Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm currently trying to teach myself math through reading. I've made a schedule to keep my pace and to make sure I finish enough problems. Should I add to my routine a timed test now and then?

share|improve this question
For mathematics at the level at which you’re asking questions? No. That isn’t how mathematics is done, and questions that can realistically be answered on timed tests aren’t good tests of what you can do. At most they can show that you don’t have a good grasp of the basics, but that’s something that you should be able to tell pretty well anyway. –  Brian M. Scott Nov 11 '13 at 14:23

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I'm in two minds about this.

You should definitely seek to have your understanding challenged as often as possible. It's very easy to fool yourself into thinking you "get" something, especially as things become more complicated. Hence a degree of self-skepticism is a virtue.

However, there's a problem, and that's in marking your own answers. See my answer to this question: What's the best way to measure mathematical ability? Often in Mathematics, when you're right, you know you're right, but we're all human and this phenomenon happens less & less as, again, things become more complicated.

Marking is still subjective. It's not as mechanical as you might think. Mark schemes are only guides for the guesswork markers do.

What might seem "obvious" to you now might not seem obvious to others or even to yourself later on so, yeah, there's that too.

So what should you do? I don't know. I'm tempted to say you should learn to deal with doubting yourself. Being unsure of your solutions will help you develop the ability to spot your own mistakes, which is an incredibly useful skill. However, you might not be satisfied with that; indeed, you probably shouldn't be just yet; so let's say you should test yourself but have your solutions verified by someone competent.

Use Math SE :)

share|improve this answer

Definately. Even being taught by a teacher, I find that the finer points of a topic elude me until I do past papers or class tests

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.