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Becoming better at math

  1. Sep 17, 2011 #1
    I'm a third cond year physics major with a desire to improve my math skills. I do well in my classes, but I know that I don't have the same intuition with math as I have in physics. What is a good way to improve my math ability?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2011 #2
    Can you narrow down the problem? But I presume the solution will be "make more exercises", does that sound predictable and/or unhelpful?
  4. Sep 17, 2011 #3


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    Why do people believe that when they have credit in a course, that they are not allowed to study the course again on their own - more than twice?
  5. Sep 18, 2011 #4
    Because if it says "accomplished" there isn't a need to re-study it... But going back and re-studying the previous math courses, I feel as though I am gaining a different perspective on it. The professor teaches one way but I think a different way, so I am not as inclined to do the work in the way he teaches. All in all, it ends up solidifying and helping me through future math courses.
  6. Sep 18, 2011 #5
    What builds your intuition?
    Some need a picture, to visualize.
    Some need a mechanical model.
    Some need good algebraic reasoning, symmetry, or logic as a focus.
    You probably know that resistors add in series and capacitors add in parallel. Do you know why the components have opposite rules? Is that the kind of thing you want to grasp?
    Can you think of 3 uses for a resistor, 3 uses for a capacitor, two examples of a transformer in everyday life?
    Do you understand how the metric tensor is a generalization of the distance formula?
    Do want to visualize differential equations with slope fields?
    Do you just want to be better able to calculate, and want to study something new to do so? (If you haven't had complex calculus, I heartily recommend it.) If you want to improve your grasp of the logical structure of geometry, study non-Euclidean geometries.
    One approach is to take a good textbook, and leave yourself detailed, organized notes in a binder, written with the aim of relearning it from scratch 5 years from now.
    I'm throwing out options because I'm not sure what you want. Can you specify?
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