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A MIND FOR NUMBERS: HOW TO EXCEL AT

MATH AND SCIENCE


Ch.2 Easy does it
focused v. diffused thinking
Einstellung effect-when you get stuck on a problem or concept due to
initially focusing on the wrong thing
take a walk, drive, sleep to go to diffuse thinking
check out youtube, read the book, google it because phrasing
something differently can make your mind look at the problem
differently
Ch.3 Learning is creating
being awake creates a buildup of toxins in your brain -> sleep gets rid
of these because the brain cells shrink and allow fluid to pass thru and
wash out the toxins therefore sleep is vital
procrastination does not allow for both focused and diffused thinking
spaced repetition-puts things into your long term memory
diffuse activities
o meditate
o draw
o listen to music
o walk/gym
o dance
o sleep
o talk to friends
o TV
Ch.4

Chunking and avoiding illusions of competence


facts -> concept -> application
simple recall helps chunking
incorporate into real life every day
switch up where you study
spread X across several days instead of X all day 1 and Y all day 2
know when and how to use a technique (how would I know how to do
this problem if it were on the test?)
o set up a flashcard
o question on front
o question with solution on the back
studying time
o review lecture notes

o rework example problems


o work assigned homework and practice exams
Ch.5 Preventing procrastination
we procrastinate about things that make us uncomfortable but the
better you get, the more youll enjoy it
consider short term vs. long term
Ch.6 Zombies Everywhere
the progress of habits
o 1) cue-location/time/something that just happened
o 2) routine
o 3) reward
o 4) belief
change a habit by responding differently to a cue
rewards and belief that you can achieve will make the change longlasting
use mental contrasting as motivation
Ch.7 Chunking vs. choking
chunking-integrating a concept into one smoothly connected neural
thought pattern
o 1) work key problem all the way through
o 2) do another repetition
o 3) take a diffuse break
o 4) repeat
retrieval > highlighting
Ch.8 Tools, tips, and tricks
reframe your focus
o ex) when waking up early, think about how good breakfast will be
instead of how tired you are
mental contrasting-imagining your bright future then compare it to
where you are now
it is normal to have negative feelings when you start workingits how
you handle it!
o 1) acknowledge the feeling and where its coming from
o 2) let it pass through you then let it go
change distant deadlines to daily ones
eat the frog
plan out playtime
online calendar + paper to-do
studying process
o 1) do all the odd problems in a section

o 2) let the problems marinate


o 3) make sheets with all important concepts and an example of
each problem you want
o 4) before the exam, be able to list everything on your sheets:
subjects, types of problems in that section, and the techniques
Ch.9 More memory tips
pretend you are the concept you are trying to understand
metaphors are very helpful because it makes a connection to preexisting neural structures
o create a memorable image
talk to yourself
stores help retain
exercise grows neurons
Ch.12 Learning to appreciate your talent
There are only two ways to live your life one as though nothing is a
miracle. The other is as if everything is.
Ch.13 Sculpting your brain
myelin sheaths often dont finish developing until the 20s which is why
teens have trouble controlling impulses
Santiago Ramon y Cajal
o artist who hated math
o became father of neuroscience
o Nobel prize winner
Ch. 14 Developing the minds eye through equation poems
What, after all, is mathematics but the poetry of the mind, and what is
poetry but the mathematics of the heart? David Smith
Santiago pretended the microscopic images had living breathing
creatures within them
o bring abstract things to life by getting to know them
Ch. 17 Test taking
homework
o did you make a serious effort to understand the text?
o did you check your solutions?
test prep
o did you consult with the professor when you were having trouble
with something?
o did you understand ALL of your homework problems?
o did you go through the study guide and convince yourself you
could do everything on it?

o did you outline the problems?


o did you attend the review session?
o did you get reasonable sleep?
if nervous, take deep breaths (7-7-7)
when possible, blink and shift your attention, then go back with a big
picture perspective
hard-start-jump-to-easy technique
o start with the hardest problem (near the back)
o pull away after 1-2 minutes if you get stuck
o go back to easy problems