Should I give up on math?

Den här berättelsen är ett svar på frågan – Hur kan jag bli bättre på matte?

Budskapet är att det inte finns personer som är dåliga på matte utan att det handlar om att öva så blir man bättre. Dessutom blir man bättre på mycket annat än matematik. Man kan se det som en träning av hjärnan.

Answer by Ammad Khan:


This was my answer to another question on the topic.
While all the other answers touch base on important points, let me take you through my experience going from a complete dunce at math to gaining substantial expertise on the subject.
Before I start though, let me make one thing clear, those that tell you that math is a subject where either you get it or you don't, where either you're born with the ability or not, have little to NO idea what they're talking about.
50 Days Of Summer
I was never that great at math. Perhaps in elementary school I'd get receive the odd 'A' here and there, but I was mostly in the 'C'-area if anything. Moving on to high school, things didn't get any better. My marks for grade 9, 10, and 11 were 51, 40, and 56 respectively. (The 40 meant I failed and needed to attend summer school where I got a 60-something and was able to move on). My 10th grade teacher told me that math was an "either you get it or you don't" subject. My 11th grade teacher told me he had tried everything, and when I pleaded with him that I still didn't understand anything, he repeated himself more firmly, "I have tried everything I can to help you", and walked away.
That summer, upset and determined, I decided that if I ever expected to make any serious changes in my marks, I needed to take serious action. Until then I tried getting occasional tutoring on the side – wasting my parents' money on tutors that didn't make much of a difference. I decided to change things up. I found a tutor hall downtown (I live in a major city) and went down with my father to have a look. It's simply an area where students go to study and the place is monitored by teachers/tutors. You pay a small fee and sit there and study, and if you need help you can ask one of the tutors to come by and help out briefly.
I started at the beginning of August that summer, took out textbooks from the 9th grade onwards, and worked my way up. I studied non-stop, 8-10 hours a day, 6 days a week (I would take one day off for our family to go out together), for 6 weeks (until school started in mid-September.) This is what they call complete and total immersion. Through these 6 weeks, I was able to completely and fully understand grade 9, 10 and 11 math. I was also able to teach myself (with some assistance of course) calculus, algebra geometry and advanced functions.
Where It Took Me In School
Now, what came of all this? Well here you go.
Grade 12 Advanced Functions 90%
Grade 12 Calculus & Vectors 93%
In my country (Canada), we also have a national competition conducted by the University of Waterloo called the Euclid Mathematics Competition. I decided to partake in it for fun. Turns out, I scored the highest in my school and was one of the top students in the region – hello cool looking medal and certificate! I couldn't believe that I had beat out the students in my school who had received 90s all throughout their high school journeys.
I later got admitted into a top University, took courses in math and astrophysics and found them to be relatively easy (but challenging enough for me to enjoy them).
Where It Took Me In Everyday Life
What those 6 weeks gave me was priceless. I noticed in the everyday that my ability to analyze and rationalize greatly deepened. I was able to calculate numbers and solve math problems in my head at astounding speeds. I noticed I was calmer, cooler in my attitude and very composed – a result most likely of my ability to analyze emotional events and respond rationally and appropriately. My ability to consume and retain information improved, my memory capacity increased, and I was simply "smarter" as a person.
To conclude, I will say that I used to question whether math was useless all the time. When my teacher would talk about finding the slope of a line, I'd wonder to myself "when will I ever use this?" But to paraphrase something a famous teacher said once, how would doing the bench press help you in real life? When would you ever come across a time in the real world when someone meets you in the street, pushes you down and throws a big weighted-bar on you? That's not why you do the bench press. You do it to strengthen your chest muscles, to make them bigger and stronger. In turn, you also indirectly hit your shoulders and triceps. What good is doing repetitive motions daily on your muscle groups? For overall body health, to help you sleep better, feel better, to reduce depression, and to ensure you'll be in shape for anytime life throws ANY form of physical activity your way. By working your muscles out in the gym, you'll vastly improve your capability in sports, sex and other areas of life.
So what is math? Of course there might be few times in life where someone will ask you to find the slope of the tangent of a specific formula. But what you gain from learning these concepts is greater. You gain improved focus, concentration, brain and mental health, and intelligence. You increase your confidence, ability to analyze and rationalize, ability to understand complicated problems and break things down into smaller components. You're able to increase your capacity for learning and gaining new skills faster. You improve memory. Math, in other words, is exercise for the brain.
In Summary, practice practice practice.
Cheers and happy learning.

Should I give up on math?

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