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Mathematics Wizard ™


This is good advice,
especially for students or anyone serious about actually studying.

Be as smart as you can be and never stop learning!

Good Advice








Why Math?


Don’t jump ahead. You’re not going to understand, nor be able to remember, nor be able to apply graduate level material if you haven’t understood, remember, and having applied all the undergraduate material, to repetitive exhaustion. Skipping ahead will actually be a waste of your time. Follow Randy Pausch’s advice, "fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals, if you don’t get the fundamentals down the fancy stuff ain’t gonna work!"

Remember: It would be better to remember the fundamentals the rest of your life, than to forget a tenuous hold on many levels of a subject over a short time, a pointless exercise. "From the fundamentals, much of the rest can quickly be derived, if not remembered," ~PW

Work actual problems from your textbook. You can not understand conceptual material if you have never actually applied it and tested that understanding against answers in the back of the book, your own experiments, and against physical observations. Always work not only problems assigned, but as many problems as you possibly can. And when you can, go back and work the rest of all the problems in the book, going all the way back to the beginning. Nothing gives confidence about the next chapter, like having worked all the problems in the book preceding the current chapter.

Watch and listen to lectures covering the same material, but from other professors. Sometimes there’s something that just doesn’t click in your mind when you hear one professor speak on the subject the first time. So watch and listen again. And when possible listen to another professor cover the same material. Sometimes another person might speak about the same material, but just a bit differently that enables you to understand better.

Never quit trying. Let them drag you from the building and throw you out, but let them not convince you to walk away of your own free will, especially from what you want to learn. That’s the only way to know you really gave it your all. If you can do that, even when you fail, you may hold your head up high and no one can fault you.

Also see Benjamin Franklin’s Virtues.