How to Improve Math Skills: 9 Tips for Success

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How to Improve Math Skills: 9 Tips for Success

 
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There’s no denying that math is far from easy. It’s hard to find school students or adult learners whose favorite subject is math, and the attitudes about math are often negative. But like it or not, we all need to have good mathematical skills – not just to do well in school, but for everyday life as well.

Both children and adults use math concepts in their daily lives, from understanding spaces and shapes to comparing prices in different stores or calculating driving distances. While it may be mundane to some, math is incredibly important for success, so here is how you can improve your math skills.

How math helps you in everyday life

For some people, learning how to improve math skills is probably not on their list of top priorities. But if you understand how a better knowledge of math can help you in everyday life, you might realize that improving math skills should be a priority for you.

Here are just some of the reasons why math skills are important:

  • Increasing your brainpower. According to research, math helps you understand things better, increases your analytical thinking skills, and allows you to be more focused and concentrated. It also helps you develop critical and logical thinking skills as well as reasoning skills.
  • Boosting your self-confidence. When you develop your brainpower, you will also feel more empowered and confident that you can take on daily challenges.
  • They can help you get hired easily. When you have a combination of brainpower and high self-confidence, this increases your chances of getting hired because you will be seen as a highly prospective candidate.

Math skills also help you do simple things such as tell the time, be a better cook, calculate traveling distances, and so on.

So, without further ado, let’s list some proven study tips and strategies that can help you be more successful at math.

Understand main concepts

The first step in learning how to improve math skills is to start by understanding the basic concepts of math. While math is fairly complicated and requires a lot of different skills, if you don’t understand the main concepts, you won’t have a chance of learning advanced math concepts.

Luckily, you can learn basic math skills in multiple ways, you just need to find the one that works best for you.

It’s important to remember that math builds on itself and you can’t skip over basic math concepts if they’re hard to understand. Even if you’re struggling, re-examine what’s in front of you and practice until you get it right.

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to think outside of the box. For example, some people get a grasp of math concepts when they take the numbers off the page and bring them to real life by using math manipulatives. This way, soon enough, you’ll be able to solve real-world problems with these math manipulatives.

Practice, practice, practice


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The old saying “practice makes perfect” is so true for learning and understanding math. When you’re trying to figure out how to improve math skills, you can’t expect to become an amazing mathematician overnight. Rather, it’s going to take time and a lot of practice.

Daily practice may be a hard thing to implement, especially if you’re not fond of math. But if you’re serious about improving your math skills, you need to devote a little time each day for practice. While you may struggle with this in the beginning, it will become a habit soon enough.

If you need some motivation to practice, you can think about all the different ways math can help you in your personal and private life. You should also think of ways you can make the practice more fun and try to find methods that will help keep you focused on your work.

If you think this will be boring, don’t worry. There are multiple ways you can make math practice interesting and fun for you, so let’s explore these methods.

Use math apps

We live in a very technologically advanced world, and 21st-century life revolves around tools and apps. So it’s not surprising there are multiple apps for learning how to improve math skills that make math both fun and easy. And don’t worry because there are apps for adults as well as children.

Some of these apps include:

  • BBC Skillwise. This app was designed and created by the BBC to allow adults to grasp various skills, one of which is math. You can develop your math skills by playing fun games and watching educational videos
  • Math Brain Booster Games. This is an app that will help you understand math starting from the main concepts and increasing in difficulty as you go along. It has different training modes so you can adjust it to the difficulty level you need.
  • Khan Academy. This is one of the best-known mathematic apps for adults. It’s free and comes with various games, tutorials, and exercises ranging in difficulty.
  • Star Dash Studios. Created by National Numeracy, this app was designed for college students and it takes a different approach to help you learn math. The gameplay takes place on a movie set and you complete missions for members of the crew by using everyday math.

Find a tutor to improve your math skills

Sometimes it can be difficult to learn how to improve math skills on your own. If you’re facing too many difficulties, you may want to consider hiring a tutor. Of course, you should always try to develop these skills by yourself, but in case it’s not working out as planned, it would be a smart idea to get some help.

Tutors are a great choice for both adults and kids who are trying to improve their math skills and want to see fast results. It’s also a smart idea to hire a tutor if you’re one of those people who benefit from one-on-one teaching methods and grasp things more easily if they’re explained to you.

A math tutor will identify the areas you’re struggling with, help you build your skillset, and help you create study guides. Additionally, we all have different learning styles, and a professionally trained tutor will help you find your style if you don’t know it already.

You can hire an in-person tutor or try out online tutoring, whichever option works best for you. Even just one or two lessons a week can do wonders for your skills.

Study with someone else

If you consider studying alone to be a challenge but don’t want to spend money on a tutor, you can find a friend who is interested in improving their math skills. That way, you can help one another to overcome difficulties and reap the benefits of studying as a group.

This can be a mutually-beneficial activity because when one person doesn’t understand a certain concept, the other one might and vice-versa. And unlike with a tutor, you won’t have a time limit, so you can spend extra time working on problems until they’re resolved.

The person you’re studying with can also be your main motivator to keep going. When you feel like giving up or skipping your math practice for the day, your study buddy can motivate you to stay on track.

Try to have fun


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Math is mostly seen as a boring subject, and as we already mentioned, it requires a lot of practice and repetition, which can cause you to lose interest quickly. But that shouldn’t stop you from getting creative and having fun while learning how to improve math skills.

The best way to have fun with math is to play games in your personal life. This is good for both adults and children because humans are curious beings and through play, that curiosity is piqued. Instead of stressing over math problems, turn them into a game.

Many games utilise math, one of which is chess. It requires you to think ahead and calculate every next move you’re going to make. But you can also develop your skills in math by playing memory games, card games, or looking up different math games online.

We’ve already talked about great apps for learning math but there is a wide range of real-life and online games you can explore. To ensure you’re getting the best experience, make sure to match your education level and the skills you’re trying to develop to the game you’re playing.

Teach to learn

While it may sound contradictory, teaching is a great way to learn something. Or to be more precise, it’s a great way to solidify the knowledge you already have and ensure you know the material. When you think you’ve mastered a math skill, ask someone if you can teach it to them.

Explain everything you know to a friend or family member like you’re teaching a math class. Talk about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it that way. Encourage them to ask you questions and try your best to provide them with detailed explanations.

Once you see you’re good at giving math lessons to others, you’ll be confident that you know the material. And if you notice you’re struggling with relaying the knowledge, take note of what areas you struggled with to remind you what you need to focus on during your revision.

Apply math in real life

As we already mentioned, math has a place in real life, and you can learn to improve your skills in math by focusing on those real-life math applications. Whether you realize it or not, basic math is all around us, and if you focus even a little bit, you will notice it. It’s not just about school math after all.

  • For example, when you go grocery shopping and pick up an item that is on sale, use the sales percentage to calculate how much money you saved on your purchase.
  • When you’re going on your next road trip, take the distance you need to travel and the average speed you’re driving to calculate how long it will take you to arrive at your destination.

If you do this for a while, it will turn into a habit and you will practice math daily without even thinking about it.

Bonus tip: Work on your mental math


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Our last and arguably best tip on how to improve math skills is to practice mental math. Doing complex equations in your head can be much easier than you think if you know some simple tricks to do to improve your mathematical thinking.

Here are a few you can try out:

  • Multiplying by 5. If you need to multiply any number by 5, you can multiply it by ten by adding a zero to the end of the number and simply dividing it in half.
  • Practice the “9 trick”. Whenever you need to add 9 to a number, make it easier for yourself by adding 10 and subtracting 1. You can do a similar trick when you’re subtracting 9 from a number.
  • Do larger multiplications in parts. If you need to multiply large numbers, you can simplify the process by dividing the number you’re multiplying into two parts. For example, if you need to calculate 4 x 76, try to calculate 4 x 70 and 4 x 6, and then simply add the two numbers you get.

Summary

It doesn’t matter if you’re still in school and after academic success or you’re an adult who just wants to perfect their math skills for everyday use, it’s not too late. There are many ways you can learn math regardless of your age and education level.

Make sure you understand the main concepts, the importance of repetition, and know how to have fun with it. Additionally, apply it to your everyday life, study with a friend or tutor if you need to, and you will soon realize math isn’t as difficult as it once seemed.

 

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