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Remembering mathematics .

  1. Aug 3, 2004 #1
    remembering mathematics.....

    Is it normal to forget a lot of what you learned as an undergraduate? I'm sure that pretty soon I will have to take the graduate math exam to go to grad schoool for math, but what I am afraid of is that I forget a lot of the material I learned as an undergraduate. I have gotten really good grades as a student, but after not doing some of the material for over 3-4 years I have forgotten much. Stuff like linear algebra, analysis, topology, combinatorics etc. I haven't done since I was a freshman, sophmore, or junior. I feel as an undergraduate the aim is exposure to as many fields as possible, not to specialize in one area, so tons of concepts are crammed in but forgotten after the final exam is done. Did or does anyone else have this problem? I don't have a photographic memory, so I was wondering what is/are the most important things to learn as an undergraduate.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 4, 2004 #2


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    Dearly Missed

    Yes, it is perfectly normal to forget much.
    However, a good test on whether you understood it well, is to review the theorems and see to which extent you'll still be able to prove them..
  4. Aug 5, 2004 #3


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    I have the same problem. A few weeks after the final, i've pretty much forgotten everything. It really sucks, especially after all the hard work put in.
  5. Aug 5, 2004 #4
    i forget a lot too, i just keep all of my old books and notes in files just in case some damn trig identities popup somewhere.
  6. Aug 5, 2004 #5

    matt grime

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    This seemed to be a very common thing amongst the US undergrads I taught. Such is the ethos of the courses I taught that my students looked at me as though I were a leper when I asked them a week before the final if they'd started revising for the exam. When I explained that "revise" means "go back over your notes and practise doing exam papers making sure you understand all the material" in England (I forget the preferred americanism), they stopped looking at me like a leper and just looked at me as a pitiable freak.

    Cramming over the last couple of days does no one any good in the long run. Shame we learn that too late.
  7. Aug 5, 2004 #6
    As an undergrad I wish I could just take math courses, but alas 3/4 of the credits that I take are for required courses such as theology, philosophy, english, history, etc. There is just no way that any normal person could remember most of the material learned from 1 or 2 years back when they are overwhelmed with information that must be known.
  8. Aug 5, 2004 #7
    Whenever I finished a semester and the final exams were over I opened up a Word document and wrote a book on what I learn. It usually took me 3-4 weeks of typing. This process of writing my own thoughts down in an explainable manner meant that I retained a lot of the material I learnt in my first two years at uni. From the adage that you remember 30% of what you hear, 60% of what you write down, and 90% of what you teach (explain to someone). By writing a book on what you've learn is like teaching someone who might one day come along and read it. I'll tell you, it has worked wonders for my memory!
  9. Aug 5, 2004 #8
    Thats a really good idea.
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