Tag Archive for 'Math Skills'

Math And English Study Tips

Here is another student with two great questions. One of the answers might just surprise you.

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Hello Marc!

I’m a 16 year old boy from Norway. I have some questions for you, which I hope you can answer.

There are two things that have been bothering me a lot. I am not that good in English, so please excuse me if there are some mistakes in this comment. (Note – I edited a few mistakes, but not many more than most native English speakers would make!)

1) The first question is how I can become better in Math?

Sometimes I’m doing good in this subject. Other times I’m doing bad. It is always up and down. It is weird. Sometimes I can understand a thing and do all the hard “questions”, but the next day I can end up failing on the same questions if there is a test. I feel really embarrassed. I’m going to high school soon and I’m worried about having problems.

2) The second question is how can I improve my English? I want to talk English fluently. Like I want to learn advanced English, if you know what I mean? I’m planning to study abroad when I get older, so I have to improve my English.

I hope you understand what I mean…


How To Improve In Math

Without seeing your math test results, I would guess that you’re memorising math without really understanding the core principles.

The fastest and easiest way to verify if this is true is to find a friend who is not as good as you are in math and teach him or her what you think you know. If he/she understands what you’re saying, then it’s something else. If not, you’ll quickly realise what you don’t know you don’t know.

How To Improve In English

What a lot of people don’t know about me is that French is my mother tongue, native language. I only learned to speak English when I was 7 years of age when my family moved from Montreal, Quebec, Canada to Jamaica. I had no choice, I had to learn English “instantly” – there were no French schools in Jamaica.

That’s when I made a pact with my brother and sister – to NEVER speak French to them and only speak French to our parents (who are both fluently bilingual). To this day, 40+ years later, we STILL don’t speak French to each other – only speaking French to our parents. This is even the case when we’re just family members in the room.

It takes discipline, but it works. You might not be able to do it with your family, but you could find a friend and make that your own pact. The KEY IS TO NEVER BREAK THE CODE. You have to find words and not speak in your native language.

The other way is to use an English spellchecker that will correct your grammar and typographical mistakes. For example, I is always capitalised, never in lower case (i)…

When you get older, you might want to learn OTHER languages since it’s been shown that when you are multi-lingual, learning new languages gets easier. It’s always the first new (second language after your mother tongue) that is the hardest.

Three last suggestions to improve your English skills.

  1. You should try to find English movies with subtitles in English. They are hard to find these days, but are ideal.
  2. You should read as many English books as you can – especially fiction novels since they are much easier to read and conversational in nature. I would STOP reading all fiction books in your native language. At your age, you do enough of that for school.
  3. Learn speed reading. By speed reading, you will acquire a much wider vocabulary and by NOT vocalising the words, you will start to THINK in English instead of translating the words and THEN trying to say them. You can’t be fluent in a language if you are trying to translate WHILE speaking. That takes time and speed reading DECREASES that time by orders of magnitude.