Algebra seems to be the Achilles Heel for many students, and most of them really dread going through mathematics classes, as they hate this subject with all their heart. However, being better in algebra can actually help better your reasoning skills, get better in mathematics and develop better focus and a clearer mind.
If the X, Y and Z of algebra haunt you at night and make your days seem never-ending, it is important for you to go through the following tips to know how to overcome algebra issues.
- Ask questions in class
The more you ask questions about the subject and its problems, the better you will be able to understand it. Do not just sit silently in class, waiting for the class to end. You should ask for demonstrations, simulations and clear illustrations to understand the subject properly before you feel comfortable enough to proceed to the next section of your lessons. Try to make the most of all the instruction that is being imparted to you.
- Practice regularly
There are methods, rules and processes in mathematics, which have to be learnt by heart. The more you practice them regularly, the clearer they will become.
- Set a specific time of the day to your algebra studies.
- Practice the rules regularly.
- Try to solve as many varied questions as possible.
- Focus on complex problems.
This will make it easier for you to tackle simpler algebra problems, in class or during tests.
- Check the relationships between variables
During problem-solving, you should take a close look at the relationship between two variables, where subtraction and division are concerned.
It is important to know which variable arrives first. When you are asked to show the difference between y and x in an algebra word problem, you have to write out the algebra and show x – y! Similarly, when the ratio of y and x is written out, it will show x / y.
While problem-solving, you can use calculators at home. This will encourage you to choose those methods which include more complex thought process that is possible with the limited amount of computation skills.
- Work with a tutor
You should work with a tutor to understand the subject more easily. Do not keep on struggling without any assistance. There are online universities with expert tutors who can provide you with help and support with studies at any time of the day or night.
You can find many useful exercises and video lessons to help you get over your fear of mathematics, understand the concepts much quicker and keep them in memory for longer time. There are useful resources available for students of any education level or age, for a small fee or even free of cost. You can use these tools for preparation or review prior to beginning your algebra course.
In case you are insecure about your algebra courses, talk to your educational advisor and take a refresher course to brush up on your skills first.
- Begin studying in groups
If you cannot seem to muster the motivation to set a definite time to study algebra, group-studying can help. You can find like-minded batch mates who are going through the similar ‘motivation problems’ as you, and sit down to study together. You can help each other to solve the problems if independent brain-storming does not really help.
A study group will work as your support group, which can be particularly useful in case you suffer from math anxiety.
The more you practice together, the better you will be able to find interest in the subject. Even on days when you cannot meet up together due to bad weather, illnesses or other factors, you can study alone and still get your focus on the topic.
- Use online resources
These resources inject fun into an otherwise boring topic, and you can view the subject from many other angles. You can get a better and easier understanding of all the difficult concepts and not have to memorize it. When you are under stress, your short term memory takes a bad hit, and you are likely to forget all the rules that you have crammed up on.
- There are fun tools, puzzles, games and riddles on algebra to be found online. These resources are designed to make the subject interesting for people who hate mathematics as a whole.
- You can find resources for students of all ages and mathematics levels.
- There are section-wise resources dedicated to students of any level, from basic junior level to advanced high level.
Other than online algebra resources, you will also find many useful strategies and self-help techniques to score well on the subject. You can choose the methods that will be suitable for your purpose and begin your preparations. It is necessary to have a proper study plan in order to be successful with your algebra sessions.
- Begin early preparations
Start preparing as early as possible, so that you do not forget all that you have learnt. If you cram up the rules and concepts in a short time, it is very likely that you will forget them equally fast. Practicing the algebra problems over a period of time will allow you to understand them well. Even during stressful situations, such as exam times, you are less likely to forget what you have learnt and practiced.
Beginning preparations early will help you avoid memorizing stuff. Mathematics is not only a set of rules that you need to memorize. In algebra, every concept builds on a previous one, and you have to understand the reasons behind the formulation of each and every rule.
With a full understanding of the reasons, you will be capable of remembering the concepts even better. You can implement them in various problems and not settle for using in case of what you have memorized.
- Take breaks
It is a good idea to take breaks frequently from your algebra sessions. Go out often and practice meditation and deep breathing. You will find the tension and nervousness flowing away, and be able to relax much easier. You will also feel more confident about your abilities.
Utter positive statements such as “I will prepare well”. “I will finish on time” and “I can practice all my lessons now”, and you will be able to get more confidence with your approach.
- Reward yourself after difficult sessions
After every difficult algebra session, you need to reward yourself generously. It is better to set a reward before every session, such as a treat, a special program or a weekend party.
Algebra is a difficult subject and no amount of sugar-coating the fact can help. However, mind-hacks such as rewards can be very useful in keeping your interest alive in the topic. You will overcome your fears about the subject and get more motivated to work on algebra.
- Schedule your sessions
It is a better idea to keep the difficult bits of your algebra sessions scheduled on Thursdays and Fridays. That way, you will be able to look forward to the weekend and manage your stress.
You will always be relaxed with the knowledge that you can get a big break after your sessions. The above tips will help you a lot in overcoming your algebra problems!