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#1 2014-05-23 13:04:37

PatternMan
Member
Registered: 2014-03-08
Posts: 184

Problems with discipline

Does anyone else have trouble with motivation? I currently have 3-10 hours free a day. I literally have 10 hours a day free 3 times a week do what I want. On the other days I usually have at least 3 free hours to do what I want. Despite all that time I have only been studying around 5 hours a week. Today I had a 10 hour free day and only managed to push myself to study an hour at a time with several hours break in between. I wonder what is wrong with me. If I'm going to jog, or solve maths problems then I may even be excited to do it beforehand. If I have to study and memorise then my body is reluctant to do it and resists at all costs. Getting started is the hardest parts. The thing is studying can be fun for an hour or so. I'm just averse to it and get tired after a while. Solving problems, Experimenting with what you know is much more fun and doesn't feel like work as much. With studying you need to focus which requires a lot of energy. Some people in university study 8 hour weekdays. I want to get to that level. How do people do it?


"School conditions you to reject your own judgement and experiences. The facts are in the textbook. Memorize and follow the rules. What they don't tell you is the people that discovered the facts and wrote the textbooks are people like you and me."

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#2 2014-05-23 13:46:58

mathaholic
Member
From: Juliania
Registered: 2012-11-29
Posts: 2,893
Website

Re: Problems with discipline

I don't think there is a problem with studying 8 hours weekdays. Just studying hard. smile


"What is the square root of 2? 1.4141592653589793238" Seriously, I thought it was that. Too round?
3.141592653589793238...

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#3 2014-05-23 13:49:17

ShivamS
Member
Registered: 2011-02-07
Posts: 3,629

Re: Problems with discipline

I think the correct question is if anyone does not have problems with motivation. It is very common because of several reasons:
-you may like the thought of learning math rather than actually learning it (this goes away over time)
-you may not like math a lot (I think this does not apply to you and even if it does it usually goes away with time)
-you are not used to studying intensively (this is very common and I think it is one of your problems - you obviously haven't studied so hard in the past so it will take time to get used to it, but it will happen)
-you want to solve math problems but don't want to learn the material for it (this applies to you but the biggest problem regarding this is that you decided not to do any problems. I suggest you learn math and do problems alongside it, even if it's only a few problems to save time)
-you want to learn higher mathematics like calculus and are not interested in the prerequisites (this happened to me but after a while I enjoyed learning it)

Suggestions:
-keep trying
-start with less studying per day and then increasing it
-do some problems alongside, enough to remember the material and not to use up a lot of time
-increase your motivation by thinking that math is exciting, you will soon be learning calculus/differential equations etc, you will go to university etc

Don't worry - all of it goes away with time. The biggest mistake people make is that they face a few difficulties and they stop. Make sure you do not do that.

Good luck, I am sure you can do it!

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#4 2014-05-23 14:50:53

bobbym
Administrator
From: Bumpkinland
Registered: 2009-04-12
Posts: 90,562

Re: Problems with discipline

Today I had a 10 hour free day and only managed to push myself to study an hour at a time with several hours break in between.

If you have to push then it ain't gonna be fun.


In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.

I agree with you regarding the satisfaction and importance of actually computing some numbers. I can't tell you how often I see time and money wasted because someone didn't bother to run the numbers.

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#5 2014-05-23 16:19:39

Agnishom
Real Member
From: The Complex Plane
Registered: 2011-01-29
Posts: 18,841
Website

Re: Problems with discipline

ShivamS wrote:

The biggest mistake people make is that they face a few difficulties and they stop.

When my program does not terminate within a minute, I think of recoding it.


'And fun? If maths is fun, then getting a tooth extraction is fun. A viral infection is fun. Rabies shots are fun.'
'God exists because Mathematics is consistent, and the devil exists because we cannot prove it'
'You have made another human being happy. There is no greater accomplishment.' -bobbym

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#6 2014-05-24 00:17:11

ShivamS
Member
Registered: 2011-02-07
Posts: 3,629

Re: Problems with discipline

That's just plain abnormal, unless the function of your program involves it stopping.

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#7 2014-05-24 09:15:29

PatternMan
Member
Registered: 2014-03-08
Posts: 184

Re: Problems with discipline

bobbym wrote:

Today I had a 10 hour free day and only managed to push myself to study an hour at a time with several hours break in between.

If you have to push then it ain't gonna be fun.

It was fun to do it first thing in the morning. Then it was a bit of a struggle to get started on learning new content. Then near the end of the day I had less energy and had to force myself to get started. Starting is the hardest part.


"School conditions you to reject your own judgement and experiences. The facts are in the textbook. Memorize and follow the rules. What they don't tell you is the people that discovered the facts and wrote the textbooks are people like you and me."

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#8 2014-05-24 10:06:53

PatternMan
Member
Registered: 2014-03-08
Posts: 184

Re: Problems with discipline

ShivamS wrote:

-you are not used to studying intensively (this is very common and I think it is one of your problems - you obviously haven't studied so hard in the past so it will take time to get used to it, but it will happen)

No I'm not. How do I get used to it?

ShivamS wrote:

-you want to solve math problems but don't want to learn the material for it (this applies to you but the biggest problem regarding this is that you decided not to do any problems. I suggest you learn math and do problems alongside it, even if it's only a few problems to save time)

I have been mainly focusing on the theory. In the mainstream books they don't define terms like:
line segment
ray
axiom/postulate
plane
theorom
proof

You just get a geometric sense of what they mean when they say these things in regular books. Actualy they don't use many of the terms and you don't really need to know what they mean. I really just remember the procedures and do them. I don't even really know the rules in of themselves. I just pick them up from doing the problems and seeing what works.

I am making sure I understand what the definitions in this book by thinking which concepts they stand on, and of non examples. Lang's Geometry builds up everything from scratch so it's fun. You get the basic definitions, basic axioms, then construct shapes, then do some problems, then some proofs. I already knew the formula and theoroms in the book but I did not understand it much. I didn't know the definitions, axioms, notation, or how anything was derived. Or even that this was Euclidian geometry and that there are others. It is tedious to focus on these definitions and practice memorizing them but I know it's for the best.

ShivamS wrote:

-you want to learn higher mathematics like calculus and are not interested in the prerequisites (this happened to me but after a while I enjoyed learning it)

It's not that I don't want to learn the pre-requisites, it's just the more advanced topics seem more exciting. I still really need to brush up on number theory more than anything.

ShivamS wrote:

Suggestions:
-keep trying
-start with less studying per day and then increasing it
-do some problems alongside, enough to remember the material and not to use up a lot of time
-increase your motivation by thinking that math is exciting, you will soon be learning calculus/differential equations etc, you will go to university etc

Don't worry - all of it goes away with time. The biggest mistake people make is that they face a few difficulties and they stop. Make sure you do not do that.

Good luck, I am sure you can do it!

I'm going to alternate between the fun and more tedious parts. Rewarding myself with some break and problems after studying the concepts should do the trick. Hopefully i'll end up doing it longer. The problem is I'm teaching myself some other things too which are all memory based since I don't really have the equipment to do them.


"School conditions you to reject your own judgement and experiences. The facts are in the textbook. Memorize and follow the rules. What they don't tell you is the people that discovered the facts and wrote the textbooks are people like you and me."

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#9 2014-05-24 11:34:24

ShivamS
Member
Registered: 2011-02-07
Posts: 3,629

Re: Problems with discipline

PatternMan wrote:
ShivamS wrote:

-you are not used to studying intensively (this is very common and I think it is one of your problems - you obviously haven't studied so hard in the past so it will take time to get used to it, but it will happen)

No I'm not. How do I get used to it?

Start small (e.g. 1 hour per day for 2 days, then 3 hours per day etc), build your motivation etc.

PatternMan wrote:
ShivamS wrote:

-you want to solve math problems but don't want to learn the material for it (this applies to you but the biggest problem regarding this is that you decided not to do any problems. I suggest you learn math and do problems alongside it, even if it's only a few problems to save time)

I have been mainly focusing on the theory. In the mainstream books they don't define terms like:
line segment
ray
axiom/postulate
plane
theorom
proof

You just get a geometric sense of what they mean when they say these things in regular books. Actualy they don't use many of the terms and you don't really need to know what they mean. I really just remember the procedures and do them. I don't even really know the rules in of themselves. I just pick them up from doing the problems and seeing what works.

I am making sure I understand what the definitions in this book by thinking which concepts they stand on, and of non examples. Lang's Geometry builds up everything from scratch so it's fun. You get the basic definitions, basic axioms, then construct shapes, then do some problems, then some proofs. I already knew the formula and theoroms in the book but I did not understand it much. I didn't know the definitions, axioms, notation, or how anything was derived. Or even that this was Euclidian geometry and that there are others. It is tedious to focus on these definitions and practice memorizing them but I know it's for the best.

You are beating a dead horse. Those ridiculous books are behind you - now you have access to great books written by great people.

PatternMan wrote:
ShivamS wrote:

-you want to learn higher mathematics like calculus and are not interested in the prerequisites (this happened to me but after a while I enjoyed learning it)

It's not that I don't want to learn the pre-requisites, it's just the more advanced topics seem more exciting. I still really need to brush up on number theory more than anything.

To be honest you should not be thinking about number theory right now. Most of number theory requires algebra anyway.

PatternMan wrote:

I'm going to alternate between the fun and more tedious parts. Rewarding myself with some break and problems after studying the concepts should do the trick. Hopefully i'll end up doing it longer. The problem is I'm teaching myself some other things too which are all memory based since I don't really have the equipment to do them.

Good!

PatternMan wrote:

The problem is I'm teaching myself some other things too which are all memory based since I don't really have the equipment to do them.

Which things?

I have two final questions. Are you planning to go through each one of the following books page by page?
Basic Mathematics by Lang
Elementary and Intermediate Algebra by Sullivan (this is one book - there are two separate books as well but get the book with both of them)
Precalculus by Sullivan
Geometry by Jacobs (1st or 2nd edition)

Those books are the bare minimum you need if you want to go into a mathematics program and succeed .

Second question. Do you think you will be able to go through
Geometry by Lang
Algebra by Gelfand
along with the 4 books above? If yes, then excellent. If not, then make sure you go through those four books at least.

Last edited by ShivamS (2014-05-24 11:36:30)

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#10 2014-05-24 12:20:04

PatternMan
Member
Registered: 2014-03-08
Posts: 184

Re: Problems with discipline

I'm on around 2-3 hours study a day comfortably. 1 hour in the morning, and 1 at night at least. By number theory I don't mean what you study at university. I mean basic things I missed in school like divisibility rules, checking if a number is prime etc. I'm teaching myself school English, school science: biology, chemistry and physics, but focusing mainly on physics. I have also been learning Python extremely slowly for a few months now. I'm also planning to go through logic at some point since it's closely related to all the sciences.

I am currently going through Geometry by Lang. At my current pace it will probably take 2 months to complete. I hope to speed up though. Basic Mathematics will arrive in a week or so. I'll go through those over the summer and hopefully finish them. If all goes well I'll be able to go through 1 a month at least. Also are you talking about this book?
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PRECALCULUS-/130736716461?pt=Non_Fiction&hash=item1e7083faad

Also do I need Sulivans geometry book if I already have Serge langs?

Last edited by PatternMan (2014-05-24 12:21:29)


"School conditions you to reject your own judgement and experiences. The facts are in the textbook. Memorize and follow the rules. What they don't tell you is the people that discovered the facts and wrote the textbooks are people like you and me."

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#11 2014-05-24 12:35:15

ShivamS
Member
Registered: 2011-02-07
Posts: 3,629

Re: Problems with discipline

Please tell me why you are wasting your time on English. Your English seems fine too me, unless you want to major in English literature.

Please tell me why you are wasting your time on Physics. You cannot do Physics right now. You need more mathematics (ideally calculus, but good algebra and trigonometry/precalculus at least). 

Geometry by Lang will not take you two months - I guarantee that - unless you have severe discipline issues.

You did not answer the two questions I asked at the end of my last post.

Sullivan has a lot of Precalculus books. I meant http://www.amazon.com/Precalculus-9th-M … 0321716833 or any other edition (buy it from abebooks.com).

I said Jacobs' Geometry book, not Sullivan's. You do not need it, but it is better if you look at it as it is a bit easier than Lang and will help you (and it is available online for free).

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#12 2014-05-24 12:59:23

PatternMan
Member
Registered: 2014-03-08
Posts: 184

Re: Problems with discipline

I need to study English so I can pass the test. I need to do the school certificate as it's a requirement to get into higher education. Here we learn basic physics with just algebra. It covers concepts like kinematics which includes position, displacement, velocity, vectors. Plus other basic concepts like waves, optics, eletricity etc. To answer your two questions, yes I'll be going through it page by page, but no, I probably wont go through Algebra by Gelfand. I'll definitely go through Basic Mathematics & Geometry by Serge Lang. It also looks like I might not be able to afford that precalculus book even though it looks good.

Last edited by PatternMan (2014-05-24 13:01:51)


"School conditions you to reject your own judgement and experiences. The facts are in the textbook. Memorize and follow the rules. What they don't tell you is the people that discovered the facts and wrote the textbooks are people like you and me."

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#13 2014-05-24 13:10:50

ShivamS
Member
Registered: 2011-02-07
Posts: 3,629

Re: Problems with discipline

To be brutally honest, forget the idea of a math major. You need precalculus. You can get the books for 2 Euros on abebooks.com.

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#14 2014-05-24 13:17:51

PatternMan
Member
Registered: 2014-03-08
Posts: 184

Re: Problems with discipline

ShivamS wrote:

To be brutally honest, forget the idea of a math major. You need precalculus. You can get the books for 2 Euros on abebooks.com.

Why should I forget a maths major? Also the cheapest I can get it here is £43. I mean there are other books and online resources for precalculus right?

Last edited by PatternMan (2014-05-24 13:18:11)


"School conditions you to reject your own judgement and experiences. The facts are in the textbook. Memorize and follow the rules. What they don't tell you is the people that discovered the facts and wrote the textbooks are people like you and me."

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#15 2014-05-24 13:19:56

ShivamS
Member
Registered: 2011-02-07
Posts: 3,629

Re: Problems with discipline

Sorry, I thought you meant no precalculus at all.

Please check abebooks.com and search precalculus sullivan exactly. I can see a $4 copy.

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#16 2014-05-24 13:27:58

PatternMan
Member
Registered: 2014-03-08
Posts: 184

Re: Problems with discipline

link...? I checked .com but they don't seem to have the same cover and isbn so I don't know if it's the same.


"School conditions you to reject your own judgement and experiences. The facts are in the textbook. Memorize and follow the rules. What they don't tell you is the people that discovered the facts and wrote the textbooks are people like you and me."

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#17 2014-05-24 13:33:25

ShivamS
Member
Registered: 2011-02-07
Posts: 3,629

Re: Problems with discipline

That's the problem. Forget the ISBN or cover - buy any book entitled Precalculus by Sullivan any edition.

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#18 2014-05-24 13:47:53

PatternMan
Member
Registered: 2014-03-08
Posts: 184

Re: Problems with discipline

ShivamS wrote:

That's the problem. Forget the ISBN or cover - buy any book entitled Precalculus by Sullivan any edition.

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=12124466956&searchurl=sts%3Dt%26amp%3Btn%3DPrecalculus%2Bby%2BSullivan


"School conditions you to reject your own judgement and experiences. The facts are in the textbook. Memorize and follow the rules. What they don't tell you is the people that discovered the facts and wrote the textbooks are people like you and me."

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#19 2014-05-25 04:08:50

ShivamS
Member
Registered: 2011-02-07
Posts: 3,629

Re: Problems with discipline

That edition is fine.

PatternMan wrote:

I need to study English so I can pass the test. I need to do the school certificate as it's a requirement to get into higher education. Here we learn basic physics with just algebra. It covers concepts like kinematics which includes position, displacement, velocity, vectors. Plus other basic concepts like waves, optics, eletricity etc. To answer your two questions, yes I'll be going through it page by page, but no, I probably wont go through Algebra by Gelfand. I'll definitely go through Basic Mathematics & Geometry by Serge Lang. It also looks like I might not be able to afford that precalculus book even though it looks good.

How do you plan on going to university without algebra?

Here is a list of books I compiled which you have to go through to get a good understanding and be prepared for university mathematics.
Basic Mathematics by Lang
Elementary and Intermediate Algebra by Sullivan (this is one book - there are two separate books as well but get the book with both of them)
Precalculus by Sullivan
Geometry by Jacobs (1st or 2nd edition)

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#20 2014-08-13 10:33:28

PatternMan
Member
Registered: 2014-03-08
Posts: 184

Re: Problems with discipline

progress report

I found a solution to this which was to make the material more active and game like. Reading books for me gets boring quickly. I paid for a brilliant.org subsription to test my application. I drag but I have gotten a lot better in a few days since they have lots of problems and solutions. Now I simply skim through a chapter in a book taking down the rules I need to memorize. I spend <40 mins. Then I do basic problems using them. Then I take a break and daydream about the theory for a little bit. Then I  follow another session of problems. Also in the day I practice whatever weak areas I discover from doing poorly on brilliant.org.

So basically my procrastination problem has declined. I get in at least 3 hours a day and it doesn't even feel like work anymore. I make flashcards of the rules I need to remember so that is minimal effort and works eventually. I go through my books, use mathisfun as a reference, do problems on mathisfun & brilliant. I'm also on pre-calculus at the moment while reviewing everything else. I'll probably transition onto Calculus in 9-12 weeks at the current pace if I don't get too overwhelmed by my upcoming responsibilities.

Last edited by PatternMan (2014-08-13 10:34:50)


"School conditions you to reject your own judgement and experiences. The facts are in the textbook. Memorize and follow the rules. What they don't tell you is the people that discovered the facts and wrote the textbooks are people like you and me."

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#21 2014-08-13 13:37:11

ShivamS
Member
Registered: 2011-02-07
Posts: 3,629

Re: Problems with discipline

That's really good!

Use problems from aops.com too, they have good ones.

Last edited by ShivamS (2014-08-13 13:37:43)

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#22 2014-08-20 05:42:31

PatternMan
Member
Registered: 2014-03-08
Posts: 184

Re: Problems with discipline

I'm starting to think I might not be cut out for math but I'm not sure. On Brilliant.org I struggle to sole some of the level 1 problems. I'm not sure if it's because I lack the ability or I haven't learnt the material well enough. Sometimes it even takes me 15 mins to figure out how to solve them. Other times I just check the solution if I don't solve it within that time. I don't even bother at looking at any problems higher than level 2 on there. I hope I get better but this site is just making me realize gaps in my math skill.


"School conditions you to reject your own judgement and experiences. The facts are in the textbook. Memorize and follow the rules. What they don't tell you is the people that discovered the facts and wrote the textbooks are people like you and me."

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#23 2014-08-20 06:54:30

ShivamS
Member
Registered: 2011-02-07
Posts: 3,629

Re: Problems with discipline

The only things making people unable to study math is

> lack of self-confidence
> extremely low IQ
> lack of patience

There was a guy called Shivam who sucked at math problems. In 4 years of hard work, he came from an AMC lowest scorer of the year to a Putnam fellow.

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#24 2014-08-20 14:51:03

bobbym
Administrator
From: Bumpkinland
Registered: 2009-04-12
Posts: 90,562

Re: Problems with discipline

Hi PatternMan;

I can add another reason to ShivamS' list:

>Failure to ask questions. If you are having trouble at Brilliant why not ask how to do the question over here?


In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.

I agree with you regarding the satisfaction and importance of actually computing some numbers. I can't tell you how often I see time and money wasted because someone didn't bother to run the numbers.

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#25 2014-08-21 00:47:43

PatternMan
Member
Registered: 2014-03-08
Posts: 184

Re: Problems with discipline

bobbym wrote:

Hi PatternMan;

I can add another reason to ShivamS' list:

>Failure to ask questions. If you are having trouble at Brilliant why not ask how to do the question over here?

There are solutions to the problems so there's no need to ask many questions. The only problem is the site doesn't teach the concepts but only gives solutions. I just don't solve them sometimes because I don't know of some method or I struggle to apply what I know to solving a type of problem I haven't come across before. I find it really interesting how our solutions can be so different sometimes.


"School conditions you to reject your own judgement and experiences. The facts are in the textbook. Memorize and follow the rules. What they don't tell you is the people that discovered the facts and wrote the textbooks are people like you and me."

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