At what age can you tell if you're good at math?

  • Thread starter nickadams
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Yes, there are some prodigies out there. This means, of course, that everyone should be forbidden from doing math unless they are Gauss and no-one should learn music unless they are Mozart.

Who cares if you aren't a prodigy? Do you enjoy what you are doing?

I don't get hung up on the fact that I am not as strong as a backhoe, that I can't run as fast as my car, and that I can't calculate as fast as my computer.

Get over it.
Man, this post is just one straw man argument after another.
 

chiro

Science Advisor
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I disagree with everyone here on the most part.

I believe (of course, based on myself) that grit is the main factor in how people become good mathematicians. I'm new to maths but if you're motivated and have realistic goals you can become a ace...no matter what.

Grit. It's a personality trait whether that is genetics is another issue.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grit_(personality_trait [Broken])
I have to disagree.

I have met people who just unfortunately don't get even lower level mathematics. They also are the not the type to just cruise and do the minimum. They met with educators, and fellow classmates to try and get a grip, and they found it too difficult.

Grit is an important element, but not everyone is the same.
 
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wukunlin

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my earliest memory of someone complimenting on my mathematical ability was when i was like, 4, but that wasn't long before I understood that i still need to work hard to get good grades
 
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I don't know if hard work is the only requirement. I work as a tutor at my university and mainly handle pre-algebra to calculus I topics. I see many people who are in there every single day working through their College Algebra homework. They are in there, face in the book, asking good questions, having problems, figuring them out, for sometimes 8 hours a day, and they seem thankful when they get a test back that is in the 70's. I absolutely never put that much time into College Algebra of all things, and I would die if I ever got a 70. These are perfectly smart people in many other aspects of life/academics, mathematics is just not one of them.

That's not to say that anyone couldn't accomplish any degree of mathematical proficiency they desired, but it would certainly take some people much more time and involvement to accomplish the same level of understanding, and I think that eventually a point would come when time no longer permits that much "grit".
 
I don't know if hard work is the only requirement. I work as a tutor at my university and mainly handle pre-algebra to calculus I topics. I see many people who are in there every single day working through their College Algebra homework. They are in there, face in the book, asking good questions, having problems, figuring them out, for sometimes 8 hours a day, and they seem thankful when they get a test back that is in the 70's. I absolutely never put that much time into College Algebra of all things, and I would die if I ever got a 70. These are perfectly smart people in many other aspects of life/academics, mathematics is just not one of them.

That's not to say that anyone couldn't accomplish any degree of mathematical proficiency they desired, but it would certainly take some people much more time and involvement to accomplish the same level of understanding, and I think that eventually a point would come when time no longer permits that much "grit".
Your standards and their standards are different; therefore, they're going to celebrate over something you wont.
 
I don't know if hard work is the only requirement. I work as a tutor at my university and mainly handle pre-algebra to calculus I topics. I see many people who are in there every single day working through their College Algebra homework. They are in there, face in the book, asking good questions, having problems, figuring them out, for sometimes 8 hours a day, and they seem thankful when they get a test back that is in the 70's. I absolutely never put that much time into College Algebra of all things, and I would die if I ever got a 70. These are perfectly smart people in many other aspects of life/academics, mathematics is just not one of them.

That's not to say that anyone couldn't accomplish any degree of mathematical proficiency they desired, but it would certainly take some people much more time and involvement to accomplish the same level of understanding, and I think that eventually a point would come when time no longer permits that much "grit".
I'm really just throwing this out there but maybe it's because their foundations are so poor that it's very hard to learn the next step without mastering the last. I for one have never found a math course that difficult because I understood the prerequisite course so well that it's just a tiny step more of basically the same thing.

I've also noticed this of sports. People who didn't play sports as a kid but tried to learn it later never really became any good, probably because their foundation as a kid was never built. However, YMMV.
 
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Man, this post is just one straw man argument after another.
You obviously don't understand the use of irony or reductio ad absurdum. You must not be talented enough to be using the English language...

:tongue:
 
Guys, seriously. Stop talking about gifts, talents and skills, and instead go and do some math. This discussion really isn't going to change anything, even if it were true.
 
I don't know if hard work is the only requirement. I work as a tutor at my university and mainly handle pre-algebra to calculus I topics. I see many people who are in there every single day working through their College Algebra homework. They are in there, face in the book, asking good questions, having problems, figuring them out, for sometimes 8 hours a day, and they seem thankful when they get a test back that is in the 70's. I absolutely never put that much time into College Algebra of all things, and I would die if I ever got a 70. These are perfectly smart people in many other aspects of life/academics, mathematics is just not one of them.

That's not to say that anyone couldn't accomplish any degree of mathematical proficiency they desired, but it would certainly take some people much more time and involvement to accomplish the same level of understanding, and I think that eventually a point would come when time no longer permits that much "grit".
I don't know how would people who study mathematics for 8 hours still fail at it. Maybe they study it like how some people study biology which is by rote (and I don't think this is the proper way of studying biology either), though in biology exams this way of 'cramming' does give favorable result at times. Mathematics as I see it is something really different from that, it requires more familiarity and critical thinking.
 

radium

Science Advisor
Education Advisor
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Benjamin Franklin said "Genius without education is like silver in the mine." I personally think this is true, if one is gifted it takes hard work and dedication to truly be extraordinary. You still need to have the gift at some level, but you must nurture it to get it to grow into something more.
 

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