Yesterday, 09:40 AM



146 posts, read 66,237 times
Reputation: 262


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike2017
So I am studying algebra. I have a quick question with those people who done college math and beyond. When studying, or doing homework, should I figure it out on my own, or should I ask for help to get the answer faster and save time?

So I am learning to play the piano. I have a quick question with those people who play music for a living. Should I practice, practice, practice, or should I just listen to the music and save time?

Yesterday, 12:22 PM



3,836 posts, read 7,300,448 times
Reputation: 4236


If this is the last math class you will be taking, and if you won't at some point need to pass a math test for some graduation or career, then doing it the easiest way possible is fine.
However, if you are taking more classes, put in the time and effort to struggle through to real understanding. Otherwise, you will be trying to build on a shaky foundation. I tutor students at all levels of math through calculus, and the biggest problem I see at the higher levels is poor algebra skills  you do need those algebra skills in trigonometry and calculus.
If it takes you 20 minutes to get through a problem, that's okay. When you finish the problem, get a fresh piece of paper and work that same again. Then explain it to yourself: "The goal is to . . . , and what I have now is . . . This is what you do here, because suchandsuch, and then after that you do this, because the goal is to do thisandthat." Also, do more problems than those assigned. You can find problems with solutions online.
If you have someone else help you with that 20minute problem, that's okay, too. Still, you should work it again, this time by yourself. The way to get good at math is to practice. Do a lot of problems. Sometimes people just work on a problem until they understand it. Actually, that's when the practice should start. (Think about basketball: two people learn the correct way to shoot a basketball. One then practices that technique until it is automatic. The other says, "OK, got it. I'm going in for a snack.")

Yesterday, 07:12 PM



Location: Indianapolis, East Side
897 posts, read 433,827 times
Reputation: 2230


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike2017
So cheat based on the comments. I been cheating since middle school, when lazy I would just ask the instructor or other students for help on how to do a few different problems and just figure it out based on that. I dont recall reading the book thoroughly, just scanning and looking for key terminology that can help me solve a certain problem. I feel I can pick up the concepts pretty good when others explain them, I just wonder if I am cheating myself, that is all.

Who here told you to cheat?
Maybe if you read the material instead of scanning it, you could solve all your problems.

Today, 02:01 PM



124 posts, read 46,589 times
Reputation: 92


Quote:
Originally Posted by sheerbliss
Who here told you to cheat?
Maybe if you read the material instead of scanning it, you could solve all your problems.

My definition of cheat here is, to ask how to solve a problem instead of me figuring it out on my own. Then the 20 minutes spent on a problem on my own, versus faster results seeking help comes into play.

Today, 02:53 PM



2,603 posts, read 3,150,194 times
Reputation: 5037


It is kind of funny that someone is complaining about a problem taking 20 minutes to figure out. I had problems in upper level and graduate math courses that took pages of paper to completely work out and sometimes it took me an hour or two to figure them completely out and go back through to make sure I didn't screw up the simple algebra here and there along the way. Sometimes I would get stuck on a problem and say screw it, go to bed and then wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning with an ahaa! I would get up and write it down so I wouldn't fall back to sleep. Sometimes the idea I woke up was the missing piece and I would stay up the rest of the night finishing the problem and checking it and working through others. I don't miss those days in engineering school and sleeping maybe 2 or 3 hours a night at times. lol

Today, 06:34 PM



146 posts, read 66,237 times
Reputation: 262


Quote:
Originally Posted by dijkstra
It is kind of funny that someone is complaining about a problem taking 20 minutes to figure out. I had problems in upper level and graduate math courses that took pages of paper to completely work out and sometimes it took me an hour or two to figure them completely out and go back through to make sure I didn't screw up the simple algebra here and there along the way. Sometimes I would get stuck on a problem and say screw it, go to bed and then wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning with an ahaa! I would get up and write it down so I wouldn't fall back to sleep. Sometimes the idea I woke up was the missing piece and I would stay up the rest of the night finishing the problem and checking it and working through others. I don't miss those days in engineering school and sleeping maybe 2 or 3 hours a night at times. lol

EUCLID: "There is no royal road to geometry." Euclid's reply given when the ruler Ptolemy I Soter asked Euclid if there was a shorter road to learning geometry than actually doing the proofs. This quote also applies to mathematics in general, not just geometry. Another good quote is that "Mathematics is not a spectator sport." The only way to learn mathematics is to do the problems, do the problems, do the problems, .... Like earlier in this thread, you learn the piano by practice, practice, practice, …. You do not play the piano by simply listening to music (to save time). I agree completely with the quoted post by Dijkstra.
Last edited by GoldenHair; Today at 06:36 PM..
Reason: addition

Today, 07:20 PM



Location: Indianapolis, East Side
897 posts, read 433,827 times
Reputation: 2230


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike2017
My definition of cheat here is, to ask how to solve a problem instead of me figuring it out on my own. Then the 20 minutes spent on a problem on my own, versus faster results seeking help comes into play.

You don't get to make up your own definitions.

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