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Did anyone else had self doubt?

  1. Mar 4, 2013 #1
    Hello friends.
    It seems to me that i have reach a wall with my math education. In 3.5 months i will be doing tests for mathematics faculty(college), something like SAT but a bit more difficult i think.
    Anyway i have been doing more difficult problems from problem set and i simply cant figure them out. When i look at the solution i realize that i would have never thought of that. I could have been sitting for hours and hours and i still wouldn't have thought of that. When i can't figure out the problem like that i usually feel depressed and that i lack mathematical ability.
    I was planning to do math major but i have serious self doubt. If i can't do these harder high school level problems, how the hell i am going to do real analysis or something more complicated??? On top of that i am a newcomer to mathematics. In my first year of high school i had D. As a matter of fact one can check out this thread that is about 1.5 years old where i thought that 3.7b - 3.7 = b. :redface: Also i college i will be up against people that finished mathematical gymnasium or that were good at math through out the high school. Now i must say that i advanced a lot in those year and a half. Currently i have an A from my calculus course and i can do harder problems then average, also i enjoy math far more then in that past. But i still feel like i get a reality check about my math potential when i can't figure out the problem that i should. Did anyone else had the self doubt like i ma having right now and what to do about it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 4, 2013 #2


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    I'm not saying that you have Impostor Syndrome, but it sounds to me like you may be susceptible to it:

    http://www.counseling.caltech.edu/general/InfoandResources/Impostor [Broken]

    Self-doubt surprisingly common. You will have to learn to deal with it - the link has some good suggestions at the bottom.

    Don't beat yourself up over silly mistakes - everyone makes them. I once "solved" (x + y)3 as x3 + y3!! On a test, no less :redface:. Isn't it funny how you never forget silly mistakes. But it's easy to forget the progress you've made in the last several years.

    Remember: you would not be earning an A if you were not capable of earning an A - so there is your proof.

    Good luck on your test.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Mar 4, 2013 #3
    I have a somewhat similar problem. I get nervous as hell in exams, and that's the cause of many of my mistakes [(x+1)^2=x^2 + 1?!]. But I still generally end up getting good to great grades. I don't think it matters too much where you were before, only where you are now. If you're getting good grades and can do the hard problems, then you're probably "good" at maths, to some extent. I mean, a few years ago I didn't even know highschool maths or physics because I didn't take them in hs and I ended up dropping out anyway. Now I'm in the middle of a maths/physics degree and my grades are pretty good. Not awesome, but still quite decent. Moral of the story: don't let past mistakes get to you too much.
  5. Mar 4, 2013 #4
    I don't know how your basics are, but it;s always a good idea to revisit them in times of trouble to get yourself into "maths mode". Learning some mathematical tricks can be very useful. There is a method of mental arithmetic called The Trachtenberg System and I can tell you from personal experience that it turned around my marks from D-:cry: to B++!!!:cool:.When you see the system before your eyes you will wonder why you ever worried, honest!

    I found the a free PDF of the book online but it's 4MB so can't upload it here so:
    http://teachingclicks.com/67JC/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Trachtenberg-System.pdf [Broken]

    Here's a brief explanation of the system on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trachtenberg_system

    This may also help:

    Remember MATHS IS FUN!!!:smile:

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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