7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Mathematical Thinking

by Laura C. Jones

According to Northern Illinois University, we use math daily. Math knowledge is used for simple tasks such as cooking to more complex decision-making such as calculating your loan interest, mortgage, or understanding team statistics in a sport.

If you take an IB math course, proper mathematical thinking is the difference between a 7 and a poor grade. But how can you hone this academic and life skill?

Using these seven easy steps.

1. Play Math Games

Making study fun is one of the most effective ways you can learn. There are many math games you can play to enhance your mathematical thinking and performance in class. These games are available online for different education levels and ages. Moreover, you can download them on any device.

Math games can also be in the form of family board games that you can play physically.

2. Use Mental Math if You Can

Performing math in your head is a great way to remember key concepts. Basic math such as subtraction, addition, division, and multiplication don’t need a pencil and paper or calculator. You can perform the arithmetic in your head, especially if it’s simple.

It is okay to double-check your answers if you are not confident with your mental maths skills as you work to get better.

3. Bring Math into Your Everyday Life

We use basic math daily. Try and point out every instance that you or someone close to you has applied math in their daily lives. You can start with simple comments such as how fast you’re driving to school when you expect to arrive at your destination based on how fast you’re driving, and the discount you’ll receive the next time you visit a Target store.

4. Practice Math Daily

One of the best ways to get better at math is to practice it daily. After you’ve understood a concept, try as many problems as possible to sharpen your understanding. Often, consistent practice makes the concept stick.

You can incorporate a timetable to ensure you are consistent or use math games for daily practice if you find conventional problem solving boring.

5. Focus on Understanding Concepts

You cannot develop great mathematical thinking if you do not understand the basic concepts. Instead of repeatedly reading formulas on a page, focus more on understanding the concept. You can seek the help of a tutor if you’re having difficulty.

Understanding concepts makes it easier to solve math problems even during practice.

6. Change Up Word Problems

Math word problems are perhaps the trickiest for most students to solve. Work on improving your skills on this front, which will make you a better mathematical thinker. You can do this by studying a lot of textbooks that use math word problems and paying attention to your teacher in class.

If you are struggling a bit more, try reading out the word problems loud or drawing them out. Hearing the problem can help you visualize it, making it easier for you to solve it and improve your mathematical thinking.

7. Study Online Using Resources

Online study options are a great resource for anyone trying to hone their mathematical thinking. For instance, IB math online resources pack practice exams, question banks, and summary videos covering key math concepts to help you improve.

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