Whether you’re looking to gain a new skillset or simply want to build on your existing knowledge base, teaching yourself math can be the perfect way to achieve your learning goals—especially if you’re short on time or are unable to enroll in traditional classes. It takes consistent work, dedication, and a little know how to tackle the fundamentals of mathematics with any degree of success, but with the right approach you’ll find yourself on the path to mastering the subject in no time.
1: Challenges to Mastering Math on Your Own
Although countless students out there have been able to teach themselves math, it’s important to be aware going in that this can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Without access to an experienced teacher and fellow peers able to answer questions and provide feedback, it can be easy to hit a wall while trying to master complex concepts.
You’ll need to be willing to work through tricky equations and formulas slowly as you understand and digest what’s required, and remain dedicated to learning even when it gets difficult. With a positive mindset and the right approach however you’ll be far more likely to meet success in your learning journey.
2: Benefits to Becoming Self-Taught
Though the prospect of learning on your own may feel daunting at first, there are several potential benefits to becoming a self-taught mathematician. Being able to move your own pace is one of the biggest advantages, as you can focus on topics or concepts you personally find interesting or important and skip the rest if you need to. You don’t need to worry about someone else’s timeline or opinion, allowing you the freedom to access learning materials whenever’s most convenient for you.
You’ll also save money throughout the process, as classes, materials, and lectures become free and in some cases unlimited with the simple click of a mouse.
3: How to Access Learning Materials
In this day and age, the web is the top destination for educators looking to further their knowledge, and aspiring mathematicians are no exception. There are a variety of websites available that make learning new math concepts simple and straightforward for students of any level. They’ll often feature helpful tutorials, practice materials, and even one-on-one virtual tutors for anyone who’s having trouble with a particularly tough area of mathematics.
You can even access videos and lectures from some of the world’s most knowledgeable professors, allowing you to gain valuable expertise without ever needing to step foot in a classroom.
4: Setting Achievable Goals
Especially if you’re teaching yourself mathematics in a short amount of time, it’s important to set achievable goals early on in the process. Break complex topics down into smaller, more manageable components and strive to understand and apply them as you go. Make sure to mark down each time you master a separate concept or issue, as watching your progress will help you stay motivated and make sure you’re on track.
This is especially important if you’ve allotted yourself a tight timeline, so it’s prudent to build in rewards that you can use along the way to celebrate your successes.
5: Seeking Help When Needed
Though you’re teaching yourself and don’t require a teacher, having access to some support along the way from family, friends, and tutors can be invaluable. Having someone to provide feedback and explain concepts can help you avoid making simple errors, as well as make sure that your understanding of mathematics is deep enough to ensure future success. Use enlisted help to foster a better learning environment and make sure that you’re completely grasping every idea before moving forward.
You can also join online forums where others are asking math questions, as this can often create a helpful exchange of ideas between learners of various levels and abilities.
6: Practicing What You Learn
As with any type of learning, practice makes perfect when it comes to math. As you become familiar with a new topic or concept, challenge yourself with multiple equations of increasing complexity to ensure that you’re ready to tackle work of any difficulty. Use practice tests and exams whenever possible to see how far you’ve come and get a better idea of what you’ve learned.
It’s always important to solve problems independently however, as this will make sure that your understanding of the material is fair and complete before you move on.
7: Exploring Contextual Examples
Being able to put different mathematical concepts and processes into context is a great way to not only ensure mastery of the material, but also gain a more complete understanding of how it works in the real world. However you’re learning, be sure to explore examples of each concept in relation to real-world problems and applications, as this will help you to better understand the full scope of each process. Exercise caution when looking up answers, however, and make sure that you don’t solve problems directly—as understanding, rather than memorization, is the key to gaining real knowledge.
8: Building Your Reading Ability
Often overlooked amongst the various tools necessary to master math, a mastery of the language of mathematics is necessary to truly comprehend mathematical and scientific texts. Having a wide vocabulary and reading comprehension abilities can help to speed up the learning process, and there are countless books, articles, and media pieces dedicated to teaching the jargon of mathematics. Learning about the history of the discipline will also help you build a more tangible link between math’s many concepts, which can make learning their applications much simpler.
9: Examining Effective Study Techniques
In order to fully master math, you’ll need to become an adept student. Managing your time and setting goals while finding effective notes and taking practice tests will help you gain mastery in no time. Although you aren’t in a real class, you’ll need to approach your task as if you are, so make sure to schedule study breaks, ask for help if you think you need it, and utilize models and diagrams whenever possible.
And when it comes to taking tests, be sure to devote enough time to review and revision before the day of the actual test.
10: Utilizing Virtual Educational Platforms
The internet has opened the door for countless virtual learning platforms, and this is especially true for mathematics. A quick search of the web will turn up countless websites that offer virtual courses, practice quizzes, and guided lectures for all mathematical levels. You can also take full courses without any instructor, allowing you the freedom to take quizzes and tests when you feel ready and earn a certificate of completion when you finish.
All of this is becoming more accessible every year, giving aspiring mathematicians of any background access to quick, helpful educational tools.
11: Applying Math in Everyday Real-Life Situations
You’ll find that even the most intricate concepts can be applied to real-life situations once you have the basics down. With a good foundation, you can apply mathematics to everyday problems and situations with ease, giving financial and logistical issues much needed structure and sifting out potential solutions from the background noise. Doing this will help you gain a better big-picture understanding of math and can keep your study process interesting, ensuring that your enthusiasm for learning stays strong for the duration.
12: Exploring the Use of Online Games
Educational games are a great way to learn mathematical basics, and the fact that there are so many available on the web makes them an ideal tool for aspiring mathematicians. Game-based learning has been found to be an incredibly powerful learning tool across the board, and can help the user to engage in serious mental exercises while having fun.
You’ll have a vast array of mathematical games to choose from, so you’re sure to find something that’s both useful and provides you with the feedback necessary to master the material.
13: Refining Your Understanding of Math
There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for becoming an accomplished mathematician, but it’s important to remember that refinement of the concepts is a key element towards true mastery of mathematics. After gaining a fundamental understanding of the material, make sure to review the topic on a regular basis and be prepared to devote extra time to any problematic areas that come up.
Reexamine any topics you’re unsure about and strive for a balanced understanding of every area so that no single topic gets neglected.
Teaching yourself math can be a daunting task for any aspiring student, but with the right approach and dedication you’ll find that the process of learning mathematics can be both informative and rewarding. Explore all of the learning tools available to you and build a strategy that’s based on your strengths and weaknesses. With this approach and a bit of effort, you’ll soon unlock the secrets of the subject and find yourself taking on math’s toughest challenges in no time.