# Boards

## Maths

Are you good at Maths? Did you have a good Maths teacher at school?

I wish I was better at Maths- got really put off by having one of the worst teachers in Maths for the last 3 years of school. Managed to get a B at GCSE, but it was the only GCSE I put any real effort into.

Are there any good resources to build mathematical knowledge?

## 8 x 7

Come on, quick as a flash!

## 87

## I've forgotten a lot of it now, but I used to be good at maths.

My teacher at A-level was great for that level, as his was interested in his subject to the exclusion of not really being able to control a class at all. I'm so glad I didn't have him for GCSE.

## I came top in maths in my school

It wasn't that good a school, but there were some clever kids, so it's quite terrifying that in the space of 17 years I have completely forgotten something I used to be VG at. like, I can't even remember that triangular stuff. I'd go as far as to say I'm terrible at maths.

## Does it make you feel obtuse?

## acutley square!

## That's not even possible!!

## I loved my tecahers so much

We had Mr T*****, he had two suts which he rotated- one was a chocolate brown tweed, and the other a SHMOPKY BLUE (we used to say 'och Mr T*****, you've got the shmokey blooooo on the day!!')

We also has Miss C******, and we thought her and Mr T***** had a wee thing, but then she got engaged, and one of the bad girls in the class said 'you'll be looking forward to losing your virginity then Miss C'.

Who would ever be a teacher?

## by the way

the joke is that I left school at 17, which was 21 years ago. Not 17. hehehe I cant count.

## Its weird, cause I can remember loads of science stuff I learnt

and History and English Etc, but very little from Maths. Looked at a really basic algebraic formula last night and was completely confused. Have no recollection of trigonometry at all...

## completely

like off the top of my head, I know that boyles law is PV = c where p is thegas pressure, v is the volume and c is the constant.

Algebra, however, I just don't know where to start. It's like my brain has chewed it up and spat it out forever. I'd like to think that it did so to make way for more useful things, but I do sometimes worry that I've dumped years of excellent education into the skip in order to fill my head with Gossip Girl and the L Word.

## I was good at the band...

## all calculators and spreadsheets now innit

## My arithmetic skills are okay... not the quickest, but fine.

Anything beyond that was lost on me though. Couldn't remember any formulas, couldn't understand what the point was of calculating pi or anything more esoteric, I just remember it feeling totally academic and without any relation to the real world, and I gave up hope.

## "without any relation to the real world"

That's only the case if you go and study something like English at university though.

## Nah, most scientific/engineering accomplishments are just trial and error

Did the bridge fall down? No? Ok, good to go.

## this isn't helping

me with my bridge phobia :/

## Way to miss my point, nerdlinger.

I know that there's little that is more practicably applicable to "the real world" than fundamental mathematical principles, but learning maths in school didn't feel like that - for me, at least. Being taught the formula for quadratic equations by rote and then doing loads of them didn't feel like I was learning something that was useful or would come in handy later, but neither was it presented in a way which I was led to enjoy the problem solving aspect or to try and appreciate the wider mathematical theories.

Some people learn to read without ever wanting to go and read Shakespeare. Some people learn how to work out a bill without wanting to understand prime numbers.

## the fbi or cia/nsa pay people if they find new prime numbers

## I don't know what your syllabus was like,

but did you not do any statistics or mechanics in maths?

## I don't think any of that came up in my syllabus

Though it was over a decade ago, so may be wrong.

Late undergrad was my first intro to statistics as far as I know.

## there were bits of stats

but stats gcse had more, obvs.

can't remember any mechanics. though that would be more physics, right?

## Yeah, but it included a lot more things like projectile modelling than

GCSE or A-level physics included.

(or at least the courses I did anyway)

## I was very good at maths

Integration, surds, cosine, radians, all that lark. Of course I remember virtually none of it. My only remaining skill is being quick at mental maths.

That said, I WAS excited last week to apply Pythagoras Theorem to build a tool to analyse proximity of referring physicians to major hospitals last week at work.

## Probably helps that numbers have always been one of my mental comforts

in a sort of Curious Incident way (although WAY less extreme).

e.g. I remember working out square numbers in my head when I was 7 or 8 because it was calming, and these days I like working out prime numbers to set my alarm to (like 7:27) when I'm struggling to sleep.

## 7:27's not a prime number is it?

7:23 or 7:29 would be fine.

## I remove the :

So you work with 727. Not nearly as much fun being constrained to primes below 60 if you just use the minutes (obviously I know those off the top of my head!)

723 and 729, of course, are divisible by 3.

7:22 is also good, because it's 22 over 7, which is the classic simplification of pi :D

## Oh

I thought you meant the total number of minutes (ie 7:27 = 447).

## Oh my heavens, that is a whole new perspective

Imagine finding a number which was a prime when considered in both ways!!! I have 17 hours of flying to kill this week - think I know how I'm going to spend them now

## oh goodness

I'm like this, but about multiples of 16.

## Which itself is a square number AND 2 to the power of 4

Also love cube numbers

## PRECISELY!!111

## 4^2 = 2^4

## It was my best subject by far

but it wasn't COOL so I sacked it off and now I work in admin where I get to be supercool every day.

## I think you're cool

elaina thinks you're cool/ cute so you did OKAY.

## i was good

but didn't enjoy it. Got As in maths and stats but was happy to drop them at a-level. And given how big the jump from gcse to a-level seemed for maths glancing at my friends' work, I was glad to skip it.

## I wish I'd learnt stats now. so bloody useful

## Can't remember any of it, to be honest

## What do you think makes you bad at maths?

I mean simple addition and the like is really more about memory than calculation because it's faster. Like learning times tables was all about just know that 7x7 is 49, rather than calculating it. 8+5 is 13, etc. That kind of quick maths is more about learning by rote.

At GCSE we did some stuff like circumference of a circle calculations and the like, but it wasn't until A-Level maths where I actually encountered pure maths of mechanics. Neither of these things are actually a great deal of use in every day stuff, but they're interesting enough on their own.

Factorising and the like will have whole Wikipedia pages on them.

## I found that a lot of it was being able to visualise abstract processes in your head.

Those that can do that, seem to find A level and beyond pretty straightforward, those that can't, struggle.

Having done architecture at university, it was really interesting to see how some of the really talented students, who could visualise and conceptualise really complicated spaces and forms in their head, couldn't translate that across to abstract processes when we were doing things like structures and engineering.

## absolutely this^

And I think nice_squirrel makes a very valid point along these lines too. if you can't make the abstract process inot a kind of story that explains itself to you and can be conjured up, then you are either going to fail, or you need to photographically memorise it in your short term memory at the very last minute (I had to do the latter for about 75% of my law exams because none of it really interested me /made much sense.)

## As with everything, it's a lot easier to understand and remember information if you do work on it.

Work that goes beyond simply writing or re-writing. You have to form an image or framework in your head of how everything is connected and how those connections can change and be manipulated.

## Carelessness and really bad short-term memory is my main problem

like I can only hold a few numbers in my head at a time, which is obviously not a hindrance to something like english but is to maths.

I think also confidence is a huge thing too.

## brilliant at arithmetic, don't know much proper maths

Standard grade and higher maths are a piece of piss anyway (1 and A respectively, obviously, I'm not a thicko) but I think A level has some more interesting stuff in the syllabus.

I wish I knew more maths. I've got a friend who's a maths academic and what he does is just hilariously beyond comprehensible to me.

## just remembered my Higher teachers

I had two, and they were both awful in basically opposite ways. One never wanted to be a maths teacher (he had a history degree) and wasn't very good at maths, so forced us to do dozens of examples for each minor iteration of a concept, because that was the only way he could learn. I used to have more maths homework every night than every other subject combined because of that lecherous prick.

The other one was really good at maths but horrible at teaching it because it was so intuitive to him. Someone between those two extremes would've been nice.

## I regret not studying Maths at A-Level now a bit.

I got an A at GCSE (back when GCSEs were difficult) and I'm considering doing Higher Maths next year at night school.

## I'm starting a new job in December

which is working on Primary School maths materials. My last maths qualification was GCSE!

:/

## It's one of a great many things I'm excellent at

Took a bit of getting back up to speed when I started doing accountancy exams having not done any maths since GCSE but now I'm absolutely fucking brilliant at it.

And yes, the spreadsheet does most of the work.

## I can't keep it in my head

I got an A at GCSE in the end, but an E in my mock. I understand it when I'm taught it, so I would get homework right, but a few minutes later I've completely forgotten everything I learned. Managed to get through the GCSE by revising right up until the minute I went in. I think it's because there's no narrative to it, nothing interesting or impressive to remember (at least not at basic level).

I need to use percentages and ratios quite often at work, but I usually use an online calculator for them rather than trusting my brain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CACQmiaU6CU

I was fast-tracked in maths, but then I had a self confidence issue and asked to get put back in with the norms. Then I had a teacher who I hated and who hated me and it all went down hill from there. Oh what my life could have been.

## exactly the smae happened to me

Moved up two years from a class in which I was already the youngest. Shat myself when I heard the foul language that the 8 year olds were using (I was 5) and asked if I could go back down, where I was welcomed back like a hero (cos of new vocab).

## ^Still struggles with some of the 7 year old spellings...

had a pretty shite teacher for most of secondary school, never did any work and hated it then had an amazing teacher for higher and did really well in maths and physics. this is gonna sound so silly but i found actually reading the textoook helped a lot... previously i had just being skipping all the explanations. the more detail i went into, the easier i found it.

also think getting into my head that i wasn't interested in it/good at it at a young age turned me off maths and made it difficult to concentrate on it. i started in all the lowest groups for maths (and english, didn't learn to read properly till i was 8) and kinda internalized this idea that i was crap at school.

## Maths was like history (actually, probably most subjects) at school for me

really unengaging, all felt a bit pointless and abstract. Then, years down the line, you find out that it can be really fascinating and is totally relevant to the real world. Sincerely hope the current education system's better than it was then.

Alex's Adventures in Numberland by Alex Bellos is a really good book - each chapter is based around different areas of mathematics, like counting, probability, geometry and they read well in sequence, but are also broken up so that they're quite digestible. It's really fun, especially considering how dry you'd expect a book on maths to be.

## Completely agree on history

Hated it then, wish I knew more about it now. If only there was some way of learning about it.

## Didn't like maths much when it was mental arithmatic

(Dyslexia etc just made it incredibly difficult)

However, when it moved on to trig and theory stuff, I genuinely loved it, I always loved Physics as well.

## I had a bit of a mental block with maths for a long while

as I was often made to stay late at school, called stupid and told I was bad at maths because I couldn't easily and quickly do my times tables or good at doing subtraction in my head.

## Thing I find weird

Is how (at least when I was at school) maths is so dry and so focussed on quite abstract things - geometry, pure calculus, surds, etc

But then, in the real world - finance, data, engineering, science are huge sectors in this country but a lot of our maths that we learn at school doesn't really match up with the actual skills that we need in reality.

In conclusions, maths (at least at higher levels like AS/A2) should be focussing even more on:

- proofs

- problem solving

- mathematical programming/computing

- simulation

- statistics and statistical modelling

- hypothesis testing

- Bayesian stats

## I did all that in A-level maths

We even made our own Magic Eye pictures using vectors and stuff.

## I know some is covered to some extent (stats, proofs, problem solving)

but we didn't do programming or computing (would be so easy with R or something to get people writing simple mathematical scripts).

Also we didn't do anything about simulation when you can't analytical solve something.

These are things used so much in the real world. Basically I think there could be an 'applied mathematics' module at the very least, to go with Pure, Mechanics, Stats etc.

## We did a module called 'Decision & Discrete'

It involved modelling, algorithms, programming etc.

It had the added bonus that by the end of it all, we could write basic football and gambling games on our calculators.

## ahh ok

that sounds cool. wish we'd had that

## Don't get the more refined elements of it

but took the GCSE in yr10 and got a B then was able to sack it off for yr11.

i had shit teachers who didn't give anyone the time of day.

i've also got a processing disorder that has shown to have similar traits to dyscalculia (i see/hear a number and process it/say it as another/write another number down in its place. i'm always making mistakes - doesn't help when i work on tills in a number/stats-heavy industry)

yet i still i got 98% in my exams. must be a pure genius. my dad taught me how to read and write and do basic arithmetic and problem solving when i was very, very young so i feel it has something to do with that.

also, i struggle with mental arithmetic to this day/doubt myself and have to check things over multiple times with paper. i'm the same with spelling, though.

## yeah, i was pretty good at maths

did GCSE at 13, A-Level at 15, and i haven't touched it since. being good academically at a shitty comp in Yorkshire is going to mark you out kinda, which is never a good thing. still bitter about it

## I thought I was good at maths

until I did a degree in it

to be fair, I was smoking ounce upon ounce of hygrade chronic for the entire duration

## i was pretty good at maths

got an A at A-level, got a gold & best in school in the UK Maths Challenge for Years 9-11 when I was in Year 9 (this apparently made some kid in Year 11 cry because he was convinced he was the best at maths in the school, which meant loads of Year 11 kids thought i was awesome for a bit), got a bronze (i think) in a European maths competition and a certificate of participation in some international competition run by some uni in Canada.

then i went to do Maths at Cambridge and it all went a bit wrong. i didn't do Further Maths as my school didn't offer it, and Cambridge assume you'll have done it, so i was behind before i'd even started. caught up on the more mechanics type stuff by the end of the first year but stats and analysis and some other stuff never sunk in, ended up getting the worst score out of anyone in the year who actually turned up to their exams. they said i couldn't come back for the second year but tbh i'd have left anyway, was shit there.

i then went to do Physics at Imperial, which didn't assume you'd done Further Maths (or indeed a year of a Maths degree), so i was back to being miles ahead again. then i got lazy and got a 2.2 and now i do IT development instead.

## I got best in that maths challenge thing too

was so chuffed to beat all the maths people :D

## year after I got best

i came second to this kid in my class. he was pretty good but admitted that he had guessed almost every answer and managed to get almost all of them right. he was so happy to beat me.

reclaimed my title the year after though, but only got bronze i think? weak year that year.

## That's interesting.

My brother did physics at Nottingham and they assumed that you had done further maths at A level - so if you hadn't they created what was effectively a remedial class in the first semester to teach it.

## that sounds really helpful, would have helped me massively

didn't do anything like that at Cambridge though. they did give out "extra hard" questions each lecture though in case the normal ones weren't challenging enough, so i think they were focussing on the other end of the ability scale.

## Further maths has never been *required* to do maths at Cambridge

although as you say just about everyone who goes there has done both. None of the components of FM is explicitly needed to get started on Part I, although it can help a bit (I found having done some serious mechanics quite useful).

From recollection very little of the first year syllabus doesn't start effectively from first principles. I mean even though you'll be using calculus in linear systems you'll still be actually deriving the calculus in analysis at the same time in another course.

## ahh shit forgot about that maths challenge thing

I got a gold in that too.

## done some pretty good sums in my time

fucking long division and all that.

## loved maths gcse

As we had a brilliant teacher, then did a level and had him for pure but another one for mechanics and it all just started to go over my head, especially in A2.

Still got a C which isn't too bad I guess

Really love firing times tables at my kids now.

Subthread: favourite tines table?

Mine is 9x9 81

## big fan of the 9 times table

always liked how the individual digits add up to 9, first one increases by 1, second one decreased by 1. then 99 ruins it.

## but...

you know that the digits of any number divisible by 9 add up to a number divisible by 9 right?!

## I got an A* at GCSE and an A at A level

Really, I should have applied it at degree level but I let it slip.

I reckon I have forgotten everything I learned at A level maths. Depressing, really.

## I loved maths at school

Did it at university.

Have used it extensively in four different jobs in my career since.

There's a lot more to maths than arithmetic and plugging numbers into spreadsheets. Still love it and still scribble formulas and stuff on bits of paper for fun occasionally in my spare time.

I always find it depressing when people say that they learnt the quadratic equation solution by rote/heart since the derivation of it is quick, elegant and quite satisfying to do on the fly. Exactly the sort of problem-solving skill that maths is really all about.

## I'm one of the dumber people on this site I got an A* in GCSE maths

which I was pleased with as I wasn't in the top set. It sucked because the highest grade you could get was limited by the 'set' you were put in based on your Year 7 - 9 performance. Lower sets weren't taught the material required to get higher grades which I thought was unfair. I had to do an optional exam to stand a chance of getting an A* and self-teach half the module 10 stuff, if anyone's familiar with that.

After all that hard work I failed AS Further Maths, realised it wasn't for me, and now study something completely un-Maths.

## did it as a bachelor for some reason

think it's a total doss subject if you're decent at it

bored of it now though

## probably less of a doss if you go to a more serious uni than i did

## reckon i'd be a completely different person if i studied a social science instead

would be way more organised and better at articulating my thoughts

Fairly good, at secondary school I got sent on a to the local uni fir 6 weekends of master class lessons on account of being good at maths, I was 2nd choice as my friend refused to go, I refused to go but then my parents bribed me with super street fighter 2 on the mega drive. Went down hill at some point, ended up with a B at gcse

## I was always very good at arithmetic, probability, statistics...

I was less good at anything spatial. Trigonometry I could kind of understand it, but then stuff like loci and all that advanced trig. Quadratic equations! Fucking hell, what a palava. What are they all about?

I got a C at Maths GCSE... I wasn't a very good student and used to wind up the teacher loads. She put me in detention once and then came onto me. It was all a bit weird. She liked Marilyn Manson, I dunno if that was something to do with it.

Nowadays I spend most of my days doing stuff with figures in Excel so I know a little bit more.

Maths is really one of those subjects I wish I'd bothered properly with. I dunno if I wasn't taught very well, whether it was because I went to a bad school or if I was just a cunt of a teenager.

## great thread

Once I got bored in a biology exam cos I had no idea what I was doing so wrote the squares of every number up to 150.

## Did you calculate them in your head?

If so, mad respect.

## yeah, I was always good at that stuff

Plus doing them sequentially makes it easier, as the gap between n^2 and (n+1)^2 is always n+(n+1). So going from 103^2 to 104^2 was just a matter of adding 103+104 to 207.

Or something.