Understand First, Practice Later!

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

How many times have you heard “You can’t be good at Math if you don’t practice enough”? How many times have you read through your Math notes, and realise you can’t just read them over and over like a Geography or English book to understand it? How many times have you attempted a challenging question and given up?

If your answer is none, you must be superb at Mathematics. Wanting to ace your exam is not “By the time I finish this revision set, I will be prepared and pass my exam”. Trust me, from an ex-JC student point of view, it really isn’t. That’s because the one thing I lacked while longing for an A for Math, is understanding. To be good at Math is not to have done the entire revision set, but to fully understand every step and working you write.

The syllabus is changing to manipulate students to think deeper, instead of giving direct answers. More real-life context questions, more complex questions requiring them to think out of the box. This can no longer solely depend on the practice itself. It requires a solid understanding of the topic.

Knowing why you are studying the topic is an important step towards that firm foundation you need, and gives you purpose to what you are doing. An example is: Why do we study complex numbers if they’re imaginary? Well, search it up, there is an answer to everything. They’re used for calculations in AC electricity.

Also, the meaning behind each method and step helps you navigate your way towards the answer. Why should we multiply this, why should we integrate that… Knowing this organises your thought process and guides you closer to the answer. In school, various methods are taught to solve certain questions. Do not just blindly follow these methods without understanding each step. Understanding something removes the need to memorise it, so it reduces the heap of things you need to remember for the exam because it will come naturally.

If you don’t understand anything, practice is useless! 

The bottom line is - if you are currently preparing for a major exam, but you do not understand anything and you’re just doing revision set after revision set, IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE. The seeming amount of accomplishment from doing revision sets will not guarantee an A without a good understanding of each topic.

Get help, ask questions. Find out what you do not understand and fix it, then continue to practice. This will help you to do your revision with purpose and perform well.

Math Academia uses bottom-up approaches to impart in students a firm understanding of each topic before going on to more challenging questions. Students are taught to draw knowledge from basic concepts learnt and use critical thinking to solve different questions.

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