# How to understand Maths when it is so Complicated?

## Is **Maths** difficult? Or is it made
difficult?

I have encountered several thousand students,
parents, and teachers telling me that “** maths is the most difficult
subject**!” They claim that it is very difficult to understand Maths because
it is complicated.

They are quite far from the truth.

Provided we know why we study **Maths**, it
becomes very easy to understand the subject and the topics it deals with. **Maths**
can be understood by following the Sutra **FASUP** (Pronounce this as Face
Up). After completing these projects, you can hold your head high because you
can score as much as you want in **Maths**.
And no longer it will be complicated.

**Maths** is the
only subject that is very Flexible, Applicable, Systematic, Unambiguous, and
Predictable.

### SUTRA to
Understand **Maths**

### F –
Flexible

### A –
Applicable

### S –
Systematic

### U –
Unambiguous

### P –
Predictable

The problem is not only in the understanding of the
concepts in Maths but also in understanding the necessity of mathematical
inquiry.

Let us delineate one by one.

**1. Maths
is Flexible**

It is
dynamic and flexible but provides certainty. Almost all subjects can use **Maths** to make their subject matter
strong.

Flexibility
comes in the form of converting from one system to another. For instance,
weight is represented as pounds versus kilograms, height can be depicted as
either inches or centimeters., and so on. Similarly, a graphical representation
can be accurately drawn in so many ways.

Another
characteristic of flexibility comes from comparison. The power of **Maths** has shown that almost anything in
the universe is measurable. By quantifying a trait or a characteristic,
comparison between two or more units, persons, things, ideas, etc., is
possible.

The third
characteristic is it reduces inaccuracy. As the values can range between the
lowest and the highest in their minutest manifestation, the accuracy becomes
almost perfect.

Students
sometimes find it difficult to switch over from one system of metrics to
another, but once they see the rationale behind such a conversion, it becomes
so easy to extrapolate between the systems.

**SOLUTION**

Try
different permutations and combinations of measurement. After solving a
problem, try changing the value of one parameter or the sign of a parameter,
and see the difference. This will provide a great insight into the breadth and
depth of the flexibility present in **Maths**.

**2. Maths is Applicable**

Each
concept in **Maths** has an application.
Unlike other subjects where some theory is propounded, in **Maths**, everything is laid down as usable in day-to-day affairs.

My
students felt that the normal probability theory is purely a hypothetical
concept until they could find out how almost all the natural phenomena are
distributed normally.

**SOLUTION**

Compare and contrast the application of one concept
against the other. For example, how are the areas of a circle and a triangle
are related? What happens when the area of a square is taken out of the area of
a circle?

**3. Maths
is Systematic**

Unlike
almost all other subjects, where you may jump from one issue to another, **Maths** is highly ** organized,
systematic, structured, and hierarchical**.

One step
leads to the other. You can’t skip a step nor can you add any extra steps. If
an equation (or sum) has to be solved in seven steps, those seven steps are
there for a purpose.

Students
rarely count the number of steps necessary to solve the problem. In each step,
there is a part of logical reasoning happening, which leads to the solution of
the problem.

This
logical reasoning can be of two types: deductive and inductive reasoning.
Rarely do we find a distinction made between these two. A few assumptions have
to be made in inductive reasoning whereas we stick to the given facts in
deductive reasoning. Depending upon the logic, a set of rules are applied in
both cases, which is once again systematic.

It always
amazed me when my students couldn’t calculate square roots! When I reminded
them that they have studied it in school and they are supposed to remember it,
they used to tell me that they passed those classes and later started using
calculators.

*SOLUTION*

Always
count the number of steps necessary to arrive at the solution. Remembering this
will make **Maths** so easy that you
will start wondering what is the difficulty, here!

Next,
find out whether Deductive or Inductive logical reasoning is used. In deductive
reasoning, there is simple substitution and all you need to remember are the
rules. Stick to the facts and you will automatically arrive at the solution.

In
inductive reasoning, you make generalizations, assumptions, or estimations. Try
to remember them and the context in which they are used. You can apply the same
principles elsewhere when similar problems are given to you.

In so
many cases, both deductive and inductive reasoning are used within a single
problem. Identify these separately.

More
about this you will find out in the other article: “How does thinking in mathematics differ from other subjects when all thinking appears similar?

**4.
****Maths is Unambiguous**

There is
absolutely no scope for confusion in **Maths**,
it is quite straightforward.

There is
no ambiguity and hence can form the basis of universal laws.

**Maths** operates
on a set of simple rules.

*By following
the rules in Maths, you can solve
all problems.*

Why
students find it difficult is they tend to forget the rules. Suppose they have
studied a rule in arithmetic in their primary school, the same rule applies
even when they are studying engineering. However, by the time they complete high
school, they would have ignored the rules. They think the rules and principles
were important only in the primary class and not now.

What
every **Maths** student should remember
is: A rule is a rule all the time. Whatever your level of studies, ** the
rules do not change**, nor can be ignored.

I had to
remind my students about BODMAS (BIDMAS), every time they were calculating
something. If they have used it yesterday after my prompting, it doesn’t mean
they can skip it today! It is a universal rule that applies always whether the
sums are big or small.

*SOLUTION*

Maintain
your rule book. Keep filling in the rules every time you come across a rule for
the first time.

Update it
every year. Never lose the book. If possible, learn these rules by heart. They
are very crucial in deciding your **Maths**
performance. Teachers can’t repeat these rules every year because each year
there are a ** set of new rules added to them**. Teachers usually
assume that you remember the earlier rules as you have passed the lower
classes.

The
simpler the rule is, the greater the chances that it may be forgotten. Simple
rules form the foundation and ignoring them may prove very costly in the higher
exams.

**5. Maths is Predictable**

What
comes next, how it is constructed, how does it look, where do things appear –
all these are laid out in an organized way only in the **Maths** subject.

Once you
have the formula with you, you will know what to do, how to apply it, and what
results to obtain.

There are
no two or more ways. For instance, if you are finding the area of a circle,
using the formula you can automatically confirm that the obtained value
represents the area only. Unfortunately, students don’t analyze the formula
before trying to recall it by heart.

If only
they find the rationale behind the formula, why the different parameters are
used, what is the connection between one parameter and another, and how is the
obtained result a representative of all these parameters, it can never be
easier than this.

Once I
asked two engineering students to calculate the percentage of a value. I told
them both the numerator value and the denominator value. Still, both could not
solve the simple problem because they said they have forgotten the formula.
When I asked, why do they need a formula for such a simple thing, they said
because they learned in school, they have not used the formula for a very long
time.

**SOLUTION**

Always analyze the formula by taking into consideration the relationship between the numerator and the denominator as well as the left-hand side versus the right-hand side of the equation. For example, while calculating a percentage the obtained or given value divided by the total gives you the value in decimals for a total of one. To convert this proportion into a percentage, you multiply it by 100. The word percent should give meaning to you. Once you know this relationship, you can recreate the formula whenever you need it.

**Understanding
Maths**

In
conclusion, **Maths** can be made
meaningful by analyzing and understanding it qualitatively. It can be easily
understood and no longer it is complicated. Rather than simply doing
calculations, and keep spending our valuable time practicing the same type of
problems, it becomes more worthwhile and interesting to know the why and the
how of all these efforts.

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