1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How to self-study math?

  1. Jul 28, 2011 #1
    How do you guys go about teaching yourself math before you take a class/during the summer? My main issue is having the material stick, I can remember what I learned in class well because I probably spent hours studying the material for tests and making sure my problem sets were right, but when I'm studying material only for my own sake it's more difficult to have discipline.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 28, 2011 #2
    Work lots and lots of problems.
  4. Jul 28, 2011 #3
    I've been studying Algebra 2 so as to get ahead when I go into the 10th grade, so I can relate to you. My problem is not so much as having it stick, but staying motivated. On the line of staying motivated, try to do math in a quiet place, away from distractions, eg a computer or television. And try to organize your day, that helps me.
    On the line of having the information stick. First of all, you need to do problems, like the previous poster said, but that's not the whole trick. What I've realized is it's more important to understand what you have learned. Ask why and how, and look them up from a different source. Why does this theorem work? How does it relate to other things? I also think about a chapter or section a lot, reviewing many times a day. If I can't recall the information or I don't know the process, I'll look it up. And lastly, after the end of a chapter, review what you have learned by writing it down. What have I learned? Do I understand this concept? Can I do the problems associated with it?
    I hope that helps, and keep with it. It will help you in the long run.
    (PS, get a good night sleep. Don't go to bed too late, and don't sleep too late.)
  5. Jul 29, 2011 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Try and get the big picture early on so you can connect the dots as you go.

    For example think about calculus.

    Calculus in one level is about analyzing a variety of measures in the most general way possible. When you first learned how to calculate various measures in high school, you started by looking at things with straight lines like triangles, quadrilaterals, rhombus' and so on. From these you found out perimeter, area, volume and so on.

    The reason why thinking about calculus in terms of measures in the non-linear generalization is that you will then understand where the infinitesimals come in and what they represent in your measures like length, area, volume and so on, and you will be able to derive those by knowing what quantities are changing and with respect to what other quantities.

    I've found good lecturers tell you the whole point of a particular focus and method of study early on, and if your lecturer's don't do that, then I recommend you ask them. It will make your life easier keeping everything in your head because the redunancies in your learning will be filtered out and things will make more sense.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook