# Mathematical clumsiness

1. Dec 24, 2008

### farleyknight

Hey all,

I'm need some advice. I'm finding myself making a lot of mistakes. Not because I don't understand certain ideas, but because write things down incorrectly, like dropping an exponent or a prime-mark, or switching an x for a y. I'm trying to write neater and bigger but I still make dumb mistakes. Does anyone else have this problem?

Thanks,
- Rob

2. Dec 24, 2008

### montoyas7940

YES!

I have to go very slow and be very careful. My problem, I think, is disuse.
During times when I do a lot of math I tend to get better.
Funny how that works.

3. Dec 24, 2008

### flatmaster

I strugled with a problem like this for a while. I would work problems through to a number, and then write 68 instead of 86!! It will get better with time, but there are a few pointers I can give.

WRITE BIG
This was mostly to accomadate for my sloppy writing, but It could help anyone.

Don't do sub steps within one line. You may already beyond this advice, but make sure both sides of an equation are still exactly balanced as you go down a page.

Don't erase. You can erase one or two errors, but if a line has several errors or took you in the wrong direction, cross it out with a single line. You might save some of the math steps you did because they may be correct. Continue below where you crossed out.

As far as mixing up x and y, I've done that too. Typical variables x, y, and t can all look the same with slopy writting. Try to practice the script x as it is printed in math books. Also, give your t the tail to the right so it dosen't look like a + sign.

To keep different terms seperate, I usually write terms further appart on the paper. For example...

y = 2x^2 + 3x - 5

And exageration, but it really helps if you have complicated terms where you need to work through multiplying and dividing my several negative numbers.

That's all I can think of for now.

Last edited: Dec 25, 2008
4. Dec 25, 2008

### flatmaster

If you have a long part of your expression that you keep writing over and over, use dito marks.

5. Dec 25, 2008

### farleyknight

Thanks guys, I'll give that a shot.