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Question
Hello sir

First of all i want to thank  you for your help for clearing my confusions.On 26th march 2016 my maths exam was there and exam gone very nice.

Sir i want an suggestion from you that always when i study any concept of math i get confused and i am not able to understand the concept easily if i am not familiar with it. I take long time to understand the new concepts.And in exam one incedent happened that  before writting exam  i was worried that how exam i will write  because only two concepts i have not prepared , means i prepared but not that much , that i prepared for other concepts. So after seeing the question paper i was relaxed because it was easy and when i was solving the paper i know al the answers and method that's why i became over confident, it not affected my paper  this time because any hoe i managed but i am worried about future that like this i became over confident , than i will loose my marks.

So that's why i want you to suggest the ways
2nd thing i want to aviod the confusion while reading any maths concepts.Please sugest the ways
3rd thing i want you to sugest the ways that i could understand the new concepts easily. Sir if the reason behind the slow understanding is my maths base is not strong  then what can i do for making my maths base strong.


Thankyou

Answer
Hi Aishwarya,

When you have trouble with something, ask questions.  Consult teachers, peers, textbooks, and sometimes the Internet, as helpful and accurate pages can be found out there.  Don't settle for not understanding.  If you don't get it the first time, read it over some more.  If it still does not make sense, then write down a few specific questions you have about the concept (i.e. what is it you don't understand) and go ask to get some help.

You should always begin from a conceptual perspective, making sure you understand what is actually going on.  If at any point you find yourself just using formulas and moving around symbols, stop and reconsider what you're doing.  If it does not make sense conceptually, go ask some questions or read up on it some more!  Mathematics is about using tools to solve problems.  It is not about using formulas just because.  This is, unfortunately, often at odds with how math is taught (because using formulas is "easy").
Of course, you need to know the formulas and methods too.  But, if you find yourself easily solving questions without understanding why, in the long run it will be a problem.  Don't settle for not understanding.  You can probably piece it together from examples you have seen, but if the method conceptually does not make sense to you, make the effort to understand.  Failure to do so will make more difficult concepts extremely challenging to pick up later on, as they often rely on simpler building blocks.

Understanding new concepts easily requires you to be comfortable with earlier concepts.  If you find your math base to not be strong, then 1) make sure you understand those earlier concepts, and 2) practice.  Redo old problems if you need to increase your comfort, and eventually speed.  For example, you are solving algebraic equations with fractions, and you are having difficulty finding common denominators.  Then you should go back and practice your basic fractions some more (with numbers), until you are comfortable.  It is necessary to go back and do this sometimes, and there is no shame in it.
What you will likely find is the better you understand something conceptually, the harder it is to forget.  You may need a quick refresh, but that concept will help you to understand a more complicated one with more ease.

If there are only two things you take from this message, let it be these:

1) Don't settle for not understanding.
2) Practice.

Hope this helps,
Azeem

Geometry

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Azeem Hussain

Expertise

I welcome your questions on algebra, 2D and 3D geometry, parabolic functions and conic sections, and any other mathematical queries you may have.

Experience

4 years as a drop-in and by-appointment tutor at Champlain College. Private tutor for dozens of clients over the past 8 years.

Publications
CALPHAD: Computer Coupling of Phase Diagrams and Thermochemistry

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Science, Major Mathematics and Major Economics, McGill University, 2014. Diploma of Collegiate Studies; Pure and Applied Science, Champlain College Saint-Lambert, 2010.

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