*Bits, ink, particles, and words.*

When I work with younger students in subjects like mathematics or physics, it doesn’t take much to impress them with my ability to quickly see through a problem and calculate things that would take them minutes. Just like any other student at my level, we often skip the use of calculators because it’s easier to just focus on the work we are doing and do the arithmetic in our head. The most prominent example of this, however, is in algebra.

Even though mathematics is one of the subjects I enjoy studying, it’s not always easy. Nor does everything always make sense to me. One of these things was the notation for an integral.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about mathematics during my many years at school, it’s that having a solid foundational understanding of the main components can go a long way towards learning new subjects within mathematics. Unfortunately, this is what is often lacking for students, and it can have the knock-on effect of making later concepts more difficult to grasp.

Despite needing to compute many quantities in my various physics and mathematics classes, I like to take a slightly different approach to studying for a test. First, I will do a bunch of practice problems in order to strengthen the “muscle memory” of how to do certain types of questions. This usually means going over assignments and doing examples. This particularly helps with refreshing my mind for questions I haven’t done in a few weeks.