Brushing Up on Your Math Skills Is As...

## Brushing Up on Your Math Skills Is As Easy as 1-2-3

by Rochelle C. Pangilinan

Imagine yourself shopping at your favourite store, be it a bookstore, a clothing store, or a shoe store. When it is time to pay at the cash register, the staff asks you to wait for 30 minutes or so as they are currently troubleshooting their credit or debit card systems. However, your friend is already waiting for you at the movie theatre, but you know you really have to make this purchase—it is the last item on stock, and it’s at 50% discount! The staff says they can take cash, so you agree. However, you struggle as you count the change in your hands, and the staff explains the amount, but you still can’t figure it how it got to that.

Okay, so this exact scenario may not have happened to you, but you have to admit it sounds extremely familiar. Do not fret, however, as you are definitely not the only one to have trouble with numbers. After all, not all of us are born with calculator skills. The good news is that you can actually improve on your math skills by following these simple tips.

Join a math study group.

While there are a number of students like you that may have difficulties in math, you likely have classmates who excel in the subject. Think of those who raise their hand even though there is a super-tough equation on the board. Do not be scared to approach these fellow students and let them know of your apprehensions. You can propose that they lead a study group so you can catch up on your math skills. As they are already math wizards, you will surely learn a lot from them.

Do math puzzles.

You can’t be a math expert overnight, but it really helps to do math puzzles from time to time, like Sudoku. These puzzles have their roots in ancient number puzzles. The main goal is to devise that all numbers in the rows, columns, and diagonal lines through a grid all add up to the same number. There are a lot of websites that offer free Sudoku puzzles you can try your hand on, as well as free apps on smartphones. If you can’t go online, just grab a newspaper, and there is likely to be a Sudoku puzzle there waiting to be solved.

Try out word problems.

Math is not just about numbers per se, but the idea of numbers. Ever encountered those word problems like “Clock A runs 1 minute fast per hour. Clock B runs 7 minutes slow per day. If the clocks show the same time at noon, how many minutes ahead of clock B will clock A be 48 hours later?” They seem simple at first, but it does require hard thinking to solve them. Try them out, and they will truly expand your math knowledge.

Embrace math in practical applications.

It’s easy to ignore math when you don’t have your textbooks with you and your math teacher isn’t around, but there is really no escaping it, so you might as well embrace it and appreciate it in terms of its benefits in real-life applications. For example, you have a limited budget for holiday shopping this year and limited time. Knowing how to be quick in numbers can definitely help you stretch that budget, calculate the discounts and savings in your head, and have you complete your shopping in a short time.

Think positive!

For someone who does not have any affinity for math, it is nice to think you can leave it behind once you are done with school. However, this kind of thinking does not solve anything. If you keep telling yourself and the people around you how much you hate it, the negative thoughts will persist. As such, it’s best to think positive—math is good!

Math is nothing to be scared of. Once you get the hang of it, you will realise just how beneficial it is in your daily life. So, get started now and make an effort to improve your math skills!