Monday, September 29, 2008

Steps in Learning Mathematics

I advise my child to follow the same procedure as given below. Of course the following paragraphs were not written by me. I shall give the reference below.

Step by Step learning:

Learn theory and formulae first.

Practice them in written.

You should start reading solved-examples only after learning the concepts and formulae. This is must for easy understanding of the solved-examples as in every questions you use multiple formulae. If you don’t remember formulae well, you will take more time to understand the solution.

After finishing examples, you need to solve level-1 (easy-to-average level) problems.

How to decide level?
If you are not able to solve, go through solution.

If you can understand the solution by just glancing it (as a hint), then it is level-1 (easy-to-difficult) problem.

If you have to go through complete solution step by step and then finally you can understand the solution, then it is a level-2 (average-to-difficult) problem.

If you find it hard to understand solution, it means it is level-3 (difficult-to-very difficult) problem. These levels are relative as every student has his own potential.

Once you have solved 30-40 level-1 problems and have thoroughly revised them to a level that you remember the ideas of most of them, you can then move to level-2 problems.

Practice at least 30-40 level-2 problems.

Don’t solve level-3 problems. They are not important and you can confidently leave them. Trying to solve them can be negative as they can break your confidence in the topic.

Revision and Re-Learning:

Generally when you are not able to solve problems, you see their solutions. But you do nothing after that. In 1-2 weeks time you forget the solution. I am sure if you face that question again, you would not be able to solve it. So what is the point spending time on the question at first stage.

I suggest after reading the solution, you try to solve it yourself with paper and pen. Don’t worry if you know the solution now as you have read the solution. Mind will retain only if you do it with your hands. Then, mark the level of the question for future revision.

After few week, try all questions again which are level -1 and Level-2. Do them like a test. Shortlist 50 such questions and take a 2-hours test. Even before exam, when you are confused what to revise, take out Level-1 and Level-2 (or just level-2) problems and revise them. If you don’t mark them, you cannot revise them.


I tell my child not to attempt homework till she completes study of the lesson first at house. Attempt solving problems only after studying the theory and formulae adequately.

I am writing in my study schedules to mark the problems as difficult (which are found to be difficult) and I am specifically mentioning in daily study plans to revise them once again.

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