Mathematics is indeed one of the most challenging subjects and most students face difficulty in solving challenging problems of mathematics. However, with a bit of smart work (and hard work), you can surely be an expert in mathematics and ace the competitive exams easily.
First of all, understand that mathematics requires great analytical ability – the ability to read, comprehend, make conclusions and use the known techniques to solve a problem. So, to be good at mathematics, you will have to develop the analytical ability – the ability to think critically.
How to do that?
Well, there is no magic potion that will build your thinking skills overnight. It’s a matter of hard work, patience and dedication. However, noting the following pointers will surely ease your task:
- Experience always helps: If you face a new problem, try correlating it to some problem you have done before. This will help you to analyse the problem better. However, for that, you should have some prior experience. So, solve a large number of problems of varying difficulty and varying types to gain experience.
- Do not give up: It is very important to spend considerable time on a problem before giving up. Of course, your time is precious and you have more to do than just sitting on your chair, stuck on a single problem. However, do understand that the time you spend in analysing the problem from various angles will be the time when your analytical ability will be built. You will not learn anything new by solving a problem you already know. All you will do is end up improving your speed and possibly accuracy. The actual learning happens when you spend time on a new problem and try to come up with a solution yourself after assembling what you have learnt.
- Make notes: Some people think that mathematics is all about retaining formulae in mind and so, there is no need of making notes. Well, this is where you are mistaken. Always make notes. Write down important points. Do not forget to mention some theoretical points which you find to be new ones. These are the points which will be evaluated in competitive examinations and it is always better to remember theory as well.
- Ideas are more important: It’s the ideas that matter. Focus on the core concept rather than simple non trivial aspects of a problem. Say for example, there is a tricky differential equations problem. The important aspect is to reduce it finally to an integration problem. Solving the integration is not as much important as the reduction step. However, for the sake of completeness, you should always solve a problem completely and try to match the answer. You never know when you find a bug in your “so trivial” solution
Having mentioned the above points, it is worth mentioning that mathematics is learnt from practice and only practice. There is no other formula to be good at mathematics.
Be patient with the problems. Remember the thumb rule – do not give up until you have spent considerable time thinking on the problem. Only when you are not able to come up with any solution after spending lots of time, should you approach your friends/teachers/solutions.
We hope that this article helps you to get better at mathematics and score more in the subject.
About the Author
|Aman Goel is B.Tech, computer science and engineering undergraduate student at Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Born in a business oriented family of Kanpur he secured an All India Rank 33 in JEE advanced 2013 and also scored 323/360 in JEE main 2013. He has also cleared Indian National Physics and Chemistry Olympiads, and KVPY. In his free time, he likes to write articles related to JEE preparation. He loves speedcubing (the art of speed solving a Rubik's cube) and also loves to play computer/mobile games.|