At the beginning of the year, time to contemplate some resolutions perhaps – an annual update – all links checked and some new ones added:
Firstly, remember the
ten eleven commandments!
Also available as a poster: 11-commandments-mathematics
To elaborate a little more on some of these and provide some further links:
1 – reading and understanding the problem
See this document from The University of California, Berkeley for a succinct guide to Polya’s problem-solving strategy and for a more detailed guide with examples try this excellent publication from Arizona State University which is exceptionally clear.
See for example this brilliant guide for students from OCR – Bridging the gap between GCSE and AS/A Level Mathematics – A Student Guide.
5 – looking it up – there are several excellent resources online for you to look up definitions or find extra examples. Never rely on just one source if you are finding a topic tricky, it can be helpful to see explanations written by different authors.
9 – on Arithmetic, many tests for University Admissions require competence with estimation and mental arithmetic. Put your calculator away sometimes – perhaps have a look at this Open Learn (free) course on Rounding and Estimation.
If you want to practise your arithmetic you could play some games!
10 – on writing the language of mathematics correctly – see this clear guide to writing Mathematics from Dr Kevin P Lee and from John Kerl some excellent tips for mathematical handwriting, many of these tips these apply to students of all ages – do you distinguish carefully between a 1 and a 7 for example? Perhaps it is hard to tell whether you have written a 2 or a z or perhaps your 5s look a bit like a letter s?
Have a look at Peter Alfeld’s guide to Understanding Mathematics which he wrote for his students at Utah University.
Some more thoughts for you.
- Are you guilty of making any of the classic mistakes?
- How are your problem-solving skills? There is plenty of good advice available – see this publication from Arizona State University for example
- If you are studying at university then have a look at Kevin Houston’s ‘How not to get a good mathematics degree‘ and ‘How to get a good mathematics degree‘. He also has provided a pdf file you can download: 10 Ways to Think Like a Mathematician. Kevin Houston works at the University of Leeds in the UK.
If you are trying to get organised generally then some of the resources on this page might be useful. I recommend Evernote highly (it’s free).
Wishing you all a very happy and productive 2019!