Using competitive math question books for learning math?

In summary, the conversation discusses the usefulness of competitive math books for learning and practicing math, as well as the potential benefits for becoming a mathematician or computer scientist. It is concluded that while these books may offer some useful skills, they should not be relied upon as a substitute for textbooks and may be more effective for improving problem-solving abilities rather than advancing mathematical knowledge. Additionally, practicing multiple approaches to problem-solving may be beneficial, and the conversation also mentions the benefits of programming and suggests exploring mathematical problems in online forums.
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member 624364

Hi, I have seen that their are competitive math books like Moems, Mathcounts, Mandelbrot and AMC. Are these useful for learning and practicing math, or are they only useful for doing competitions and would be mostly a waste of time instead of learning from textbooks or just learning more new topics and advancing quicker?If it’s of any help. I think I’d like to become a mathematician or at least a computer scientist using a lot of advanced mathematics in my research. Thanks.
 
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So many questions in one thread to answer!
Novantix said:
Hi, I have seen that their are competitive math books like Moems, Mathcounts, Mandelbrot and AMC. Are these useful for learning and practicing math ...
Yes and no, but more no. You can practice your capability to associate unusual ways to solve problems and depending on how successful you are, provide you with positive confirmation. However, this is the risk at the same time: what if you are not successful? It is a different skill that doesn't necessarily relate to mathematical skills. In any case, they can't substitute a textbook. It is entertainment, not math. Most proofs in mathematics are straight forward, although some require a few good ideas. But this is better practiced by learning real proofs.
... or are they only useful for doing competitions...
IMO yes, although you can learn from everything, even from those books. The question is whether it will help you with math or not. And the answer is: probably not.
... and would be mostly a waste of time instead of learning from textbooks or just learning more new topics and advancing quicker?
It's a different purpose: textbooks are for learning, riddles are to relax and have some fun. However, I assume sports will be more effective.
If it’s of any help.
Yes, namely to practice to think about many ways to a solution instead of just the few which are associated to a certain method, resp. area.
I think I’d like to become a mathematician or at least a computer scientist using a lot of advanced mathematics in my research.Thanks.
For programming it's definitely of help, as there are usually more than one way to solve a software problem.

You should have a look on the problems we post here for our members (in the general mathematics forum), which are of mathematical nature, i.e. they can mostly (not all) only be solved if one has already some mathematical foundation.
 
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1. How can using competitive math question books improve my math skills?

Using competitive math question books can improve your math skills in several ways. These books often contain challenging and diverse math problems that can help you develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Additionally, practicing with these books can also improve your speed and accuracy in solving math problems.

2. Are competitive math question books suitable for all levels of math learners?

Yes, competitive math question books can be beneficial for learners of all levels. These books often cover a wide range of math topics, from basic arithmetic to advanced calculus, allowing learners to choose questions that match their skill level.

3. Can using competitive math question books prepare me for math competitions?

Yes, using competitive math question books can be an excellent way to prepare for math competitions. These books often contain questions similar to those found in math competitions, allowing you to familiarize yourself with the format and types of questions asked.

4. How often should I practice with competitive math question books?

The frequency of practice with competitive math question books depends on your personal goals and schedule. However, it is recommended to practice consistently, at least a few times a week, to see noticeable improvements in your math skills.

5. Can I use competitive math question books as a supplement to my regular math curriculum?

Yes, using competitive math question books can be an excellent supplement to your regular math curriculum. These books often cover topics in a more challenging and in-depth manner, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of math concepts.

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