# The math study tip they are NOT telling you - Ivy League math major

TLDRIn this video, Han, a former Columbia University engineering graduate, shares her personal journey from struggling with math to becoming proficient and passionate about it. She reveals a study method that involves initially giving up on tough problems, understanding the solution, and then re-solving them independently to build a comprehensive understanding and boost confidence. Han emphasizes the importance of addressing fundamental concepts and practicing with answer keys to overcome math challenges.

### Takeaways

- π Han, a Columbia University engineering graduate, initially struggled with math and felt unintelligent compared to others.
- π« Han's high school experience in China was challenging; he chose liberal arts over natural science due to his poor performance in math.
- π Han's initial approach to difficult math problems was to struggle through them, often resulting in frustration and incorrect answers.
- π€ Han's realization in college was to 'give up' when stuck on a problem, instead opting to understand the answer key thoroughly before attempting the problem again.
- π The college system Han adopted involved mentally planning the solution, understanding the answer key, and then independently solving the problem to reinforce learning.
- π‘ Han emphasizes the importance of understanding the answer key to learn the correct approach and to build a comprehensive understanding of the problem-solving process.
- π Han's method boosts confidence and saves time by focusing on learning from the answer key rather than aimlessly attempting to solve the problem.
- π Han suggests that math can be intimidating because it has its own technical barriers, unlike subjects like history where concepts can be grasped more quickly.
- π Han explains that understanding math requires building a network of interconnected concepts, and missing any can create confusion and gaps in knowledge.
- π Han recommends using practice problem sets with answer keys to identify and fill gaps in knowledge, which was instrumental in his improvement.
- π Han's dedication to extra math practice during his senior year of high school not only helped him catch up but also made him one of the top students in his class.

### Q & A

### What is the main theme of the video?

-The main theme of the video is about overcoming the struggle with math and transforming from hating it to being good at it and enjoying it, as shared by Han, a math major from Columbia University.

### What is Han's educational background?

-Han graduated from Columbia University's engineering school with a major in math and operations research.

### Why did Han choose the liberal arts track in high school instead of the natural science track?

-Han chose the liberal arts track in high school because they were originally bad at math and science, which seemed hard to them and they couldn't understand the lectures or do their homework.

### What was Han's initial experience with math in high school?

-Han initially struggled with math, getting a score of 49 on their first math test, with an average score of 78 and the highest score being 96.

### What is the study system Han used in college to improve their math skills?

-Han used a system where they would first try to mentally solve a problem, then look at the answer key to understand the approach, and then try to solve the problem independently, repeating the process until they got it right.

### Why does Han recommend looking at the answer key before attempting to solve a problem independently?

-Han recommends this approach because it helps to understand the correct approach and method, saves time by focusing on learning the right way, and builds confidence and a sense of accomplishment.

### What is the importance of writing the solutions completely on your own?

-Writing the solutions completely on your own is important because it provides a comprehensive understanding of the problem-solving process from start to finish, which helps in recognizing and solving similar problems in the future.

### Why does Han suggest doing at least 20 practice questions a day using the mentioned process?

-Han suggests doing 20 practice questions a day to focus on what truly matters, identify areas of uncertainty, and learn and practice the correct approaches, which accelerates the understanding and mastery of math concepts.

### What is the role of the answer key in Han's study method?

-The answer key plays a crucial role in Han's study method by providing the correct solution path, which helps in understanding where one might be going wrong and how to correctly approach the problem.

### How does Han's approach to learning math differ from their high school experience?

-In high school, Han would struggle with each step of a problem and often give up or make mistakes. In college, they adopted a method of understanding the answer key first, then attempting the problem independently, which was more effective and less frustrating.

### How can someone who is struggling with math start to improve using Han's advice?

-Someone struggling with math can start by using Han's method of mentally walking through problems, using answer keys to understand the correct approach, practicing independently, and focusing on learning from mistakes rather than getting frustrated.

### Outlines

### π From Math Struggles to Mastery

Han, a graduate from Columbia University's engineering school with a major in math and operations research, shares his personal journey of transforming from a student who struggled with math to one who excels and enjoys the subject. He candidly discusses his initial challenges with math during high school in China, where he chose the liberal arts track due to his poor performance and understanding of math. Despite the common misconception that he was naturally gifted at math, Han reveals that he had to overcome a significant learning barrier. He introduces a systematic approach he developed in college for tackling difficult math problems, which involves understanding the answer key thoroughly before attempting to solve the problem independently. This method not only builds confidence but also ensures a comprehensive understanding of the problem-solving process.

### π Overcoming Math Intimidation and Building a Knowledge Network

In this paragraph, Han addresses the unique challenges of understanding math compared to other subjects, highlighting the difficulty of grasping abstract concepts without prior knowledge. He emphasizes the importance of building a strong foundation in math by identifying and filling gaps in one's knowledge. Han suggests using practice problem sets with detailed answer keys to pinpoint areas of uncertainty and to practice applying newly understood concepts. He shares his personal strategy of dedicating extra hours to math problem sets, which not only helped him catch up on missed materials but also led to him becoming one of the top students in his math class. Han encourages students to persevere through the initial difficulties, promising that with consistent effort, they will develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for math.

### Mindmap

### Keywords

### π‘Math Sensitivity

### π‘Columbia University

### π‘Operations Research

### π‘Liberal Arts Track

### π‘Answer Key Method

### π‘Sense of Accomplishment

### π‘Fundamental Concepts

### π‘Practice Problem Sets

### π‘Learning Network

### π‘Confidence Boost

### Highlights

Han, an Ivy League math major, shares personal struggles with math and a transformation to mastery.

Graduated from Columbia University's engineering school with a major in math and operations research.

Initially chose the liberal arts track in high school due to poor performance in math and science.

Recalls a first high school math test with a score of 49, far below the class average.

Describes a cycle of hating math, avoiding it, performing poorly, and feeling defeated.

Introduces a college-level system for tackling math problems that involves initially giving up to learn from the answer key.

Advocates understanding the answer key thoroughly before attempting to solve the problem independently.

Emphasizes the importance of writing solutions completely on one's own for a comprehensive understanding.

Suggests that math has inherent barriers unlike other subjects, making it difficult to grasp new concepts quickly.

Recommends building a 'giant network' of knowledge by identifying and filling gaps in understanding.

Advises finding practice problem sets with thorough answer keys to work through daily.

States that working through 20 practice questions a day can significantly improve math skills.

Shares personal experience of catching up in math and becoming a top student by using this method.

Encourages persistence, as the initial phase of understanding can be challenging but becomes easier over time.

Reminds viewers to pay attention to lectures and complete homework in addition to practicing problems.

Concludes with a message of hope for those who struggle with math, assuring improvement is possible.

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