When I was asked to write an article about how can one prepare Maths for competitive exams, I laughed to myself as I was a very average student when it came to Maths. But I am a complete believer that no student is weak in Maths it’s just that you need to develop your interest in Maths. A lot of hard work (there is no short cut for this), practice session and some useful tip should be able to sail your boat.
Rejoice!!! Syllabus for competitive exam is mainly based on high school Maths, taking difficulty level a notch higher. So if you lost in touch with the subject after high school you don’t need to worry or panic. You just need to brush up your skills.
Speed and accuracy play a very important role while preparing you for competitive exams. It is a good idea to take up a basic abacus workshop, to improve on your speed and accuracy. It helps to calculate fast whether it is addition, subtraction, multiplication or division. Learning your tables by heart definitely gives you an edge.
Back to basics- Pick up Maths Competitive Exam books from any grade and test yourself, solving a word problem and learning quick tricks to solve LCM, HCF will help you reach a solution to your problem much faster. Do a few simple exercising with a familiar situation, followed by exercises involving unfamiliar situation on the same topic, this makes understanding more effective.
Always remember there are many ways to reach the solution. Keep practicing; it helps in understanding a question. Many free tutorial videos are also available; you could make the best use of it. It will clear all your doubts about the basics. You can try out Khan Academy; founded by Mr. Salman Khan (not the actor) it’s an online learning tool through which he helps to educate students. And the good part is its absolutely free.
Music improves brain activity; I would highly recommend students to put some instrumental music in the background while practicing Maths. A recent research in the University of Wales suggests that music while studying can improve memory, attention and your ability to do mental math, as well as it lessens depression and anxiety. Instrumental music by Shiv Kumar Sharma and Rahul Sharma works best for me while I am doing Maths. You can choose your kind of music.
“Aptitude for all Competitive Exams” by Dr. R.S. Aggarwal, “Arithmetic for general competitions” by Paramount, and “Quantitative Aptitude” by Arihant are some good Maths practice books that I can suggest for you.
Last but not least you can always find a reason to love Maths. Put up these motivational quotes next to your study table to keep you encouraged and motivated…
“The study of Mathematics, like the Nile begins in minuteness but ends in magnificence” Charles Caleb Colton
“Without Mathematics there is nothing you can do. Everything around you is Mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.” Shakuntala Devi.
“The only way to learn Mathematics is to do Mathematics.” Paul Halmos.