I Need Help Remembering My Math Steps

  1. i find myself being ok at math. the school is giving use a refresher course before we start the actual thing, but im finding that im having a hard time remember the steps in certain math equations. how can i become better in math? also is there a method for remember the metric system?
  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   marilynmom
    You get good with math just by doing problems over and over and over again. I am pretty good with math and I write the formulas on index cards and I just work a lot of problems till I get it.

    Good luck!

  4. by   kjseam
    I don't know if this will help you but it helped me. I really stink at math! I went to Math.com and you can print all kinds of problems to practice with and it has help with all kinds of math.
  5. by   zannie
    yep, what kelly said... i went to math.com to refresh myself! Also, for algebra, I found this site to be quite helpful: http://www.algebrahelp.com/index.jsp

  6. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Math is all about rules.

    Multiply 1x100..........all you did was moved a decimal point 2 zeros(places) to the right. 1. 10. 100.

    Multiply 3.14 by 100 3.14 34.1 341.

    Now 3.14 x 0.1 follow 3.14 .314

    3.14 x .001 3.14 .314 .0314

    so the rule that is iron-clad is the movement of the decimal point. Once you know the rules you'll just have to memorize them.

    In order to put them to memory will require repetition.
  7. by   Cynthiann
    Originally posted by marilynmom
    You get good with math just by doing problems over and over and over again. I am pretty good with math and I write the formulas on index cards and I just work a lot of problems till I get it.

    Good luck!

    I agree with Marilyn.

    I'm already pretty good at math but I still do the problems over and over to really know them and to help remember the steps and formulas. I always do more than the teacher actually assigns to have more practice.

  8. by   llg
    I was always very good at math -- but terrible at memorization. I think the "trick" to being good at math is NOT to memorize ... but rather to understand why you do things. If you truly understand why you do things, you don't have to memorize them. That's what most of my math teachers always said and it makes sense to me. So, make sure you really understand why things are done the way they are, why you take each step along the way, etc. If you truly understand why, it will be easier to remember what comes next in any sequence.

    Teaching medication administration, IV drips, etc. in orientation to new nurses, I have always found that the ones who struggled the most were the ones who relied on memorizing standard formulas, formats, or "tricks" -- but didn't really understand what they were doing and why. That memorization of standardized stuff got them through school as their instructors always formated their questions in a similar way. However, real-life situations don't always present themselves in a pre-specified format. The nurse has to understand the quantities involved and the relationships among those quantities in order to figure out how to best handle the situation. That's where the memorization of "standard" formats and formulas reaches its limits of usefulness.

    Of course, there are always a few things that need to be memorized (like conversions, etc.). I think the other posters are correct in saying that repetition is the key -- although it can sometimes help to use little memory enhancers, etc. to help remind you of things. As a primarily auditory learner rather than a visual one, it helps me to memorize things if I say them out loud repeatedly and get the rhythm of the words ingrained in me. It's like learning songs -- the rhythm and sounds help lead me to what is supposed to come next.

    If you are a visual learner, perhaps you could write what you need to memorize in an artistic to help you memorize it. If you are a kinesthetic learning, body movements/physical activity might help you remember. Associating the content you need to memorize with activity and/or movement might help you remember it better.

    Last edit by llg on May 8, '03
  9. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Interesting that you are auditory, and understand its meaning. I didn't think anyone paid attention to that stuff but me.

    I have to put the stuff on flashcards, pace back and forth, and vocalize the questions as well as the answers. I add key points as I think of them and discuss their impact on the problem.

    It must appear very odd to anyone else

    These methods don't seem to really work with math. I just enforce rules. I have purchased several other math programs to get different problems, adding repetitions and adjusting to their individual style.

    I noticed that I made an error in my example. I make those little mistakes all the time unless I'm scanning my work expecting them constantly.
    It takes an extraordinary instructor to teach the actual mechanics of math operations. You are fortunate.
  10. by   Nurse Bethie
    My instructors taught me, and now I teach my students, to keep a small notebook in the pocket of your scrubs. In it, write out the formulas and conversions (or photocopy a chart that makes sense to you)and keep it with you an the floor. If you have a moment where your brain excapes you, just pull out your quick notes and remind yourself. Also, common things like IV drip rates can be precalculated and referenced in your notes. There is now a book/notebook from Lippincott called RN Notes that does have these charts. This is ok but I found that the one I made myself states the information in a way that I understand so I still find in beneficial to this day (and I have been practicing for 3 years and teaching for 1.5)
    Hope this hopes...let me know if you want a copy of some of my charts, I will post them if you think it would help!
  11. by   rosemadder
    For conversions such as grams to milligrams--this is the way I remember it.....you go up the stairs on the left and down the stairs on the right.....so if you are converting from a smaller number to a bigger number (such as mg to g) your going up the stairs so you move the decimal three places to the left. And likewise if you are converting from a large number to a small number you are going down (the stairs) on the right so move the decimal three places to the right.

    Example: 1 gram = ___ mg (large to small /down --three places to right)
    =1000 mg


    .5 mg = _____g (small to large/up==three places to left)
    =.0005 g

    Hope this hasn't confused you more!!
    Last edit by rosemadder on May 30, '03
  12. by   shyne
    That's a really good tip Rosemadder, I'll have to try to remember that one.
  13. by   angelbear
    Nurse Bethie I am not the one you made the offer to but I would love to see your charts. I am just beginning to study slowly for my rn and math is one of my week areas too. Thanks