or you can download some of my free worksheets on the topic that you are practicing. Working at mathematics requires you to practice the skill over and over again until your brain can perform the actions seamlessly. Here the bike analogy applies again. In order to be a good rider you must practice the act over and over again. You ride as much as you can.

The student who wants to learn mathematics must work at it but redoing what was demonstrated and continually practicing concepts over and over until these concepts become second nature.

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