Math Myths

Wonderful Stuff
College Junior
Sierra College, Rocklin, CA

I found many of the Articles linked on the Math page to be best suited to getting Students through Lower Division Math. I really liked this page because it provides perspective on Mathematics as a whole, potentially even through Graduate Level and Professional Mathematics. The Myths that the Author describes often inhibit Students from actually doing any Actual Math in Math Class! Mathematics is about bringing incredibly sustained thought, contemplation and analysis to really Difficult Problems in order to provide rigorous, complete and Proven Solutions that further Mathematics may then be based upon. It is Easy to no one, not even PhD Mathematicians or the best Mathematicians in the World - because if it were Easy, we would have the Mathematics to then do thoroughly Amazing things that would otherwise be Impossible. (This, of course, describes our current Technology!) If you're such a "Math Genius", then why aren't you doing PhD Level Mathematics: all it requires is Interest and understanding the prior Math! (One of my fellow Classmates at University was -- an 8 year old girl who was taking Graduate Level Math.) Studies in Calculus should be required of all Students, including those Majoring in the Written Humanities (I happen to be a Double Major), because they represent the most Important and Difficult Academic Ideas that are the basis of all of our Culture. Today's Women seem to be better at Math than Men because Mathematical Study requires Continuity in Education, and today Women consistently think more of School and therefore Learn more than Men. Actual honest to god Mathematics is less about "Learning" how to Answer to a Test and more about Learning and Living a new, different and entirely Unique way of thinking about Understanding and Interacting with Reality and our World. It's a wonderful Experience that done correctly helps the Individual Grow in Intellectual Maturity and as a Human Being.

Math Myths Dispelled!
Dina Miller, College Sophomore
Sierra College, Rocklin, CA

I enjoyed the article on Math Myths from the University of Alabama. All of the myths they discussed were very helpful.

I found two to be very insightful " Using Tools is Cheating" pointed out that tools like fingers and a computer can and should be used in math. The second myth, "The Magic Key", states that there is no magic key, that anyone can do math. They did point out that getting over any anxiety they are having is a great first step.

Overall, it was a very helpful article.

Thumbs Up
Soroush Motahari, College Freshman
Ca?ada College, Redwood City, CA

Very insightful. I had heard some of these myths before, but the way they're explained here is very good. It is very well written and the examples are really eye opening.

Very nice disclaimer
HS Sophomore
Ca?ada College, United States

As someone who has it pretty good with math (it makes sense to me) I can relate to quite a few of these myths. The "Good memory myth" and the "using tools is cheating myth" are especially well put. I generally derive formulas when doing higher math and while I can do math in my head, calculators are possibly the most useful things in math when it comes to solving equations. It makes sense to use them. Again, very nice

Cornell Note Taking
Carol Gatlin, College Sophomore
Ultimate Medical Academy, Tampa Florida

I have experience this method format in taking notes, and noting the principal facts to gain the correct answers in the math test. It is my opinion that the method really was helpful, and I sucessfully passed the math course.

Math Myths
Teddy Martin, College Junior
University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1000 University Ave Fairbanks, AK 99709

I enjoyed this article mainly because of its simple approach to dispelling some of the misconceptions of math. One of my favorite myths covered was the section talking about math being easy to those who are "math minded". Sure some people are naturally gifted in some areas over others, but the statement saying one's ability to solve a problem is not a measure of ability at all, but simply the result of experience and practice, rings very true to me. Like any other skill or talent, math is one that must be developed with experience and practice.

Math Myths Review
College Junior
Sierra College, Rocklin California

This is a very good article that describes the stereotypes involving math and the myths associated with success. The author does a great job of showing that success in math is not just based on IQ, but on the work that is put in to hone and sharpen skills. I do disagree with the author when they say "And there is nothing wrong with counting on fingers as an aid to doing arithmetic. This process actually indicates an understanding of arithmetic — more understanding than if everything were memorized." Things such as counting on fingers and using a calculator for basic arithmetic acts solely as a crutch to keep one from learning the material as well as slowing down in the calculation process. All in all this is a good article about the myths about math and what can be done to do well in math.

Very ahelpful
HS Sophomore
Sierra College, Rocklin CA

I found the math myth article helpful because people tend to take a lot of these myths as fact, which tends to hinder a person's success. I believe that the genius myth , which is the myth that says that people who are good at math are geniuses, is definitely not true. Being a math student myself, I tend to understand the material and can go through a math course with good grades, but I do not consider myself to be a genius.

There is also the myth that states that using any tool for math, such as a computer or your fingers, is basically not allowed ever. While there are times where some professors will not allow the use of some tools, it is not going to happen all of the time.

Lastly, there is the myth that men are better at math than women. I think that women are told that men are supposed to be better at math, so then I believe women don’t try as hard, which hinders their success. As a student and a tutor, I believe that these myths are good to be known as myth, so that people won’t be held back by believing these to be fact.

All the math myths
salma O
Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Minneapolis ,MN

It’s a great way to think about the everyday myths that people believe, how they can be wrong. There is the genus myth (that people who are great in math are smarter than the rest). I believe that is a way because math take a lot of skills in order to solve it.

Next is the myth that if math is hard for you than math is not for you. Well like it or not everything in life is hard at first then the more you do the easier it gets.

Another myth is that for a person that has a great ability to remember things will do well in math. I believe that is true in every study.

There is the tools are cheating myth, math would be harder than it is if people didn’t have tool to help solve it.

How about men are better in math than women! Gender has nothing to do with being smart, rather it’s all about that effort that one put in mastering it.

There is the “Who needs math anyways” myth that most young people believe that they can get around learning math. That is so true, we all avoid learning anything that is hard.

Last but not the least, there is “The magic key” myth. It’s believed that there is a magic key to understanding all math problems. I enjoyed reading all these myths.

Great thoughts
Elias Wheeler, College Senior
University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks

This article offers a great perspective for students studying math. It is really true that speed is no measure of how good a person is. As a tutor, I see people take 20 minutes to do a problem and after doing about 3 similar problems, they can do the same problem in about 2 minutes, and they know the shortcuts.

Another comment that was especially valuable was the idea that math isn't about memorizing formulas. I am not an engineering major or anything like that, but business requires its own special brand of math. I found that particularly in accounting. Those who grasped an understanding of the flow of money and why things went from one statement to the next had a much easier time with the course than those who memorized the process. If you are memorizing formulas, you may be making it too hard on yourself.

Math Myths: Busted!
Kyja Ramage, College Sophomore
Sierra College, Rocklin, CA

I am very glad that I read this article. Even though my major is math, I still believed in a lot of these myths.I thought that I was not going to be as good at math as others in my class, because I thought they were more "Mathematically Inclined," but it just turned out that they just studied harder than I did.

Also I was a little ashamed that I was good at math and not really anything else, but now I realize that there are plenty of jobs out there just for mathematicians (namely teachers, but that's what I want to be, so that's good), and that's just as good as any job out there just for Historians and English majors.

This might have just boosted my own ego, but I'm sure that other people feel better after reading this as well.

Math is not a talent
College Freshman
Sierra College, Rocklin, CA.

I have been studying Math for 7 years from pre-algebra up to calculus. I agree that Math is not a problem, but it is a challenge or even an opportunity for anyone who dare to test their brains. Many people Ihave talked to in my career often give the same excuses for not being able to do math. It is not a talent, I repeat. Anyone can do math if they think they can. I believe that the more ambitious and challenge-seeking you are, the more easy your relationship with math. I would, with both hands down on the table, agree that less likely one want to spend hours to solve math problem. Here are the reasons: Math can get nasty. Math is mind bending, Math is a sandwich without meat or cheese inside it, not until you study Physics and Chemistry. Anyway, my advice is not to study the formulas and memorize it, but study the idea behind it.It is you to make history, not to record history. You should apply your knowledge into real life.

Work hard and do your best, since there is no such thing as genius or luck.

Math Icebreaker
College Sophomore
Sierra College, Rocklin, CA

I enjoyed the Math Myths article. Often there is a stigma associated with mathematics. This stigma states that math is just too hard, too unapproachable and should not be attempted, save for the select few intellectuals. These false beliefs likely stem from the myth examples in this article.

The article goes on to explain the myths and dispel the false beliefs that are associated with them. In reality mathematics is just another discipline, very valuable in its own right. Its real world applications are infinite and it should not be feared. We often fear the unknown.

This article breaks the ice for beginning mathematicians and lightheartedly imparts just a little bit of knowledge about the field of mathematics to make it that much more approachable and less scary.

Great straightforward article
Alan Lipka
Univerisity of Alaska Fairbanks , Fairbanks, AK

I really enjoyed this article and a number of the myths really hit home. The "it should be easy" myth is a good one to dispel. People who are thinking of getting into a math heavy field with little math background are often told the level of math they are learning should be easy. Anything you learn for the first time is difficult whether it is basic arithmetic or calculus. People should not stop trying to learn math just because the level you are at is difficult.

The using tools is cheating myth is also a good one to dispel. Using tools to do your homework might not be a great idea, but using tools to check your work or help you figure out how to solve a difficult problem can be extremely valuable.

Math can be done by anyone
Christopher Morales, College Sophomore
Christopher Morales, Redwood City, CA

I really enjoyed reading some of the myths that you all have written about on your website. What I specifically enjoyed was the genius myth and it has to be easy myth. As a student studying mathematics, I have all to often fell into that mindset, and it has made studying math a lot more intimidating to me than I feel it should be. Math doesn't come as easy to me as it does for others, and that can be difficult to deal with sometimes. Reading some of your thoughts gives me reassurance that as long as I continue to work hard and apply myself, that I can be successful in the field of mathematics.

A Good Resource
HS Junior
Sierra College, Rocklin, CA

As a lower-level math tutor, I tend to see myths and stereotypes about math a lot. One of the myths that pop up the most is described on this webpage: The It-Should-Be-Easy Myth. Commonly, I am told by tutees that they cannot learn math because they don't have that mystical math brain. This simply is a result of a lack of confidence, and tutors should take that phrase as a hint that confidence needs to be built. However, one gripe that I have about this page is The Using-Tools-Is-Cheating myth. In most of my classes, calculators are not allowed, and tutors should not encourage students to use calculators when they cannot use them on an exam. Too often, I have seen an over-reliance on technology when students are doing homework. They then wonder why they cannot do well on the exams. If only they had done the work by hand instead of blowing through the homework using a computer, they would have known how to do the problems on the exam. In upper-level mathematics courses, of course< calculators and computers are needed. But not in lower-level courses, in which math can be simply done by hand with some effort.

Myths that people belive to be true
Eslie Rivas
Chemeketa Community College, Salem, Oregon

This article Math Myths, published in the University of Alabama shares a lot of myths that people believe are true. I even believed some of these myths were true, for example The "Genius Math Myth". I always thought students who were good at math were smarter than I am, but truth is people who score higher in math also face some difficulty in math.

Another myth I find interesting that a lot of people believe is true, is the "it should be easy ,myth". People who score better in math don't find it very easy, they try hard to learn the subject and not give up. This source was very interesting because a lot of people believe that these myths are true, when in reality they are not.

Math Myths
College Freshman
Chemeketa Community College, Salem, OR

I love that all of these encountered thoughts and problems are called out as myths! It is very encouraging for someone who is easily discouraged, especially when it comes to math. To know that it is not true, that a man is naturally better at math than me, or that counting on my fingers makes me less knowledgeable. That not being able to count in my head does not make me less than, and that I am totally capable of learning if I just put the time and effort into doing so. Well laid out, and well said!

Useful Information about Myths
College Freshman
Chemeketa Community College, Oregon

This covers some of the myths that I have believed for most of my life such as using tools is cheating. This is helping me to change my ideas about how to do math.

Math Myth x2
Angelita , College Freshman
Chemeketa Community, Salem

So far in my review of resources, this piece has by far been one of the most helpful. I did not realize how many of these myths about math I actually believed or where they came from. This was very simple, direct and helpful.

The following excerpts I have found were extra helpful to me: "Speed is not a measure of ability. It is the result of experience and practice.... It is important to place math ability on the same level as other abilities. "

math myths
Misty , College Freshman
Chemeketa , Salem Oregon

Definitely ruined some of my conceptions on why I was bad at math. I have no excuses to succeed at math now, which is a good thing. Some ideas in my head were definitely debunked. I will now move forward without making excuses and succeed in math.


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