Questions about the process of learning mathematics, both inside and outside a formal environment, including learning strategies, recommendations for learning particular subjects, and studying habits.

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53
votes
17answers
32k views

Good book for self study of a First Course in Real Analysis

Does anyone have a recommendation for a book to use for the self study of real analysis? Several years ago when I completed about half a semester of Real Analysis I, the instructor used "Introduction ...
40
votes
5answers
9k views

(Theoretical) Multivariable Calculus Textbooks [duplicate]

(Note that I have used bold text frequently simply to highlight the key points of my question for those who do not have the time to read through it thoroughly (it is not very long, however); I hope ...
94
votes
7answers
14k views

Tablet for reading textbooks and writing math by hand?

I am a math student. I'd like to find out if tablets (iPads, Galaxy Note 10.1) are worth the cost. How good are tablets for the purposes of reading textbooks as PDF and writing mathematics with a ...
49
votes
4answers
6k views

Do you prove all theorems whilst studying?

When you come across a new theorem, do you always try to prove it first before reading the proof within the text? I'm a CS undergrad with a bit of an interest in maths. I've not gone very far in my ...
182
votes
28answers
23k views

Too old to start math

I'm sorry if this question goes against the meta for posting questions - I attached all the "beware, this is a soft-question" tags I could. This is a question I've been asking myself now for some ...
35
votes
6answers
30k views

Good books for self-studying algebra?

I have a few weeks off from school soon, and I was hoping to self-study a bit of algebra. I don't think this question has been asked on here before, but does anyone have any suggestions for algebra ...
47
votes
9answers
7k views

How to effectively study math?

Maybe this is too general for here, but I am having a lot of difficulty studying math. Just got out of the military and I guess I am not use to this yet but when I run into a problem I have trouble ...
54
votes
8answers
7k views

When to learn category theory?

I'm a undergraduate who wishes to learn category theory but I only have basic knowledge of linear algebra and set theory, I've also had a short course on number theory which used some basic concepts ...
69
votes
6answers
11k views

Studying for the Putnam Exam

This is a question about studying for the Putnam examination (and, secondarily, other high-difficulty proof-based math competitions like the IMO). It is not about the history of the competition, the ...
51
votes
5answers
10k views

How Do You Go About Learning Mathematics?

I really like mathematics, but I am not good at learning it. I find it takes me a long time to absorb new material by reading on my own and I haven't found a formula that works for me. I am hoping a ...
191
votes
7answers
10k views

Best Sets of Lecture Notes and Articles

Let me start by apologizing if there is another thread on math.se that subsumes this. I was updating my answer to the question here during which I made the claim that "I spend a lot of time sifting ...
66
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there a definitive guide to speaking mathematics?

Is there a definitive guide to speaking mathematics to avoid ambiguity? I'm writing a program to generate text for a variety of mathematical expressions and would like to code it so that it adheres ...
26
votes
11answers
24k views

How to start with mathematics? [closed]

I fell in love with mathematics a bit too late when I've already taken decisions regarding my future, career-wise. Now I would like to learn math on my own but I'm a bit confused as where to start. My ...
31
votes
8answers
5k views

How can I learn to “read maths” at a University level?

When I look at math, it's like my mind goes fuzzy. The only way to describe it is in terms of what I can relate it to. You know how when you read, you see the letters and words, but your brain picks ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is it that when proving trig identities, one must work both sides independently?

Suppose that you have to prove the trig identity: $$\frac{\sin\theta - \sin^3\theta}{\cos^2\theta}=\sin\theta$$ I have always been told that I should manipulate the left and right sides of the ...
14
votes
2answers
4k views

When to give up on math? [closed]

How do I know when I should give up on math? I can't pass any of my math tests no matter much I study, I have tutors, attend office hours and I still can't do better than a D on any test. Most of the ...
77
votes
8answers
23k views

Learning mathematics as if an absolute beginner?

I dread mathematics, and I believe it's because I have come to associate mathematics with the experience of terrible teachers. All of my math teachers have been grumpy, but one in particular was the ...
11
votes
6answers
8k views

In what order should the following areas of mathematics be learned?

I am in a biological field (medicine) but I have genuine passion for mathematics. I want to learn it on my own , in my spare time. Mathematics , as I gather, is learned best when you have grasped ...
36
votes
2answers
797 views

How do I find partners for study?

I want to find partners to study some post-graduate topics together online (because I'm pretty much out of steam as far as self-study goes, and I have problems finding a decent grad school). Are there ...
36
votes
5answers
2k views

Book/tutorial recommendations: acquiring math-oriented reading proficiency in German

I'm interested in others' suggestions/recommendations for resources to help me acquire reading proficiency (of current math literature, as well as classic math texts) in German. I realize that ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Preparing For University and Advanced Mathematics

I am currently a college student, computer programming, who has developed an intense passion for mathematics. Following my graduation I wish to pursue a University degree in mathematics, the September ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

Grasping mathematics

First, I'm not trying to make this sound like a "poor-me" story. I understand fully that every decision I've made leading to this is my fault. I am genuinely looking for advice. So, I am a high ...
13
votes
13answers
4k views

How to explain the formula for the sum of a geometric series without calculus?

How to explain to a middle-school student the notion of a geometric series without any calculus (i.e. limits)? For example I want to convince my student that $$1 + \frac{1}{4} + \frac{1}{4^2} + ...
6
votes
4answers
9k views

Math Textbooks for High School

I'm a high school student who is trying to figure out a complete course of self study for each year of high school. Is there a way to self learn grades of math without devoting too much time? For ...
3
votes
0answers
522 views

Vector spaces - Multiplying by zero scalar yields zero vector

Please rate and comment. I want to improve; constructive criticism is highly appreciated. Please take style into account as well. The following proof is solely based on vector space related axioms. ...
71
votes
6answers
6k views

Strategies for Effective Self-Study

I have a long-term goal of acquiring graduate-level knowledge in Analysis, Algebra and Geometry/Topology. Once that is achieved, I am interested in applying this knowledge to both pure and applied ...
29
votes
3answers
4k views

Math Major: How to read textbooks in better style or method ? And how to select best books?

I'm a bachelor student of Math major. The question is about the better way to select and read maths text- or non-text- books, without considering the course and exam. (Because we follow the lecture ...
38
votes
13answers
4k views

Is there a good “bridge” between high school math and the more advanced topics?

I love math and would like to know more of it. However, whenever I try to pick up a book on what I consider to be "advanced" mathematical topics, I often have a hard time understanding some of the ...
18
votes
5answers
8k views

How to Improve Mathematical Thinking and General Problem Solving Skills?

I'm a sophomore in university and seriously feel that I'm bad at solving mathematical and algorithmic problems (be it discrete math, calculus or just puzzles). I noticed that I'm only good at solving ...
18
votes
5answers
5k views

Is memorization a good skill to learn or master mathematics?

I sometimes spend inordinate amounts of time memorizing math articles or theorems/proofs or formulas. My question is "am I wasting time?" and will 'active thinking' or 'working out problems' be faster ...
23
votes
7answers
6k views

How to study for analysis?

I am currently a first year undergraduate majoring in mathematics. I'm taking an introductory analysis course and find it very hard compared to other math couses. I know that the topics covered in the ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Good introductory books on homological algebra

Which books would you recommend, for self-studying homological algebra, to a beginning graduate (or advanced undergraduate) student who has background in ring theory, modules, basic commutative ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

What are the prerequisites for learning category theory?

Is category theory worth learning for the sake of learning it? Can it be used in applied mathematics/probability? I am currently perusing Categories for the Working Mathematician by Mac Lane.
4
votes
1answer
309 views

Is this study plan sufficiently general, or overly specialized? [closed]

My current study plan is in order below. I will be completing these textbooks in this order one at a time. I have been told that I don't have textbooks in my plan that approach topology in a general ...
5
votes
4answers
665 views

Books for a beginner

I am a student of 11th grade and i have completed the syallabus of both 11th and 12th grade maths with complete understanding and it was possible coz of the love for this subject that i have. I don't ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is “All horses have the same color” considered a false proof by induction? [duplicate]

Upon reading of All horses have the same color "paradox", I began to wonder a couple of things. First of all, to me the inductive step seems flawed. Just because I have $n$ white horses, does not ...
4
votes
1answer
340 views

Seeking an effective pedagogy to learning limits, derivatives, and concepts in calculus

Recently I have been spending around 15-20 hours a week learning calculus, and I have to admit that the process, while I enjoy it, is seemingly slow going. I come back to limit questions, and I can ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

Proof of uniqueness of identity element of addition of vector space

Please rate and comment. I want to improve; constructive criticism is highly appreciated. Please take style into account as well. Proof of uniqueness of identity element of addition of vector space ...
2
votes
0answers
85 views

How to model a real-world graphical structure into a mathematical formulation?

I am trying to learn how to model programming problems in a mathematical way. I am a software engineer, but have recently been running into road blocks where I can't solve some problems very ...
1
vote
0answers
168 views

Another proof of uniqueness of identity element of addition of vector space

Please rate and comment. I want to improve; constructive criticism is highly appreciated. Please take style into account as well. The following proof is solely based on vector space axioms. Axiom ...
279
votes
29answers
40k views

My sister absolutely refuses to learn math [closed]

My 13-year-old sister has a problem which, given the way math is currently taught, I doubt is anything but all too common. She has a low grade in her math course and only ever attempts to memorize ...
53
votes
8answers
10k views

Learning Lambda Calculus

What are some good online/free resources (tutorials, guides, exercises, and the like) for learning Lambda Calculus? Specifically, I am interested in the following areas: Untyped lambda calculus ...
50
votes
19answers
4k views

Mathematical subjects you wish you learned earlier [closed]

I am learning geometric algebra, and it is incredible how much it helps me understand other branches of mathematics. I wish I had been exposed to it earlier. Additionally I feel the same way about ...
66
votes
9answers
4k views

How to make notes when learning a new topic [closed]

At the moment I'm trying to teach myself Riemannian geometry by reading some books. I take notes by hand but I find that I forget it all and worse, either lose the sheets of paper or don't want to ...
40
votes
7answers
10k views

I can't do math?

So after failing another math test today I have realized that I can't do math on my own. For whatever reason when I get to a test I just can't do math without extra resources. I think this is because ...
23
votes
2answers
2k views

How to think deeply in mathematics way? [closed]

Most of the time, I solve a problem by doing the following steps: 1. Look for a related theorem. 2. Look for a related formula. 3. Find a similar problem or sub-problem. 4. Try to adapt the one that I ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

Best way to learn Algebraic Geometry?

I've been reading the book Commutative Algebra with a view towards Algebraic Geometry. I was wondering is the best way to learn algebraic geometry through commutative algebra? As the book I'm ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

Perspectives on Riemann Surfaces

So, I have come to a somewhat impasse concerning my class selection for next term, and I have exhausted all the 'biased' sources. So, I was wondering if anyone in this fantastic mathematical community ...
10
votes
13answers
2k views

False beliefs in mathematics (conceptual errors made despite, or because of, mathematical education)

Over on mathoverflow, there is a popular CW question titled: Examples of common false beliefs in mathematics. I thought it would be nice to have a parallel question on this site to serve as a ...
24
votes
2answers
1k views

Efficient ways to read and learn a new topic [closed]

I started reading the book "Topology without tears" by Sidney A Morris and lecture notes on "Elementary Number Theory" by WWL.Chen. To get the maximum out of the book and understand the material ...