our everyday life

How to Get Smarter in Math

by Jen Saunders, studioD

Studies have long indicated that brain anatomy may have something to do with how smart people are in math. But this does not mean that someone with an MRI revealing that their brain is inferior to someone with a "perfect math brain" can't improve their smarts nor does it mean that the person with the superior brain image doesn't need to study or improve. No matter what your skill level in math is, there are always things you can do to get smarter at math.

Improve Approximation Skills

Your ability to approximate or be able to recognize anything that is similar but not exactly equal to something else will help make you smarter in math. According to "MIT News" approximating requires spatial tools like mental number lines that are responsible for number sense. "MIT News" argues that this may be "the most important source of mathematical intuition." Improving your approximation abilities will make you smarter at math. You can inquire with educational book sellers or learning centers to find out what kind of enhancement materials can help you increase your approximation skills.

Improve Your Vocabulary

Mathematics isn't all about numbers and symbols; it has a specific vocabulary relevant to the science and vital to understanding how math works. Understanding terms and words like additive identity, common factor, factorial, integer, pi and vertex will heighten your comprehension of math and help make you smarter in various areas of the science. Math vocabulary flash cards provide an excellent method for improving your vocabulary skills. They can be purchased at educational stores or through learning centers, but you may also want to check with your school district or college. The Granite School District in Salt Lake City provides various online charts for making math vocabulary flash cards appropriate for grades K-12. If you are in college check to see if the campus bookstore can order such cards for you.

Customize Your Homework

Whether you are in junior high school or college, your teachers assign homework. Homework isn't just handed out to ensure you are keeping up with the required standards and pace of the course, it can also be used to motivate you to work in problematic areas in order to enhance your skills based on your current level. The National Education Association states that homework generally falls into three categories: preparation, extension or practice. The organization states that "individualized assignments that tap into students' existing skills or interests can be motivating." Some students need an extra push to study math in order to improve mathematical intelligence. By meeting with your teacher and asking him to assign additional motivational exercises with your homework, you have a better chance to improve your math smarts.

Review Graded Homework

Don't just glance at your graded homework and crumple it into a ball for a three-point shot in the trashcan. Your graded homework is a huge indicator of where you need to focus extra attention when studying. You can get smarter in math by noting the areas of your homework that get poor grades and devote extra time to studying those areas. Get a filing system from any office supply store and keep track of your homework performance. After a few weeks check your overall homework scores and use your math skills to determine what your starting average was and where your average currently stands after a few weeks of focusing on graded problem areas. By learning directly from your mistakes you will get smarter in math.

About the Author

Jen Saunders is an entrepreneur and veteran journalist who covers a wide range of topics. She made the transition to writing after having spent 12 years in England where she studied and taught English literature.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images