Sixteen Easy Steps of Becoming a Mathematician

posted Sep 16, 2013, 6:15 AM by Maurice Nyamoti   [ updated Jan 20, 2015, 12:47 AM ]

Sixteen Easy Steps of Becoming a Mathematician


Mathematics is more of an attitude rather than fear phobia as most students would like us to believe. It’s one of the poorly performed subjects in KCSE and KCPE exams despite enjoying the largest number of lessons in a week compared to other subjects of the same league. Eight lessons a week is pretty much if you want to prove your talents in mathematics. The problem in math performance mostly is to blame to the student and to some extent company and some shrewd teachers. Mathematics teachers should be inspiring and more enterprising to sell the idea of mathematics to the students; they should encourage students to use mathematics as a weapon of performing better in other science subjects just as students themselves would encourage each other. The business of mathematics is wide and universal, in this article I will look forward to advice students on how to pursue mathematics in order to eliminate poor grades and top with pride. Now follow these steps keenly to develop a mathematics culture.


1.      Eliminate Bad Math Attitude/ Love Mathematics

Get this idea of ‘mathematics is a phenomenon’ from your head. I don’t know how you developed this idea in the first place. However the idea is for you to develop a psychological advantage to pursue mathematics. Anything otherwise will render your ability ‘insolvent’. You know you have that ability, now take challenges with all your will and energy.

2.      Accept Your Grade, Make Your First Step from There and Hit the Road Running

A huge junk of people learn from past mistakes or rather history. You couldn’t be reading this article if you had absolutely no math problem. Look at your grade and decide what you can do with them. Take your pen and “SWAT” strength, weaknesses and act on your threats to full potential. Make possible solutions on a piece of paper and pin it where you can look at it daily to remind you of set objectives at hand. ‘A big Journey must start with one Step’

3.      Make a Personalized Timetable to Address Time Wastage

Draft a personalized timetable to manage your time. In this timetable allocate mathematics, physics, and chemistry, Biology, English and Kiswahili more time than other subjects most preferably in the ratio of 2:3 to sciences advantage. Make it user friendly to allow you to have free time as well; however, mathematics should be allocated time on daily basis.

4.      Attempt At Least Three New/Unique Mathematical Challenges Daily

Make sure you have known three new calculations in mathematics that you didn’t know earlier. Make an extra effort to read a head of the teacher-ask where need be-attempts from revision papers and attempt every other topical question therein. This method will prepare you in advance before your math teacher closes in. Assemble questions to ask In class- a question asked in class can easily be remembered in an examinations environment especially when some fun is in it, it will work on your advantage.

5.      Revise Mathematics Past Questions At Least Five of Them Daily

Never say it’s over with my last class, KCSE is all inclusive of all forms. Get all revision materials in your mathematics file and choose five questions randomly for attempt each passing day. This tactic will remind you what you had already forgotten. You will also boost your mathematics morale which is something you can easily do.

  6.      Form/Join a Mathematics Group to Discuss New/Tough Math Challenges At Least one Hour Every Week

Be a member of math/science club and pick challenges that can clearly give you a comparison with others. Assist others the way you want to be assisted in a win-win situation. Active members tend to gain more from these groupings. Bring forth tough questions to be discussed-the ones that overwhelmed you.

7.      Seek Math Solutions Instantly From Your Teacher/Senior Students/Friends/Best Math Student/Math Group

Seek instant/real time/ immediate solutions to your mathematics problems. Immediate because mathematics problems are never postponed; real time because that is when your heart desires the answer; Instant to avoid forgetting the problem altogether -Get solutions based on the time you wanted that problem solved. Never postpone what you can do now!

8.      Read All Questions in Math Paper, Mark Easy Ones and Start with Them

No law exists which says mathematics exam papers should be done from the first question. Guideline to good handling of mathematics exam should start with reading all the question, mark easy questions (where you will start from) and also identifying those questions to attempt as given by the paper’s instructions. Thoughtless attempts are as a result of panic and unpreparedness. Starting with easy questions will give morale and always saves time which in this case is a scarce resource.

9.      Read All Instructions Carefully On the Question Paper before Putting Ink on Paper

Read instructions as stipulated on page one, understand them before embarking on ‘root scanning’ questions provided. Reading instructions saves time hovering around the question paper as it also prepares you well on what to expect.

10. Don’t Do Cheating (It Does Not Only Risk Nullification But Divert Your Attention and Takes Away Your Concentration)

Cheating is obsolete in any exam, it may either nullify your overall exam or ‘mold you a zombie’. Depending on other sources of information is equally as expensive as relying on genuine means according to Isaac Newton’s law of motion (every action force has an equal and backward force called reaction force). This trend though is more risk because it will dehydrate your concentration and negatively focus your attention into illusion. Keep off!

 11. Specialize On Topics

Pick those easy or interesting topics on your side and do 100% specialization. What made me a guru in mathematics was the ability to specialize in those topics I was finding easier and in any exam, starting with them to boost my morale. E.g. Differentiation, probability, navigation, indices, integration and waves were done deals in my form three and four years. I mean I was a real specialist in some topics. However this does not necessarily mean that you shun from reading other topics

12. Prepare Well before Exams (Seek Peace/Pray/Cut Contacts with Your Past Failures/Avoid Grudges)

Before sitting on any math paper, make sure you have peace of mind. Forget those harsh exchanges with your pals, rude shocks from partners or that unfamiliar tipping part of your adolescent life. Beef or beefing with friends, partners is part and parcel of life and that is why even Jesus himself attracted a sea of humanity as enemies. To overcome these challenges, do as Jesus did- Die (forget) only to rise up on the third day and do your exams. Period!

13. Compete In Your Own Capacity (Personal Best) Then Aim to Compete With World Records Holders

Don’t compete with the best before you compete on your personal best. Try to break your personal record and award yourself a present in your achievements. A present can be- giving yourself a day off from looking at the books or treating yourself with a math revision book from your pocket money. This will motivate you further, at the same time you have responsibly started building a foundation of leadership skills. After all if you can’t manage yourself, who do you think you are to manage others?

14. Don’t Imitate What Others Do but Get the Best from Them and Draft Your Own Working Formula

Don’t try to be me. I am unique in my own capacity just as you are, as long as some people are viewed as role models, never imitate what they usually do but get the best practices from them and add to the already good ones you possess, therein working out a formula on how to be better than them-not like them. Remember ‘the prettiest flowers are only found on those trees with deadly thorns’

15. Track Your Events- Use Flow Charts to Track Your Performance/ Write down Every Challenge You Face Then Air Your Views with Your Teacher/Guardian/Close Friends

Never progress unnoticed, scheme your activities with a pen and paper then record them. You will use these ideologies in future to build a strong progressive character. Use charts to compare your past score and present scores and find out why you improved or dwindled then work on any weaknesses spotted.

16. Punish Yourself If You Default Your Personal Timetable

A punishment to remind you of the need to stick to your goals

It doesn't matter how slow you move, so as long as you don't stop


Atika M Nyamoti is an IT Teacher at Gatitu Secondary/website developer and Director @ a website source plant for KCSE and KCPE revision past papers, district MOCKS, Notes, eBooks, Science and computers projects, Schemes of work and other office templates.