“Life is a math equation. In order to gain the most, you have to know how to convert negatives into positives.”

- Anonymous

It would be helpful if maths were not so difficult. Maths is primarily about how to go about solving a problem, the steps taken which lead one to a logical conclusion, as opposed to simply ‘knowing’ the answer. This is what makes a mathematician.

Mathematics will remain part of the national educational landscape for the foreseeable future, despite it being regarded as a difficult subject.

Children are exposed to mathematical concepts early, being taught to count from a tender age. Concepts such as addition, subtraction, division and multiplication are introduced systematically. The learner, thus, advances from basic mathematics to the more advanced concepts of geometry, trigonometry and algebra with each grade.

This article looks at why maths is important, in a formal teaching environment as well as outside in real life. It also looks at how to master maths, even if one has last studied it many years ago.

Why Should I Learn Math?

A common misconception is that maths is an isolated, distinctly separate subject, as is the view of some other school subjects, such as geography which is, in fact, an earth science.

Not all students are inclined in the same way academically. Some love and enjoy the ‘academic’ subjects like physics, chemistry, maths, etc. and then there are those who enjoy and excel at the arts and languages. It is somewhat less common to find students who love both.

Contrary to how we have viewed maths during our school years, it can be pretty handy in day-to-day situations, such as shopping for the best price, preparing food and calculating what that overseas trip is going to cost. It’s cool to work out your grocery bill before the cashier rings it all up, no matter your age.

Private maths tutors expertly guide people of all ages through the maze of mathematics.

People need maths tutoring to:

  • Improve their course results
  • Achieve a qualification (such as the matric) or pass a certain maths exam
  • To confidently interview for a job that involves a lot of maths
  • Preparing for a change in a career.

Before heading off to university, it could also be beneficial to reviewing maths topics such as:

  • Arithmetic (adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, etc.)
  • Algebra
  • Trigonometry
  • Mathematical logic
  • Analysis (statistics, graphing, etc.)
  • Geometry (shapes, size, position, measurement, etc.)
  • Search algorithms
  • Calculus.
equations on paper
Maths is a core component of the South African school curriculum. ⎢Source: Unsplash

The study of maths can also help to hone skills that can be used in a host of different situations and can help you:

  • Broaden your skill set
  • Solve complex problems
  • Learn to use different programmes
  • Improve your short-term and long-term memory
  • Improve your cognitive reactions

Like learning languages, to learn maths: you need to remain motivated, set yourself realistic objectives and study different problem-solving methods. We hear you say, "I don’t understand that method." Bear in mind that everyone’s maths ability is different.

Learning Maths Quickly: The Best Methods

If you need help with maths, there is no better alternative than getting in touch with a good private maths tutor who will motivate you to learn maths quickly.

They’ll be able to:

  • Assist you with maths problems when you’re stuck
  • Equip you with tools to achieve your objectives
  • Improve your time management and help you to improve your memory when studying for maths exams
  • Enable you to learn maths methods more quickly using tips, tricks and short cuts
  • Explain word problems.

Your private maths tutor can help you, whether you’re studying the complex elements of maths or learning your times tables.

Tutors will adapt their tutorials and use various methods for effectively learning maths:

  • Homework and theory classes
  • Exams and tests to monitor your progress
  • Tips and tricks to help you solve maths problems
  • Maths game
  • Worksheets, exercises and activities to help you understand certain maths problems.

Seasoned and qualified maths tutors are the best option for accelerating your learning.

stock market report in newspaper
Once you've gained confidence, you'll be following the daily economic reports in the papers. ⎢Source: Unsplash

Tutors have their own ways of preparing their tutorials, which will be adapted to your needs, especially if you need to learn something quickly. Some of their preferred methods include:

  • Saying concepts and formulae aloud
  • Restating concepts in your own words
  • Study tips
  • Expecting a summary of what you’ve learnt after each session

A maths tutor will coach you if you have to brush up on mental arithmetic, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, or memorise times tables, etc. They’ll keep you focused on your objectives, make sure that you’re motivated and help you effectively manage your time to get the most out of your study programme.

Students can leave reviews of their tutors on Superprof, so you can see if they are well recommended. Many students get tutors to help them studying maths at matric level. You can, of course, also learn maths on your own.

Can I Really Teach Myself Maths?

An easy way would be to work through past papers and consult some good study guides, the way you might prepare for an English or history exam.

Very often, of course, it’s not that simple:

You have to picture the problem you’re presented with and then choose the appropriate method to solve it.

There are tons of people who struggle with mathematics, confuse relative numbers and prime numbers and lack the necessary maths ability to do any real problem-solving. It is thus essential, for those who are learning maths on their own, to use the correct methods.

notebook and calculator
Maths skills are essential for real-life activities such as budgeting. ⎢Source: Unsplash

Are you a visual or auditive learner? How do you know?

If you know what kind of learner you are, you can choose learning methods that will help you learn maths really quickly:

  • Focus on repetition if you’re an auditive learner, repeating things aloud like you did with your multiplication tables at school.
  • A visual learner, would probably prefer using visual resources, looking at brightly-coloured diagrams and seeing fractions graphically presented in textbooks and on websites.

To reach your goals, you’ll need to remain motivated. The study of mathematics requires a blend of several things:

  • Work which focuses on the fundamentals of maths knowledge (learning times tables off by heart, committing to memory the rules of arithmetic)
  • Using logic and critical thinking to solve problems.

You can learn the former in books, but it is more difficult to learn the latter in the same way. The teaching skills of your teacher or tutor will help you work out the reasoning. That is why there are several factors you will need to consider if you’re learning maths independently:

  • Mnemonics:  there are easier ways in which many formulae can be illustrated.
  • Using games to learn mathsyou can play maths games on your cell phone on the train, on your iPad at home, or even get printed maths games and puzzles to do on long flights.
  • Make the most of all the tools at your disposal: you can access an online learning portal or calculator. You can also access websites with maths exercises to help you learn more rapidly.
  • Study maths on your own: This is, however, not the most effective method if you’re looking for really quick results. It does, of course, mean that you can review how and when you want.

It can be beneficial if you’re studying matric or university courses. A private tutor will encourage you when you feel discouraged. If, on the other hand, you’re studying on your own, you’re going to have to put in a lot of effort.

Learn Maths Easily with These Resources

There are countless Maths resources on the Internet. Consider using some of the following games, maths websites and apps:

Sudoku, Chess, and Board GamesEasy to learnNot designed to target specific maths capabilities
My MathsEncourages parents to get involvedDesigned for use by UK learners
SiyavulaProvides CAPS aligned exam preparationThere is a fee involved
Khan AcademyEasy to useBased on the American curriculum

Start Learning Maths

How do you select the right learning method for you?

A few questions to ask yourself are:

  • Am I visual, aural, or kinaesthetic learner?
  • How much time do I have per week to study maths?
  • Besides textbooks, do I want to learn by using other resources?
  • How great is the urgency for me to learn maths?

Before you start any revision programme, it is important to consider your strengths and weaknesses:

  • A private tutor can help you consolidate everything you learn each lesson with interactive activities, especially if you are easily side-tracked, stressed during exams or you’re not sure about how you are going to get better at maths.
  • If you’re more self-directed, you could print out a worksheet, do some quizzes, do online exercises or play maths games on your computer. Soon you will have become proficient at solving maths conundrums.
  • How you learn new information and how you take notes depends on your personality.
boys and girls at school
Maths should be taught in a fun and interactive way. ⎢Source: Unsplash

Everything depends on how you want to learn.

If you’re focusing on fractions, whole numbers or polynomials, try to consolidate all your knowledge.

If you want to achieve at mathematics, you’re going to have to hone in on very clear objectives.

So, are you ready to uncover the riddles behind of quadratic equations and isosceles triangles?

Light up your neural pathways and start learning! You can, of course, even learn whilst playing games ...

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Career teacher turned writer. Passionate about family, running, and the great outdoors.