Working Math Exercises; Tips and Benefits

           By Vic Odarve

Mathematics texts/workbooks have something in common: exercise sets are presented at the end of the chapters. That’s why engineering students often wonder what are they for? More so, lecturers often told students to solve some of these exercises and submit the solutions on the next meeting. The message is clear: they are there to be worked out! These exercises are like a passport before students can go ahead to the next chapter. That is it!

Engineering Mathematics 1

Engineering Students

Like a wormhole, it screens whether students are ready for the next topics; also meant to wrap up everything what students are supposed to learn the whole chapter under study.  If the teachers do not give an assignment on the exercises, solve them by yourself for your own benefit. Following are tips on how to work most out of the exercises;

1. As starting point, select one exercise that is similar to your notes or workbooks or the one discussed by your teachers.

2. If you find still difficult and you could not solve anyone of the exercises, go back to the examples from your notes and textbook you are using. Review your example notes and solve without looking the solution. Check if you have a similar answer. If along the way you get stuck up, uncover the solution for a while and see where in the way you get lost. Repeat this process until you can master and understand how it is done. If you are convinced that you comprehend the process, go back to the exercise which is similar to your notes and solve it.

3. Make it a habit of reviewing or checking your work until your final answer. Since most exercises have answers, look and compare your answer only after you thoroughly check yours. If you get one exercise with a correct answer, solve the remaining. This way will build your confidence.

Working math exercises proves beneficial to engineering students. It relates to academic success. Following are common benefits derive from working math exercises;

1. Students who work math exercises perform better on tests or examination. By working exercises, students are reviewing what they cover in class, thus increasing their understanding of the subject concept better.
2. Students develop self-discipline and management skills too.
3. Students feel enjoyment and challenge in mathematics.
4. Students put their new acquired skills into practice. Practice makes perfect.


Math textbooks- a legacy for the next generation of students

Later, students will realize that what they learn in that particular chapter will be used in the next chapter. Mathematics or workbooks subject contents are presented in sequence. Master the first one before the next. Do not skip. If they could not solve the exercises at the end of the chapter, most likely they will be in trouble the next chapter. Follow the tips. Do it now, do not delay! Solve the exercises! Geniuses in mathematics are a gift from God, but skills could be developed!

Simply by following the tips, academic success and other benefits are yours.


Ask and Learn from your Classmates

By Vic Odarve

It is the simplest thing to do for the students to learn more and pass the course.

Last semester, I had a quiz in Mathematics consisted of four problems. The last problem was the most difficult. Thus, it required an extra mile solution – deeper analysis- so to speak! As expected, the results after marking: only 2 out of 380 students got perfect scores. No wonder, it was difficult. But one of these students who got perfect scores caught my attention. It was intriguing! This student had never been in my list as top performers of the class! After rechecking, I found her script was perfect from the initial steps of the solutions until the very end. The solutions were well presented. Presentation was so detailed that no appreciable error can be seen. When the class resumed, I returned their individual papers or scripts and let her solved the problems on the board. To my surprise she explained very well; discussed  solutions perfectly that the class applauded her. “Thank you, well done”, I commended her after the discussion. Oh my God, I was awed and shocked in disbelief?

Engineering Mathematics

Engineering Mathematics

After a week, I happened to meet and talk her in the library how she was able to solve the last problem. “Yes, very difficult sir but I was able to ask help from my classmate few days before the quiz and we discussed together”. That’s it. It was her secret! Asking help from her classmates! She was referring to the other one who always got perfect score in all of my quizzes –a gifted student in Math!

No doubt! She learned by asking help from her classmates during study and propelled her way to get perfect scores! A simple act yet effective in Mathematics! Asking help from your classmates or teachers is one of the options to learn and pass this course.

Every student runs into problems in Mathematics courses from time to time. Even the bright ones! This is a part of learning process. But students who ask help from teachers or classmates appear to move and recover the lessons easily. Problems are likely getting past by asking help. Resourceful students are doing this way.

Classroom lecture!

Classroom lecture!

By asking, students are benefited! The students may ask help from their classmates and get perfect scores during exams! But every student must know the art of asking either from her teacher or classmates in order to learn most out of it. The following tips help students maximize the benefits of asking from their classmates;

1. Do the explanations. Show the way how you come up the solutions until the steps you lose. The reason is clear: the one who does the explaining will learn the most.
2. When you are working in group or sharing some ideas, share your opinions with others. Don’t let only one person do all the talking. Participate!

Just follow the above tips and it works!