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Not Understanding Y12 SL Maths - Am I not intelligent enough? Or just not learning in the right way?

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Hello,

I am in Y12, and we have just completed Sequences& Series, Logs and Binomial Expansion. I am having a very hard time understanding the concepts without a tutor. When I am in class, I literally understand the first 5 minutes and then anything he writes on the board might as well be alien language.

Everytime my tutor comes, anything he explains I understand very well, and I understand for ever. The thing is, as soon as he is gone , I am unable to understand things on my own, no matter what I do I don't understand. I am wondering if I am the only one experiencing this problem, or am I not alone?

Thanks!

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hmm i think i understand!i am also doing SL maths and have found that when i am in class i seem to be on a completely different wave-length to everyone else in my class! when my teacher discusses things i can't seem to work out where he's coming from, but the rest of my classmates do. which makes me feel like i missed something without even realising. :S

when i go home and my parents explain things to me (very slowly) i seem to understand, but as soon as they're gone, i don't remember and can't understand what i'm supposed to do next!

i get told that it's because i'm only parroting what i'm told and not understanding th concepts. :/

so, no, i don't think you're alone!

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I am the same way. I call it mathematical amnesia because it's ridiculous how you can understand something and even explain it to other people and then have such an absolute mind blank about 5 minutes later. As you said, it's like an alien language. I used to find it overwhelming and basically just despair because I've never been at such as loss as to what I ought to do. I don't know how much it's parroting because when you do understand it, it does make sense. I think it's more the fact that the understanding is based on a particular way of thinking so it makes logical sense right from basics - whereas to me, the theories made logical sense only in the context of those theories and I think that's why I could never re-build them again for myself after they'd moved on from my short term memory. It's strange because I've never experienced mind blanks or being at a total loss as to what to do in any other area of my life, and it's very scary.

Personally, I never solved it and when I occasionally have to do something mathematical nowadays I just freeze up. My brain sees the numbers and literally stops working!

On the other hand I was predicted a 4 for SL Maths and basically tried desperately hard in my IAs plus revised like hell for the exam (literally) and managed to pull off a 6 in the end. Which for somebody mathematically disabled in this way was pretty major, IMO! The exam went really badly (for instance I forgot how to integrate and differentiate apparently the moment I sat down on the chair to start the exam, despite doing nothing but those two things for the previous 4 hours, so I had to leave all those blank) BUT I made it. Seriously, revise like your life depends on it. You may forget some of the topics or muddle them up (pretty sure I did all the matrices the wrong way round) but if you repeat them enough times then at least a few of the question-solving-recipes will stick in your head. Trigonometry and probability stayed in mine and pretty much saved my sorry skin :P Then the calculator saved my skin in the second paper.

Probably not a very inspiring story but nope you're not alone :no: If you ever solve the question of whether it's not learning in the right way, please do let me know. On a personal note I just think I'm not intelligent enough to understand Maths, my brain doesn't go in that direction. Just count myself fortunate that at least it's okay in some other directions so I'm not totally screwed!

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Well basically I think it really depends on the way your teacher does the class, for instance a person won't be able to remember anything he learned in a class, unless he has a pretty good photographic memory, if the teacher is boring and doesn't really care if he's getting the attention of all of his students.

Anyway, sometimes there are certain cases where you can't just understand a topic and as muchas you try you will remain in there. I've been in the same position. Unfortunately, it is pretty discouraging to see you almost forgot everything you learn after the class or tutoring is over, I guess you need to focus more and as Sandwich says, study and revise concepts as your life depends on it. One of the tips my Math SL teacher gives to my class is every once in a while, revising past topics, for example: if you just finished the statistics part of the program, you should go back in your notes and revise some algebra.

On a different note, I am in the same position as you're right now, I just finished logs, binomial expansion and series (arithmetical and geometrical), as in every other class in the world you can find the people who really understood what the teacher was talking about and the ones who didn't. However, that's no reason why the latter persons don't have the possibility to get any better, in fact, there was this guy at my class who just SUCKED in maths and everybody wondered why did he took the subject in the first place, he started revising at least 15 minutes a day at his home and next thing you knew he was raping some 7s.

Basically, keep trying, focus, revise, Math SL is not a piece of cake so don't worry, there's people like you all over the world that with some help, can certainly improve.

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I'm just curious, what part of sequences and series, logs, and binomial theorem do you now understand? Because you don't actually have to remember anything, as everything that you will be asked there is a formula in the data booklet, then it's just algebra :)

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Maths SL is hard, indeed. The thing you have to do is revise and check your notes (Should take 30 minutes). Then start to solve every problem you can, then going to your teacher whenever you need any help. A good tip is to revise with a friend. That will give you motivation to continue with Maths SL.

Well, my case is probably similiar to yours. I don't have a tutor, and when i'm in the class, i'm doing alright and fine and solve all the problems, however, when i'm sitting for the exam, i forget everything and start to panic the first half hour of the exam. Then, when i try to solve as much as I can, time's out. The following day, when i check my exams, i see that most of my errors are due to errors in multiplication, substracion, etc.... It's really frustrating. :(

Edited by Ipos Manger

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Try do some past paper questions, then look at the Mark scheme to see if you were right or wrong, if you were incorrect go ask your teacher or look at the mark scheme steps. Trust me, it will help. As well as looking at examples through the book.

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As i read each post i was thinking ,"these are the exact same problems i have!" Yeah Maybe there are just some people who don't get math. I used to be really good with it as a child , But the past couple of years have been terrible. I'm considering getting a tutor...

Oh yeah , also i think a lot of depends on the way your teacher teaches you ! we have this 80ish year old teacher teaching us ,for her , you either get how to do sums or you should switch to studies. Its the final term of my ib1 and i'm still getting 2's im pretty worried.

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