Sunday, 17 August 2008

How To Study Math Wisely

There are many studying techniques a math student can use. The technique, however, has to suit his character and learning style. Some may be the "slow and steady" type, and some are the "fast and direct-on" method.

But, whichever method one selects and sticks with, an important learning concept is reflected in the Pareto Ratio.

What is this all-important "Pareto Ratio" about?

Pareto ratio is simply a 80 /20 ratio. Though it is simple, its impact to many things are fantastic, and is the deciding element that constitutes wise and effective learning.

What do I mean?

Pareto ratio actually allows us to understand that 80% of the work are done by only 20% of the people.

And 80% of knowledge can be mastered from 20% of the learning material!

This is good news, isn't it?

Yes, it is true. But where is this 20% of the key learning material?

In math textbooks, this important 20% normally lies at the beginning of a new topic or chapter. It consists of the principles and concepts portion within the complete chapter.

Here, knowledge is "told". After this portion, worked examples follow up to demonstrate the application of the concepts and principles of the new topic. At the end of this worked examples and explanation, comes the exercise part for student to practice.

Take a look at any math book on hand. The flow is almost the same with slight deviation to make it outstanding.

The worked examples and exercises constitute the 80% of the learning material that only serves to enhance knowledge. They are important though and should not be ignored!

The message here is that to really master math, focus should be placed at the front 20% of the notes. Understand deeply the concepts and principles within it, and then move on to apply the learned knowledge to test for comprehension of the materials. This is learning math wisely.

Some math learner do otherwise by jumping directly (and impatiently) into the exercise even before a decent level of understanding sets in. This is academic disaster! Avoid it to save time and frustration.

Thus, to learn wise, aim for the 20% and you are effective for the other 80%.

Wonderful right? :)


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