Mathematics is considered to be a somewhat difficult subject. It also happens to be a core subject of most school curriculums around the world and is an integral part of our education systems.
When thinking about maths, Pi, long division and the multiplication table probably come to mind.
But what if we told you, maths is even more important than you may have initially thought?
What’s The Deal?
Maths is like Marmite, you either love it or you hate it and according to a study from the University of Sheffield, most people tend to hate it.
What’s more is that “60% of UK companies are not confident they will gain employees with the mathematical skills to meet the needs of an increasingly scientific future,” whilst the Nuffield Foundation reports that the UK is the lowest of 24 developed countries when it comes to studying maths beyond the age of 16.
It’s clear as a nation, we have anxieties around maths.
But maths is more than just statistics, percentages and good test scores. Maths in conjunction with science teaches us:
- Skills of posing hypothesis
- Designing experiments and controls
- Analysing data
- Recognising patterns
- Seeking evidence
- Conclusions and proof
- Solving problems
- Being open to new information.
On the whole, a better understanding and further learning of mathematics enables us to think creatively and critically, regardless of our area of work.
Our Top tips
We understand that there are a lot of negative feelings around maths as a subject. But there’s no need to be worried, it’s now easier than ever to work on areas you may be lacking in. Yes, maths can be hard, but with our top 4 helpful tips, improving your maths skills should be a doddle.
- Play Moving Maths, Size Counts and Square numbers in Peak
These are all under the “Problem Solving” section of the app and can be played in a matter of minutes. Not only are they a fun and challenging way of boosting and practicing your math skills, but they can also be played on your morning commute into work. These games can help you train your:
- Arithmetic skills
- Working memory
- Quantitative reasoning
And as an added bonus you’ll improve your score on Moving Maths, getting one step closer to achieving Legend status (woohoo).
2. Take classes
Classes are fast becoming an easy way for people to learn new skills and build on existing knowledge. These classes come in all shapes and forms and you have the option of choosing from night classes, part-time, E-learning, online courses and private tutors. It’s in your hands and you can choose one that works around your busy work and life schedule.
A study produced by Michelle Dorin from the University of Phoenix titled Online Education of Older Adults and its Relation to Life Satisfaction found even minimal exposure to online education for adults can in fact, increase life satisfaction, demonstrating the multiple, long-term benefits of online education.
3. BBC Skillswise
This is a site normally used by teachers and young adults, but there’s no reason you can’t use it to brush up on some of your maths skills. BBC Skillswise is a really great free tool to use. It features helpful videos, factsheets and downloadable worksheets which can help you on the following skills:
- Number lines
- Number symbols
- Place value
- Negative numbers
- Rounding and estimating
4. Pick up a book
Math anxiety is a well-known phenomena and many people have written about their experiences and how they combatted math anxiety. These books or guides provide helpful techniques to assist you in overcoming any underlying issues you may have.
Quick Maths Tips
1. Adding Large Numbers
Adding big numbers in your head can be tricky, we have a method you can use that simplifies this process, so you can do it quickly and easily.
Example: 737 + 624
This can be a pretty hard sum to do in your head, so to make it a little easier we can make all the numbers into multiples of 10 by rounding up or down. So the sum becomes:
740 + 620
Which equals = 1,360
Now to find the original equation answer takeaway the amount you rounded down to the amount you rounded up, essentially whatever action you took to turn the number into a multiple of 10, you replicate it here, like:
624 – 4 = 620
737 + 3 = 740
Do the sum 4 – 3 = 1
Then add the number to the first sum total and you get your answer:
737 + 624 = 1,361
2. Finding a Percentage
Finding a percentage of a number can be a useful yet tricky thing to do, but with this simple trick you will be calculating percentages with your eyes closed!
Example: find 5% of 25
Start by moving the decimal point over by one space – 25 becomes 2.5
Divide 2.5 by 2 which equals – 1.25
Which also happens to be the answer to 5% of 25.
3. Difficult Multiplication
Multiplying large numbers is near impossible for us mere mortals, here is a trick you can use to multiply large numbers, in your head.
Example: 20 x 240
if one of the numbers is even, divide the first number in half, and then double the second number.
20 divided by 2 is 10 and 240 doubled is 480
Next, multiply both answers together
10 x 480 = 4,800
As it happens, 20 x 240 also = 4,800
Maths can be a tricky subject, whether you had a bad experience with it in school or just never enjoyed it, there is no denying that it is an important and necessary skill to possess and is sure to help you in whatever career or profession you work in.
It’s time to face your mathematic fears and get your long division on.