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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

47
votes
5answers
12k 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 ...
68
votes
20answers
51k 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 ...
57
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
45
votes
6answers
43k 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 ...
68
votes
8answers
10k 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 ...
56
votes
9answers
9k 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 ...
78
votes
6answers
17k 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
3k 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
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} + \...
233
votes
7answers
17k 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 ...
62
votes
5answers
14k 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 ...
197
votes
28answers
28k views

Too old to start math [closed]

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 ...
72
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 ...
16
votes
5answers
11k views

Which calculus text should I use for self-study?

I am 36 years old, and have forgotten a lot of math from high school, of which I only took up to Algebra 2. However I am teaching myself mathematics and am now, as an adult, completely fascinated ...
12
votes
5answers
6k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
2k 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. ...
36
votes
8answers
7k 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 ...
37
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 ...
10
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
9
votes
6answers
11k 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
70
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 ...
81
votes
9answers
26k views

Learning mathematics as if an absolute beginner? [closed]

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 ...
42
votes
13answers
5k 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 ...
28
votes
7answers
11k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
12k 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 ...
19
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
10k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

How do you rebuild your Math skills after college? [closed]

I minored in Math in college (B.S. Software Engineering), and went through advanced Calc, Differential Equations, etc. But about 6 months after I graduated I had lost all my formulas. Now, about 5 ...
15
votes
3answers
3k 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.
13
votes
2answers
22k views

Tips for an adult to learn math — from the beginning. [closed]

First let me start with I am an adult and I can't do simple maths. I some how got through all of my math courses in University (after several attempts) but I honestly couldn't tell you how... I ...
6
votes
4answers
725 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 ...
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 ...
4
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
2k 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
113 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
337 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 ...
293
votes
29answers
44k 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 ...
86
votes
23answers
34k views

Complete course of self-study [closed]

I am about $16$ years old and I have just started studying some college mathematics. I may never manage to get into a proper or good university (I do not trust fate) but I want to really study ...
69
votes
8answers
14k 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 ...
57
votes
19answers
5k 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 ...
48
votes
3answers
6k views

Motivation and methods for self-study [closed]

First, a little background: Beginning with calculus in my first semester of college, I fell in love with mathematics. That was the point at which the concepts became interesting to me, and I started ...
69
votes
11answers
9k views

How do people who study intensely abstract mathematics “imagine” or understand the concepts they are studying or being taught? [closed]

This question is probably to the actual people who study such mathematics, rather than any "third-party". I haven't studied any such mathematics, but I can imagine that some (probably most of it) of ...
28
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
41
votes
5answers
2k views

Self-learning mathematics - help needed!

First, I apologise for the nebulous nature of my title but I can't adequately explain myself concisely. I am about to start an MSc in pure maths after a fairly shaky undergraduate degree. I am very ...
32
votes
11answers
35k 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 ...
43
votes
7answers
12k views

I can't do math? [closed]

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 ...
40
votes
6answers
5k views

Are the exercises necessary to understand the subject of a mathematical textbook?

When I am reading a mathematical textbook, I tend to skip most of the exercises. Generally I don't like exercises, particularly artificial ones. Instead, I concentrate on understanding proofs of ...
24
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 ...
16
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 ...