The Secret to Master Math
by: Shahryar Badar
“ Is there an easy way to master math ? ”. I’m sure you must have thought this at least once in your life ( if not before every other math test ). You must have felt at some point that how come some people are so good at Math while others fail to do even a simple addition correctly. Well if you have, then cheer up! , you are not the only one who feels like that.
Several studies have been done so far to determine what makes the math skill of one brain way superior to others. The M.R.I study done on people of different age groups and of different educational levels has produced a surprising result. The Study has clearly shown that morphologically (i.e. in terms of shape, size and structure) the brain of both the Math dudes and the so called Math duds is identical. ( And you always thought a missing part was responsible for your bad scorecard ). So where does the difference lie ? The Study has also confirmed that the Math dudes have higher brain activity in their inferior parietal cortex ( that part of the brain that is supposed to deal with math )
So what does all this add up to?Simply a driver conflict in the mind.
Before I reveal the secret to master math, let me tell you about an incident that happened not so long ago. One fine day my pc at home crashed. Anyway, before it crashed completely it was not working like a Super computer. To begin with, it had stopped playing any song or sound long ago and its floppy drive would not work as well (ok it was an old machine but believe me I was using it purely out of emotional reasons). For sometime now I was thinking of getting those parts replaced if not throwing the entire thing in the dust-bin.
Anyhow, I decided to do the clean reinstallation. After an endless wait in front of the blue screen, came the moment of glory. The screen read ‘ Your computer is ready to boot for the first time.’ Immediately after that, the first thing I heard was the sweet old churning of my hard disk and then I saw the soft blink of my CD-Rom drive. And then guess what happened, the long dead floppy drive also followed the suit and started to blink. “ Hallelujah ” I cried out. Now I had realized that it was the driver conflict that was stopping my otherwise good hardware (yeah!) from working correctly.
For those who are wondering right now what ‘driver’ is, it is a small program responsible for making your hardware do what it does.
I became so optimistic that I went on a searching spree on the internet to find the right driver for my sound card as well. Finally, I did find what I was looking for and installed it manually. The result ? As I am punching this article on my computer (yes the same old one) my favorite John Denver song is playing in the background.
Now coming back to what we had started out with, as to why some people lack the math skill completely. What is that well kept secret to master math ? The answer is just one word – updates. People who lack math skill have not bothered to update their number crunching driver.
By now everybody is aware that computers are based on human brain.
Our Brain = Hardware of computer, comparable to CPU.
Our Mind = Software, comparable to Operating System (like windows, linux or whichever you find best)
Our mind needs numerous drivers ( programs ) to run its various faculties. Those are stored in our memory.
Some brains come right out of the pack with the correct drivers installed while others have to update their drivers manually during the course of their life.
Take this Quick Test to check the version of Math driver installed in your mind. ( Try to attempt the questions first on your own and then compare your approach to that given below.)
23 x 11 = What ?
Take your time.
I’m still waiting.
Did you get the answer ?
Now look at the approach given below.
No response at all / a mild headache ( very much like the overheating of a non functional part of a machine.)
Type of driver installed:
The mind with non existent driver or a malfunctioning one.
Tries to solve this way using pen & paper.
Type driver installed:
The mind with an outdated driver installed.
since 2+3=5 , therefore 23 x 11 = 2 5 3
To multiply any 2 digit no. with 11 simply add the two digits and sandwich the result in between those two digits.
Type driver installed: The mind with the latest updated driver.
Before you take this test any further, let me tell you one good thing about the human mind. Our mind is designed to be very lazy. This in turn makes it super efficient. Confused ?? Read on.
Our mind always seeks to get the maximum output using the minimum effort. This makes it super productive. Our mind wants that at a click of a button ( that too if absolutely unavoidable ) everything should be done. Our clothes and utensils washed, our food cooked, our room cleaned and our algebra homework done.
I am sure most of us could have solved 23 x 11 by using the 2nd approach (long one). But most of us chose not to, as somehow the mind became aware that it was not the most efficient (read: easy) way of doing it. That is why once the mind is taught the easy way of doing things it seldom reverts back to its old inefficient ways. In my experience as a Math teacher, I have seen the students transform from math duds to absolute math dudes in a matter of few weeks once the right drivers are installed in their minds.
Now that your mind knows the shortest and easiest way of multiplying any 2 digit no. by 11, try few more examples and see which method your mind prefers.
26 x 11 = ____
2+6=8, thus answer is 2 8 6
i.e. add 2 & 6 and sandwich the result in between .
45 x 11 = ____
4+5=9, thus answer is 4 9 5.
Conclusion: This was just one example to demonstrate that the much needed math skill is thankfully already present in our mind. We are all capable of doing calculations at a snap finger speed. All we need to do is tweak our mind a little for optimum performance.
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