You may want to check out Part 1 of this article here.

So – again let me say it, doing well in Math is not just about More Practice. It’s more about HOW you practice.

Perhaps HOW you practice can be summarized into 2 words – Critical Thinking. Wow! that’s 2 big and scary words to a lot of people.

We don’t even have the subject of Critical Thinking until we get to college. I know my student attended Critical Thinking classes during her A-levels, but none were taught at secondary school level.

Contrary to common belief, a lot of critical thinking is just plain common sense. It’s not something that you have to crack your brain for :)

A lot of students don’t bother to think when it comes to math (or even life) because

1) they were not taught how to think and

2) they simply can’t be bothered since they don’t see how Math applies in their lives other than counting money :)

Why then would everyone in the world tell students – Math is very Important! You better get A for math even if you can’t get As for other subjects!  Math tutoring is one of the most common in the tuition industry in Malaysia and Singapore. Ask any students, “What tuition do you have? Math is always one of them. Even if they don’t have other tuition subjects, most will have Math. Why?

Because Math is supposed to be the only subject in Primary and Secondary school level that teaches students Critical Thinking Skills.  Unfortunately, in many situation, students are not taught how to think, they are pushed and pressured into practicing, getting the right answers and scoring As instead of learning how to approach the questions critically. Math teachers are simply too busy trying to complete teaching 21 chapters of Add Math in 2 years to remember that teaching the students thinking skills must come first, before teaching them how to answer SPM PMR questions.

Let’s look at the following example

I gave this question to 5 students. Only 1 got the answer.  Another girl got it halfway. For those of you who can answer this question, you’ll probably find yourself thinking in this manner.  Students who can answer this question tend to think this process automatically. Most don’t even realize that this is the sequence of their thinking process. That’s why there are students who are very good in Math but don’t know how to teach their friends.

Critical Thinking Number 1

” What is given to me is in the form of Logarithm”

Critical Thinking Number 2

“The question is in the form of Indices”

Critical Thinking Number 3

“How then can I make use of what is given to me to answer the questions?”

Critical Thinking Number 4

” Can I change what is given (the log) into what I need? (indices)”

Solution –

1) Change Log5 2 = p to Indices form. Which means 2=5^p

Critical Thinking Number 5

How can I substitute 2=5^p  into the question 1/25^p?

and so forth……..

(ps : the other way also works, changing the question into log , you can try it)

I hope you can see what I”m illustrating here. I’m trying to explain a very essential skill in life.

“When I’m facing a problem, I must first look at the resources that I have, think of how they can help me to solve the problem. If the resources that I have now, can’t help me solve the problem, then is there a way to modify or change the resources so that they can help me solve the problem?”

90% of Malaysian students will never ever use Log again in their entire lives after 2 years of Add Math, but the Critical Thinking process of solving this problem, if you can learn them now in Add Math lesson, this skill will carry you far in your life.

Remember – More Math homework may not help students if they are not taught to approach the questions critically.

PS : Check out this article on “What to do when you’re stuck with an Add Math Quesiton.”