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Mathematicians; How do I stop making stupid mistakes? watch

1. Hey guys,

Basically I have to nail my June A2 exams, but I find when doing for example C4, I always make stupid mistakes, especially if it is a long winded question. I have the method correct but let's say I'm intergrating I would put the limits as something diffferent to what they ask... Or forget that 7+5=12 and not 13

How can I become more profficent? I have to get all A's in my C3, C4, S1 and M1 exams so I'm starting to get worried...

Any tips?
2. (Original post by J DOT A)
Hey guys,

Basically I have to nail my June A2 exams, but I find when doing for example C4, I always make stupid mistakes, especially if it is a long winded question. I have the method correct but let's say I'm intergrating I would put the limits as something diffferent to what they ask... Or forget that 7+5=12 and not 13

How can I become more profficent? I have to get all A's in my C3, C4, S1 and M1 exams so I'm starting to get worried...

Any tips?
Do all the questions in the book, all the past papers and then move on to solomon press papers. If u've done all that n still havent got much to do then having a look at STEP papers would be a good idea. In essense just practise, practise n practise.
3. (Original post by J DOT A)
Hey guys,

Basically I have to nail my June A2 exams, but I find when doing for example C4, I always make stupid mistakes, especially if it is a long winded question. I have the method correct but let's say I'm intergrating I would put the limits as something diffferent to what they ask... Or forget that 7+5=12 and not 13

How can I become more profficent? I have to get all A's in my C3, C4, S1 and M1 exams so I'm starting to get worried...

Any tips?
Well from the sounds of things it's not content that you're bad at, just petty silly mistakes, which I myself fall victim to (and probably alot of others too). The only thing I can suggest is to have very clear and unrushed working out. Write little notes to help you if need be while working out those longer questions.
Remember you have plenty of time; there's no rush so do the question slowly and with care.
Write down even little baby steps.
Count with your fingers. (I do! )
5. I'm the same as you, silly silly mistakes.

I just do all the questions where there's lots of number work (eg. integration with limits) several times.

And use your calculator wherever possible.
6. I always make stupid mistakes in maths. I copy a number down wrong for no reason what so ever, and it messes the entire calculation.

Sucks!
7. You'll never stop making silly mistakes. I don't think anyone stops making silly mistakes; I certainly don't, nor do my lecturers and nor do the people who write (and mark) my exams. You can get better at spotting them, though; in A-level exams what I did was try and get through all the questions in ~1 hour, and then spend the remaining half an hour going over everything I'd done, making sure that all my additions and subtractions were right, and making sure I'd used the correct rules in the correct places (e.g. it's surprising how often you can mix up differentiation and integration). In cases where you have to rearrange expressions of functions and so on, plugging numerical values into each side to check they're correct is often useful. You're quite lucky in A-level exams to have calculators, which makes the checking stage a lot easier.
8. Mistakes I've made over the past week alone: differentiating instead of integrating (even though I'd drawn an integrand and put in limits! ), read a 2 as a 5, read an x as a y, written a power wrongly and thus confused (sin x)^2 as sin 2x, mixed up the double angle identities for (cos x)^2 and (sin x)^2, decided that a half minus a quarter is minus a half...

I've not found anything that helps it either, except to do calculations at your usual pace (slowing down actually makes me make more mistakes, for some reason) and then to check them multiple times.
9. (FML, just deleted this whole post instead of submitting! - Brief summary follows):

I agree with nuodai, imo you never stop making silly mistakes. As you mature mathematically you might start making less, but you'll still ocassionally do something silly like calculate the gradient of the normal instead of the tangent, or even writing -a*-b = -ab.

My two cents (pence?):

• Try and think of ways you can check the answers you get. For example, differentiate anything you've integrated and check you get the original function. Sub values back into original equations and check you get the result you'd expect.
• If time allows, re-do your arithmetic line by line. Don't take any shortcuts while doing so. Use plenty of brackets to make sure your calculator interprets your input correctly.

I also wrote this thread just before the January exam session, it might help, or it might not, but it never hurts to have more resources: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1502364
10. Hey. Fraid to break it to you, but you never stop making silly mistakes.

The most useful piece of knowledge I can pass on is that when it comes to maths it's always simpler than you think.

The beauty in maths is its powerful simplicity.

Don't try to overcomplicate it and you'll be fine.

Good luck.
11. I do exactly the same thing.

My main problem is that I never and I honestly mean it never check my work. I just can't. I'm brilliant at time management so I always finish an exam with time to spare and I don't use that time so I end up sitting in the exam hall looking like a muppet. I've learnt that I just have to check my work and not overcomplicate things.

Never forget that in every question you attempt there will always be a hint. Look for the hint.

In my C1 exam, on the question worth the whole marks, i had aced it until using pythagoras where i forgot to square root -.- cost me UMS. Maths is just a long set of rules, just stick to them and these mistakes will evaporate
13. (Original post by Jampolo)
Maths is just a long set of rules
So not true! The long set of rules is nothing more than a set of rules that we impose in order to understand maths. What maths really is is up for debate, but a long set of rules is certainly what it is not.
14. i make so many stupid mistakes as well
15. (Original post by nuodai)
So not true! The long set of rules is nothing more than a set of rules that we impose in order to understand maths. What maths really is is up for debate, but a long set of rules is certainly what it is not.
Great Applications
Wonderful Proofs
Beautiful Theorems
16. (Original post by nuodai)
So not true! The long set of rules is nothing more than a set of rules that we impose in order to understand maths. What maths really is is up for debate, but a long set of rules is certainly what it is not.
1. Axiom of extensionality
2. Axiom of regularity (also called the Axiom of foundation)
3. Axiom schema of specification
4. Axiom of pairing
5. Axiom of union
6. Axiom schema of replacement
7. Axiom of infinity
8. Axiom of power set

and last but not least

9. Axiom of Choice

(i just totally went there)

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