**21 Apr**

# Understanding Mathematics

Mathematics is a subject a lot of people really enjoy, and that is due to the fact that there is usually one answer to every problem. It gives a large amount of certainty and people really appreciate this. However, one problem with students today is a lack of properly *understanding *mathematics. It is a very common concern of parents that their child doesn’t grasp the concept properly. Students usually focus heavily upon methodology alone, without properly understanding *why* the concept works, *how *the formula works, *what* the question is looking for. To excel in math, students need to comprehend how the mathematics concepts work and interrelate, so they can prove this to the marker and get high results in examinations.

Math is a very logical subject and it is full of patterns. Understanding the basic components will make a large difference when the student then studies more complex concepts. It is crucial that the student can explain in their own words the main points in each concept in math. It is a great way for them to test themselves about how well they have understood a particular topic, when they can summarise a mathematic topic.

Students often will complete their homework each night by using the same formula or concept learnt that day in class, without having to think too much about what they’re doing. This is not a good way to complete homework, as it will not make efficient use of the time spent doing the homework. Instead, students should understand what the concept is about. Each topic can be made simpler by taking notes, writing down some example problems, making a chart, drawing a picture or visual diagram. This will help the student to understand what the topic is really about and how they’re going to try and solve problems. This will prove to be very helpful when it comes to examination time as the student would have a very valuable study resource.

It’s very common to hear from parents: “once they *get it* – they’re perfect; it’s just problematic getting their heads around it”. You can use the above method to really help the student to understand the topic and help them to “get it” more. Alternatively, students should ask the teacher to explain what the topic is about. The internet can occasionally be a great way to attain another perspective on a mathematic concept as well (just ensure your teacher/tutor believes it to be credible).

Most importantly, don’t let your children fall behind in mathematics because catching up is difficult. Ensure the student *understands* each topic area as they’re going through it the first time. As examinations often have more complicated questions than their homework, as well as an array of word problems, it is crucial for students to understand the question, formula, rules and concepts involved to achieve high results.

Making sure students are understanding their homework as they go through it week-by-week can make a huge difference when it comes to examination time! Revision is much easier then the original comprehension still exists somewhere in their head, the concepts come back quicker when they were properly understood in the first place. Students will perform a lot better, be more motivated and be far more confident when they properly *understand* their math.