# The math study tip they are NOT telling you - Ivy League math major

TLDRHan, a Columbia University engineering graduate, shares his journey from hating math to excelling in it. He reveals a study method that involves initially giving up on tough problems, understanding the answer key, and then re-solving independently to build a comprehensive understanding. He emphasizes the importance of addressing fundamental concepts and suggests practicing 20 problems daily to quickly grasp and enjoy math.

### Takeaways

- 😀 Han, a Columbia University engineering school graduate, initially struggled with math due to a lack of understanding and confidence.
- 🎓 Han was not originally on the natural science track in high school; instead, they chose liberal arts because they thought they were bad at math and science.
- 📚 Han's first high school math test was a failure, scoring significantly below the class average, which reinforced their negative feelings towards math.
- 🔄 Han's initial approach to difficult math problems was to struggle through them independently, often leading to frustration and incorrect answers.
- 💡 In college, Han adopted a new strategy: understanding the answer key thoroughly before attempting to solve the problem independently, which improved their problem-solving skills.
- 🚀 This method was effective because it provided a sense of accomplishment and boosted Han's confidence in their math abilities.
- ⏰ It saved time by focusing on learning from the correct solutions rather than spending excessive time on misguided attempts.
- 📈 Han emphasizes the importance of writing out solutions completely on one's own to gain a comprehensive understanding of the problem-solving process.
- 📘 Math can be challenging because it requires understanding not just the topic, but also the foundational concepts and prerequisites.
- 🔍 Han suggests finding practice problems with answer keys to identify and fill gaps in knowledge, which was crucial for catching up and excelling in math.
- 📈 Han's dedication to two extra hours of math problem sets per day led to significant improvement and recognition from their math teacher.

### Q & A

### What was Han's initial experience with math in high school?

-Han initially struggled with math in high school, finding it difficult to understand and keep up with the class, which resulted in poor test scores and a negative attitude towards math.

### Why did Han choose the liberal arts track instead of the natural science track in high school?

-Han chose the liberal arts track because he was really bad at math and science, which seemed hard to him and he couldn't understand the lectures or do his homework.

### What was Han's first high school math test score and how did it compare to the class average and highest score?

-Han scored a 49 on his first high school math test, which was significantly lower than the class average of 78 and the highest score of 96.

### How did Han's approach to learning math change in college?

-In college, Han started by mentally planning out how to solve a problem before writing anything down. If he didn't know how to solve it, he would look at the answer key, understand it thoroughly, and then try to solve the problem on his own, repeating the process until he got it right.

### What are the benefits of Han's new approach to learning math as described in the script?

-The new approach helps to trigger positive feelings by giving a sense of accomplishment, saves time by focusing on learning the correct methods, and ensures a comprehensive understanding of the problem-solving process.

### Why is math different from other subjects like history or literature in terms of learning?

-Math has a more technical nature with barriers that prevent quick understanding of new concepts, unlike history or literature where new terms can be grasped more easily.

### What is the importance of understanding the foundational concepts in math?

-Understanding foundational concepts is crucial because it allows you to connect new information and build a comprehensive knowledge network, which is essential for solving more complex problems.

### What strategy did Han use to catch up with his math studies and become one of the best students in his class?

-Han dedicated two extra hours each day to working on math problem sets, using the process of understanding answer keys and practicing until he could solve problems independently.

### How did Han's relationship with his math teacher change after he improved his math skills?

-After improving his math skills, Han became one of his math teacher's favorite students, indicating a positive change in their relationship.

### What advice does Han give to those who are struggling with math and feel defeated?

-Han advises struggling students to adopt his method of learning by understanding answer keys and practicing problems until they can solve them independently, which will help them build confidence and improve their math skills.

### How does Han suggest students find practice problems with answer keys to improve their math skills?

-Han suggests finding practice problems from teachers, professors, or online resources, ensuring that the problems have thorough answer keys to facilitate learning.

### Outlines

### 📚 Overcoming Math Anxiety

This paragraph introduces Han, a Columbia University engineering school graduate with a major in math and operations research. Despite being perceived as intelligent due to his math skills, Han reveals that he struggled with math during his high school years in China. He chose the liberal arts track due to his poor performance and understanding of math and science. Han's first high school math test was a failure, scoring significantly below the average. This experience led to a vicious cycle of disliking math, avoiding it, and performing poorly. The paragraph sets the stage for Han's journey from math aversion to mastery and enjoyment, which he will share in the video.

### 🔍 Mastering Math Through Effective Study Techniques

Han shares his transformation from hating math to excelling in it by adopting a new approach to problem-solving. In high school, he would struggle with difficult problems, often getting stuck and frustrated. Instead of persisting with incorrect methods, Han began to immediately consult the answer key, thoroughly understanding each step before attempting the problem on his own. This method not only saved time but also boosted his confidence by allowing him to complete questions correctly. Han emphasizes the importance of writing solutions independently to gain a comprehensive understanding. He suggests practicing 20 questions a day using this method to identify and fill knowledge gaps. Han's strategy led to him catching up on missed material and becoming one of the top students in his math class, changing his relationship with math from one of avoidance to enjoyment and mastery.

### 🌐 Bridging the Knowledge Gaps in Math

In this paragraph, Han addresses the unique challenges of learning math, where unfamiliar terms and concepts can create significant barriers to understanding. He illustrates this with the example of how quickly one can grasp historical figures versus mathematical terms like 'linear programming.' Han explains that learning math involves not just understanding the topic but also its foundational concepts and prerequisites. He suggests that confusion in advanced math classes often stems from missing foundational knowledge. To overcome this, Han recommends building a 'giant network' of knowledge by identifying gaps and practicing relevant problems with thorough answer keys. He encourages viewers not to be overwhelmed by gaps in knowledge but to actively work on filling them through targeted practice and learning. Han concludes by emphasizing the importance of persistence and the gradual shift in mindset that comes with building a strong foundation in math.

### Mindmap

### Keywords

### 💡Ivy League

### 💡Math major

### 💡Struggled

### 💡Operations research

### 💡Liberal arts

### 💡Natural Science

### 💡Mental walk-through

### 💡Answer key

### 💡Linear programming

### 💡Pre-calc

### 💡Practice problem sets

### Highlights

Han, a Columbia University engineering graduate, originally struggled with math.

People often assume high math ability correlates with intelligence.

Han chose liberal arts in high school due to difficulty with math and science.

Han's first high school math test revealed a significant gap in understanding.

Han's initial approach to difficult math problems was ineffective and frustrating.

In college, Han adopted a new system to tackle math problems effectively.

Han's system involves initially giving up on a problem to understand the solution method.

Understanding the answer key is crucial before attempting to solve the problem independently.

Han's method leads to a sense of accomplishment and boosts confidence in math abilities.

The new approach saves time by focusing on learning from correct solutions.

Writing solutions from start to finish ensures a comprehensive understanding.

Math concepts can be challenging to grasp without foundational knowledge.

Han suggests building a 'giant network' of math knowledge to overcome gaps.

Finding and working through practice problems with answer keys is essential for improvement.

Han recommends doing at least 20 practice questions daily to solidify understanding.

Han's senior year strategy of extra math problem sets significantly improved his performance.

Han's math teacher became particularly fond of him due to his improvement and effort.

Han emphasizes that the initial learning phase is the most challenging but ultimately rewarding.