Tutor Doctor | Feb 18, 2014

The Ultimate Guide to Being Good at Math

Categories: Math Tutor, Find a Tutor

A recent study found that while natural ability does help some students to grasp mathematic concepts faster, it only gets you through the first three grades. What that means is that everyone can be good at math. The good news is that, no matter how much you may struggle with math, if you are patient and determined, you can get great grades.

Imagine not dreading your math homework, imagine feeling confident about your upcoming exams. If you have always struggled to do well in math, then this is your guide to improving your math grades.

It’s all in the attitude

In a study by Patricia Linehan for Purdue University, she found that people have two attitudes to learning. One in which they believe that studying and effort will improve their abilities and one in which they believe that they either can or can’t do something and no amount of practice will help. This unfortunate attitude is called entity orientation.

When we have an entity orientation attitude towards math, we believe that we will never be good at math, no matter how much we practice or how hard we work. When you have this attitude towards math, you will find it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as you aren’t motivated to try.

Studies have found that anyone who practices math with a positive attitude will see an improvement. Since natural talent plays such a small part when it comes to math, it means that a change in attitude is the first step to success.

Ask yourself what your attitude is and work at changing it. You can improve, and you will improve if you work hard and persevere.

How are your building blocks?

Math is a subject that requires strong foundations. If there are gaps in your knowledge from previous grades, you will find it increasingly difficult to grasp more developed concepts. You may need help with the building blocks of your knowledge.

The best thing to do here is to get a tutor. A math tutor will be able to examine your knowledge base and identify the gaps which are causing you to fall behind in class. Once you have filled in the gaps, you will be amazed at how much more sense new concepts make to you. You will find it easier to understand math and won’t have trouble keeping up with the class.

You only need a tutor to help build a solid foundation for you and get you up to speed so that you are at the same level as the rest of your class, then you should be able to keep up on your own.

Practice makes perfect

Once you have your building blocks in place, the key to math success is practice. You should set aside some time every day to work on your math problems. Try working for twenty minutes and then taking a five minute break. Studies show that twenty minutes is a small enough increment to not seem too daunting a task, but its long enough to work through a couple of sums.