How do I jump from being A student in math to an A+ student?

A2A :-)

Well the biggest fear that a math enthusiast like me faces is the fear of exam. But I have recovered from that fear. And that had helped me a lot. By lot I mean

A LOT

Like think of the most enormous thing in the world and multiply that by infinity. That’s how much it had helped me.

Firstly, You HAVE TO love math to get an A+. You can never get an A+ in Math or any other subject without loving it.

If you go to pretty decent school, you will not be able to get A+ without loving math.

Here are some tips:-

  • DON’T think of exams like exams. Think of them as you are doing your homework. Be relaxed.

A2A :-)

Well the biggest fear that a math enthusiast like me faces is the fear of exam. But I have recovered from that fear. And that had helped me a lot. By lot I mean

A LOT

Like think of the most enormous thing in the world and multiply that by infinity. That’s how much it had helped me.

Firstly, You HAVE TO love math to get an A+. You can never get an A+ in Math or any other subject without loving it.

If you go to pretty decent school, you will not be able to get A+ without loving math.

Here are some tips:-

  • DON’T think of exams like exams. Think of them as you are doing your homework. Be relaxed. Think of them as you are doing practice problems.
  • SLEEP. Sleep has proven to improve productivity and also improve your IQ. Believe it or not. Read this. The article exactly explains how. Get 9 hours of sleep everyday. See the change after that!
  • DON’T use calculator while studying for a MATH test. You can use it in the real test if the teacher allows. By not using the calculator, you will allow your brain to process information quickly. It will be difficult at first, but trust me, you will be glad that you didn’t use this calculator in the practice problems.
  • DON’T care about your grade. Have you heard the quote, “When you care more about something, the thing ignores you. But when you care less about that thing, it will run behind you” ? You will see your grades improving when you do that!
  • NEVER cheat in an exam. You may get away with it on a test or 2, but it will catch you at some point in life and will destroy you just like a nuclear bomb!
  • DON’T panic. Calm down. This is very important because when you Panic, you are more likely to get the problems wrong.
  • REMEMBER. Not everyone is good at everything. If you are not good at math, you might be good at something else. For example, I am good at math, but not at History or English or French.
  • READ your math textbook. I repeat READ your math textbook. Many people don’t read their textbooks and jump on to youtube videos. Which is just useless and wasting time. I am not saying that you should not watch youtube video, but what I am saying is that you should first read your math tb and then watch videos.
  • ASK for help! This is very important. You should ask for help even if you have a very very very little doubt. It doesn’t matter. Just ASK!
  • TIME yourself while doing the Practice problems. Your test might not be timed, but it really pays off. Suppose you finish your test before time. Now you will have time to check your work!
  • READ math articles online. It will boost your mathematical knowledge.
  • TALK to your teachers about math. Talk about daily events and how do they relate to Maths!
  • MAKE a study plan for yourself. This is very important. People dream about succeeding, but don’t plan accordingly. PLAN your studies! Visit this website How to Create a Study Schedule

USE your time wisely.

Time will never wait for you!

So use it wisely and for good purposes only!

I tried my best to help you.

If you have anymore questions, than feel free to ask me!

Hope this helps!

I’m going to tell you something you’re not going to like. Stop stressing yourself out. Seriously, an “A” is an extremely respectable grade, and you should feel proud of yourself for your achievement. Honest. There is nothing you need to change about yourself. You’re doing just fine. Now go get a good night’s sleep and you won't feel as stressed or tired, which just might help you make fewer little mistakes.

Read more advanced math books. An A student with advanced knowledge is superior to an A+ student with only course-based knowledge.

  1. there usually more than one way to solve a problem. If you know the different pathways to solve something see if you can come up with the same answer both ways.
  2. do a raw (not precise ) estimation of what the answer should be. Rough estimates should be “in the ballpark” of the more precise answer. this will catch some of the stupid mistakes.
  3. My father always told me that you never know something as well as when you have to work with someone that is just not getting it. You learn to try different ways to explain the process and in the teaching someone you are forced to look at it closer.
  4. give yours
  1. there usually more than one way to solve a problem. If you know the different pathways to solve something see if you can come up with the same answer both ways.
  2. do a raw (not precise ) estimation of what the answer should be. Rough estimates should be “in the ballpark” of the more precise answer. this will catch some of the stupid mistakes.
  3. My father always told me that you never know something as well as when you have to work with someone that is just not getting it. You learn to try different ways to explain the process and in the teaching someone you are forced to look at it closer.
  4. give yourself a break I am sure that there are those who are not getting an A. Or B. Or…I love the desire to do better but sometimes we are pushing so hard we do not congratulate ourselves for what we have done. And sometimes this acknowledgement and easing back just a bit allows the brain to function freer = better.

If you are unbelievably exceptional. I’m talking good will hunting or Ramanujan then maybe you are capable of consuming and understanding the math as you read it. So it comes down to a question of how much sleep and how much can you read in those three months. Let’s say that an average number of words per condensed course notes for a course is something like 5000. I took the course notes for analysis 2 as an example, which can be found here:

http://www.math.mcgill.ca/drury/notes255.pdf

If you can read math at one page per minute and have complete comprehension and perfect memory. This course wou

If you are unbelievably exceptional. I’m talking good will hunting or Ramanujan then maybe you are capable of consuming and understanding the math as you read it. So it comes down to a question of how much sleep and how much can you read in those three months. Let’s say that an average number of words per condensed course notes for a course is something like 5000. I took the course notes for analysis 2 as an example, which can be found here:

http://www.math.mcgill.ca/drury/notes255.pdf

If you can read math at one page per minute and have complete comprehension and perfect memory. This course would take you about 150 minutes, give or take… Let’s also assume that given the knowledge, you don’t need to practice to do a practical application and that you are so good that you can just think about the theory and apply it and therefore answer the questions people might ask of you.

The honours math curriculum was 60 credits which means you would have to take 15 classes.

So 15 classes x 2.5 hours = 37.5 hours. I suppose that you could do that in a week with a comfortable work/life balance.

For people who are not born so exceptional that no standardized test is capable of accurately measuring their intelligence compared to others, this would not be a feasible task.

Because each page would need to be thought about and then maybe, if necessary, applied to an example so that you could understand it.

For this specific class, I would say that in a typical big university of about 40,000 students, you might get a few hundred that could get an A in it, provided they had a sufficient background. But that would normally take the majority of them the entire semester. But since they would be taking a full course load, you could maybe divide that in 5… and also, if you remove anything that isn’t math, you could maybe do a little quicker but not significantly so instead of 15 weeks, about 3 weeks per class. But again, you would have to be one of those students who is capable of getting an A in just about anything… also, you would have to do this consistently, so if you didn’t graduate with a GPA of 3.9/4 or above, this rules you out unless you weren’t trying.

Now Rinse and repeat for 15 classes, you get about 45 weeks. This is like the lower limit in some thought experiment for an EXCEPTIONAL student at a top university.

That is about a year. And for that, you would need to devote all of your time and attention to the task, have no distractions and also no need for help by others. It would also help to have condensed course material like the one I provided a link to you for.

So even if this was a silly question, both the short and long answer is no. except under insane conditions and those would preclude you from asking quora this question since you would already know the answer.

If you are talking about the high school curriculum… then yeah 3 months is enough.

I don’t know to what degree of mathematics study you are asking about, but perhaps my history of “studying” will help you understand what helps people to study in general, and why I believe studying mathematics is different from studying other subjects.

For other subjects, it is relatively easy to study merely by doing these things:

  • listening in class and making sure that you understand
  • asking questions only after you have listened, and also listening to the answers the teacher gives the questions from other students to see if you understand that answer
  • do ALL your classwork and ALL your homework

I don’t know to what degree of mathematics study you are asking about, but perhaps my history of “studying” will help you understand what helps people to study in general, and why I believe studying mathematics is different from studying other subjects.

For other subjects, it is relatively easy to study merely by doing these things:

  • listening in class and making sure that you understand
  • asking questions only after you have listened, and also listening to the answers the teacher gives the questions from other students to see if you understand that answer
  • do ALL your classwork and ALL your homework as instructed
  • if possible, do your classwork or homework as part of a group, so that part of your learning process is learning how to teach someone else what you have just learned
  • do your homework in a quiet place with no distractions
  • do something other than homework as well, like playing a musical instrument or riding a bike
  • find out what you need to study more on by going over the “questions you got wrong”
  • read as much of the textbook as possible, and often.
  • do other reading on the subject - and lots of it!

I did all of the above, and was a “top student” in all academic subjects in high school because of it.

By far the most important thing I did was the last one on the list.

Now here is the reason why “mathematics is different”.

First of all, even when you have a very good textbook, with lots of “worked examples” and lots of “exam type questions” with answers in the back of the book, lots of “theory”, lots of illustrations of the “relevance” of the mathematics being taught

it is not that easy to learn from a textbook “by yourself”.

And unlike other academic subjects there are not many books you can read that can substitute for the school experience.

  • you need to have a lot of practice answering very difficult questions in mathematics, and to have a teacher who will frequently “assess” how well you are doing, because you really can’t do that for yourself
  • you need to have a teacher that really understands how to teach mathematics, and how it is significantly different from other subjects
  • your teacher needs to be able to make mathematics interesting, relevant, memorable, and fun - which is very difficult to do if he also does the first two things

If you have to learn mathematics from a textbook “by yourself”, yes you will gain something by “doing it the hard way”. And you may even develop the skills needed to become a world famous mathematician.

But you will lose a lot more by not having “someone there” to speed up the process. Especially at high school level.

So let me make something very very clear to you right now.

  • If you do not use a textbook that much, either in classwork or for your homework, your school or your mathematics teacher are not teaching you correctly.

Now for a little bit of my background in mathematics, and why I blame my high school for not teaching me mathematics properly.

  • In primary school, I was lucky enough to have teachers who understood that at this level, the most important thing is to develop “basic tools” in arithmetic.
  • In other words, I am old enough to not have been “damaged” by the availability of calculators to “obtain an answer” - they were not around then. My “opinion” is that there should be no calculators in school at all in the mathematics classroom, until “functions” are studied.
  • For those of you with doctorates in mathematics who disagree, please tell me how many basic skills and concepts a student can learn in mathematics, merely by learning how to do “long division with decimals” on paper. And how they would learn it another way.
  • So I don’t care whether those of you with doctorates in “education” agree or not. Those who can’t teach, tell others how to teach.
  • In high school I was fortunate enough to have very good textbooks and very good teachers, and because I did all the things I have already recommended I was a “top student”.
  • Especially by reading a lot of books.

But I have one major complaint about mathematics teaching in “North American” high schools, compared to French or German high schools.

  • In my experience, many “North American” high schools do not make a distinction between “arithmetic” and “mathematics”.
  • Arithmetic is just a “collection of tools”. Mathematics is both a collection of tools and a collection of problems those tools can solve.
  • Yes, the focus should be “arithmetic” in primary school. But the focus should move to “mathematics” in secondary school.

There is an additional FOCUS that you NEED in “teaching and learning” mathematics, that you do not have in other subjects.

  • The ability to create a problem, solve that problem, and then utilise the answer.

I would suggest that the majority of high school students in “North America” still do not really know what “mathematics” is. Or what is so “important” about it.

Mathematics is the “language” of science.

My personal experience in “North American” high schools,

and the experience of my sons in UK high schools,

tells me that there is a problem in the “English language” teaching of the LANGUAGE of mathematics. That you don’t find in France or Germany.

Although at least the problem in UK schools is more just not using the textbooks.

As we can see from the link below, it isn’t so much that UK mathematics teachers don’t know how to teach, it is more often the schools that don’t let them teach the way they should,

because it is all about “grades” instead of “deep learning that lasts”.

National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics

deep and lasting procedural and conceptual mathematical understanding.

This is what should be important for you:

  • don’t worry about the grade
  • find out what you “got wrong” on the last test
  • figure out what you had not learned yet to get that answer wrong
  • practice getting the answer right
  • learn both the procedure and the concept, as everything you learn in mathematics has both, so practice identifying both
  • work with “someone else” so you can take turns learning from each other
  • if you are not “clever” enough to get the right answer all the time, neither are 99% of all the “top mathematicians”
  • try again

To become “fluent” in any “language”, including mathematics, focus first on the “practicalities”.

  • if you are already a “top student” in other subjects, then mathematics is only going to be different because you ALSO really need a good teacher and a good textbook
  • if you don’t have a good textbook or a good teacher, PAY for them if you can afford to
  • if you can’t afford to, at least get a “revision guide” GCSE Maths Revision Guide (with Online Edition)
  • in class give the teacher a chance to teach you by listening first, but then please ask questions if you don’t understand
  • it helps if you LIKE mathematics, physics, and computing
  • there are “computer and on-line resources” that can extend the work you do in class or at home, e.g. BBC Bitesize - GCSE Maths

Now to summarise my answer

which I have put at the end only because you need to first read what I recommended for you:

The best students in mathematics, at a high school level, very often do not “study” it that much.

  • This is probably because we were already “top students” in other subjects, by doing everything we were supposed to do.
  • What helped us with what everyone else thought was a “difficult subject” was our unwillingness to just “give up” and our willingness to “think about things for longer”.

Do what you are supposed to do.

Don’t give up just because it is “difficult”.

Think about it for longer.

I was in exactly the situation you describe. I was in one of the bottom classes for math. A year later I topped the school and astounded everyone. Here is how I did it:

I think it is mostly about attitude. I had a goal beyond just getting good at math. I wanted to be a great mathematician and solve problems about how the universe works. I didn’t aim to be the top student. I didn’t look at top students and envy them. I just tried to understand math as deeply as I could. I sometimes thought about how the math I was doing improves my cognitive functions, makes me better at analysing things and inc

I was in exactly the situation you describe. I was in one of the bottom classes for math. A year later I topped the school and astounded everyone. Here is how I did it:

I think it is mostly about attitude. I had a goal beyond just getting good at math. I wanted to be a great mathematician and solve problems about how the universe works. I didn’t aim to be the top student. I didn’t look at top students and envy them. I just tried to understand math as deeply as I could. I sometimes thought about how the math I was doing improves my cognitive functions, makes me better at analysing things and increases my IQ. Have a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. Your brain can improve with practise just as a muscle can improve with exercise. Practise having a mindset of grit and determination.

Having a worthy long term goal drove me to study math a lot. I came to really enjoy it. Make sure that you focus on being able to solve problems from textbooks as much as possible. Study problems beyond what the teachers tell you. Don’t just solve the given homework questions. Solve the hard problems in the textbook too.

Ask the teacher for a copy of last years exam. Teachers are often reluctant to give out last years exam because they are lazy and sometimes copy some of the questions into this year’s exam. You might have to go to the head of the math department to ask for it.

The math you are learning builds on what you have learnt before. After finishing a section of questions from the textbook, spend some minutes thinking of how what you have learnt fits in with the math you have previously learnt. And how the math can be applied to future problems. Some of my best mathematical insights came during those few minutes spent pondering.

Math can be frustrating when you don’t understand something. Someone in another post mentioned getting a tutor. That is a very good idea. I had an older brother, who also loved math, he helped me on occasion. Make sure the tutoring you get is one on one even if it costs more. One teacher and a bunch of students will mean you only get a fraction of the help you need. At the end of my last year at school, I suggested to the principal that the students in their final year spend the occasional lunch time or study period helping younger students that were struggling with their math homework or assignments. Thirty years later that school is still running that programme. At one stage a new principal was employed at the school and tried to cancel the tutoring. There was such a big outcry from everyone that the new principal backed down.

Good luck with your mission. Be prepared that some people will be jealous of you if you start doing well and will put you down. That is their problem, not yours.

My husband was only an average student in school but he became not only a 9 pointer in his college, he went on to clearing

JEE(IIT-JEE),

AIEEE,

CAT,

NDA,

SSC,

UPSC ESE

And is now working as an IRSE officer.

So, how did he study to to be able to clear some of the toughest exams in the country?

  1. He is very disciplined. We have been married for a little less than a year and in those 300 days, he woke up at the same time every day, ate at the same time, went to play badminton everyday. He showered twice a day even in winters. Washed his own clothes and kept everything in place without fail each and every si

My husband was only an average student in school but he became not only a 9 pointer in his college, he went on to clearing

JEE(IIT-JEE),

AIEEE,

CAT,

NDA,

SSC,

UPSC ESE

And is now working as an IRSE officer.

So, how did he study to to be able to clear some of the toughest exams in the country?

  1. He is very disciplined. We have been married for a little less than a year and in those 300 days, he woke up at the same time every day, ate at the same time, went to play badminton everyday. He showered twice a day even in winters. Washed his own clothes and kept everything in place without fail each and every single day (I am just opposite)
  2. I have never seen him snoozing alarm even if he has to go for inspection early morning or late at night. Never heard him saying “I am tired”.
  3. He loves studying. He studies still. He teaches me maths because he loves it and he wanted to change my view that maths suck(I have actually started to like maths). He is not one of those who was pushed into engineering. He did it because he loves it.

So, interest and discipline are the most important qualities of a top student.

Next, he taught me the best way to memorise anything. Most of the top students study like this. I wish I knew this before, I would have been an officer myself. Well it is never too late. Anyway, what he did was

Whenever he picked up any new book.

  • He skimmed through the entire book in 1–2 days and made a mind map of what he would be studying.
  • He then divided all the topics as per his schedule so that he could complete it within the stipulated time frame. He set daily, weekly, monthly, yearly goal. The happiness of conquering a goal kept him motivated.
  • After completing a topic, he scribbled down whatever he remembered or acted like he is explaining it to someone else. This made him realise the grey areas in his knowledge.
  • He kept first hour of his new day for revising what he studied a day before. So, on day 2 he would quickly revise what he studied on day 1, on day 3, he would revise what he studied on day 1 and day 2, on the last day of the week he would revise the entire week's study.
  • On the last day of the week, he solved questions related to the topics he completed in that week. He would do the same at the end of every month.
  • He solved as many questions as he can and wrote as many tests as he can.

So, revise, revise, revise, write, write, write is his mantra.

His hard work, smartness and discipline paid off beautifully.

I have started to study in the same way and I am shocked at how quickly and easily I am able to learn.

Learn to enjoy math outside the classroom. Math is used in every single piece of technology. Microwaves, buses, light bulbs, even the device you used to type this question. Understand the value of what it actually represents, not just your grade. Write down five reasons why you want to do better at math, besides because you want a good grade. Once that list is complete, then start working on that grade.

  1. Take good notes, and interact with them afterwards. Make sure you have the important stuff easily identifiable.
  2. Do the homework. This seems a no brainier, but practice makes perfect!
  3. Study. But st

Learn to enjoy math outside the classroom. Math is used in every single piece of technology. Microwaves, buses, light bulbs, even the device you used to type this question. Understand the value of what it actually represents, not just your grade. Write down five reasons why you want to do better at math, besides because you want a good grade. Once that list is complete, then start working on that grade.

  1. Take good notes, and interact with them afterwards. Make sure you have the important stuff easily identifiable.
  2. Do the homework. This seems a no brainier, but practice makes perfect!
  3. Study. But study smart. Don’t cram for hours the night before your test. Instead study every night for 30 minutes. This is much more effective and easier.
  4. Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to get help where you need it. Talk to your parents, your teachers, maybe even your classmates if you need more clarification on a concept. It might seem embarrassing, but it’s not, and is much better than doing poorly on a test.
  5. Enjoy it! Math is journey, and you should have as much fun as possible discovering the beauty of it. Have a great time diving into the world of Mathematics and know that you are discovering the answers to questions that people centuries ago, have spent their whole lives searching for.

That brilliant student topping the class is also average. It's just that he/she works hard and is dedicated. Believe me. I used to be that student.

Here are some things I did which I think helped me:

1. Pay attention in class. I can't stress this enough. If you listen in class then you won't have to work hard to study. The teacher may be bad but you have to actively try to learn in every lecture. Doesn't matter if it's the 8th lecture today. Give your full concentration in class, everyday.

2. Along with listening to your teacher, also make your notes. Make notes such that your friend who can't at

That brilliant student topping the class is also average. It's just that he/she works hard and is dedicated. Believe me. I used to be that student.

Here are some things I did which I think helped me:

1. Pay attention in class. I can't stress this enough. If you listen in class then you won't have to work hard to study. The teacher may be bad but you have to actively try to learn in every lecture. Doesn't matter if it's the 8th lecture today. Give your full concentration in class, everyday.

2. Along with listening to your teacher, also make your notes. Make notes such that your friend who can't attend the class should be able to read your notes and understand everything taught. Don't miss anything.

3. After coming home/hostel, go through your notes and try to see if you understand everything. If you have doubts, think about it, try to solve on your own, google it. If you still don't understand, then make a note of it and be sure to ask your teacher the next day. Going through your notes once is enough. You are only studying what was taught in one day, so it's easy to do.

4.For good grades, always start your preparation early. Plan your study like a campaign.Assign each chapter a time frame( a realistic one that takes your procrastination into account) and the order in which you will study. Keep a buffer of 2-3 days just in case.( a surprise quiz shouldn't be a complete surprise).

5. While studying after each chapter, try to summarize whatever you have learnt.

6. After finishing your course, now get down to solving previous papers or sample papers. Practice with a timer.

P.S: Do your homework yourself and do it the day it is given along with the daily studying of your notes.

Make sure to calibrate your definition of “good” and “great”. Your definitions could be different from mine.

My definition of someone who is “great at math” is someone who has mastered all relevant mechanics (for their level, and probably a little beyond), understands WHY those mechanics work, and can apply them to novel situations.

A great chess player should win against lessor players consistently. The great chess player has usually memorized entire games of the masters. They don’t just mimic master-plays, but they know WHY the master made that play.

Challenge yourself. Seek challenging problem

Make sure to calibrate your definition of “good” and “great”. Your definitions could be different from mine.

My definition of someone who is “great at math” is someone who has mastered all relevant mechanics (for their level, and probably a little beyond), understands WHY those mechanics work, and can apply them to novel situations.

A great chess player should win against lessor players consistently. The great chess player has usually memorized entire games of the masters. They don’t just mimic master-plays, but they know WHY the master made that play.

Challenge yourself. Seek challenging problems that apply the concepts you work with. Seek more difficult problems. Play with math puzzles. Try to identify mathematical patterns in [seemingly] random events. Watch videos and try to follow the explanations. [A History of Maths, and anything by Vi Hart are good.]

Inundate yourself. Practice makes perfection, and even then you'll never achieve perfection, so practice practice practice. I can't provide with a singular answer as to how you'll suddenly achieve absolute fluency in mathematics. All I can tell you is establish habits:

  • Study for 2-3 hours a day (or establish your own pattern).
  • Download apps on your phone that teach math fundamentals and constantly review them.
  • Take part in extra curriculars (math clubs, study groups, etc)
  • Take free courses in mathematics on EdX, Coursera, Khan Academy, etc.
  • Watch, review and take notes on YouTube videos that des

Inundate yourself. Practice makes perfection, and even then you'll never achieve perfection, so practice practice practice. I can't provide with a singular answer as to how you'll suddenly achieve absolute fluency in mathematics. All I can tell you is establish habits:

  • Study for 2-3 hours a day (or establish your own pattern).
  • Download apps on your phone that teach math fundamentals and constantly review them.
  • Take part in extra curriculars (math clubs, study groups, etc)
  • Take free courses in mathematics on EdX, Coursera, Khan Academy, etc.
  • Watch, review and take notes on YouTube videos that describe fundamentals and work your way up to the more complex concepts.
  • Go old school and buy some really cheap math text books. Just because the physical book is outdated doesn't mean the theories are.


Its the 21st century which means anyone with an active internet connection can become an expert at virtually anything, at least theoretically, you just have to truly want it.