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House of Math blog post authorMuhammad Haris · 

How to Plan Your Studies

There is often a lot of focus on planning your studies right before the exams or during them, but what about the rest of the year? How do you maintain a healthy balance throughout the year? How do you balance a job with your studies? How do you balance homework, projects, school clubs and hobbies with your study? Let us take a look.

Schedule

Often the most productive students have a very clear idea of what their day is going to look like through hourly scheduling of each activity. Make a list of everything that needs to get done through the day. Dedicate a reasonable number of hours to each activity and prioritize them based on their respective importance. Consider using a scheduling app or a calendar. Choose one that can synchronize with your email and between your phone and computer for easier scheduling.

Organize

Start with creating a designated workspace and a study space. Learning should be done in a comfortable and safe environment. Try to use a study desk in a separate space. Remove any clutter from your place of study. Organize your books, notes and projects along with your room. A lot of moving pieces are involved especially when balancing your job with study and losing an item at a crucial moment can be critical. For example, what if you can’t find the keys right before the job time? Or can’t find the calculator or your bag before the exam? See how small things make a huge difference?

Homework/ Projects

As studies get more advanced, homework requires more time. Add that to the school projects and reports/papers and you have got yourself in a difficult situation. So how do you soar through this situation?

Prioritize

Start with prioritizing what needs the most work. Have to complete a project? Do not rely on the days before deadlines to complete the project. Realize the importance of each task. For example, say that a teacher gives you a report to write and tells you that it will be graded the next day, and another teacher gives you some material to read. What would be the course of action here? In this case, the report should be prioritized.

WBS

Project managers use a technique called creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) to overcome complex projects on time. This starts with breaking down the project into small yet achievable tasks, all working towards a larger goal called milestone. Multiple milestones come one after another to get to the final project. Milestones can work in parallel for faster completion. Consider dividing the team into smaller teams and assigning a milestone to each sub-team for completion of projects before deadlines.

Study Tools

Flexibility is a positive aspect that comes with modern study practice. Consider using online study tools such as online lectures, mentor on demand and visual aids to make up for any loss of study. Online tools help you study on your own terms which would not be possible a few years back.

Job Balance

With advancing studies, some students like to get a sense of independence or simply try to earn some extra money through a part time job. Getting a part time job helps you get an idea of what to expect after you graduate. But it is easy to get too much involved in your job life which might adversely affect your studies. How do you balance your day job with studies?

Holidays

Remember that you are only human and that it is okay to make mistakes.  Times will come when you might over-commit to your job. During these times, use your weekends and holidays to make up for the lost studies during the weekdays. It’s also important to take breaks from both school and work.

Hobbies

Many of us have been in situations where the pressure and stress of study or job burdens over the joy of hobbies. Even when you do get some time off, the mental stress takes the enjoyment out of your hobby. So how do you balance it? Start with realizing the importance of your hobby. Your hobby is a source of joy and an escape from what could be a stressful everyday life. Consider it as an essential break without which your overall performance can decrease in quality. Make sure to dedicate some time to your hobby in your schedule and prioritize it.

Consider a productive hobby such as gardening which makes you work in fresh air ultimately aiding your health or going to the gym. Try mental hobbies such as chess or Sudoku which sharpens your mind.

Sleep

One of the dilemmas the modern world faces is sleep deprivation. This is often caused by people scrolling on their phones right before going to sleep. Try using a blue light filter for your screen which has been scientifically proven to reduce sleep loss due to screen time. Try using apps to reduce screen times. Take a break from social media and consider turning off the notification during the night time hours. It’s also possible to implement a rule that you don’t touch your phone the first and last 30 minutes of the day. Try it out and see if it makes a difference!

Thinking woman planning in her notebooks

House of Math blog post authorJohan Holst · 

5 Fun Math Games

Practicing math for hours can be tiresome, luckily, the understanding of mathematics does not only increase by sitting in front of a book and doing exercises. There are many games and activities that make learning even more fun, and can be a nice break after a long day at school! Here are 5 fun math games!

The Multiplication Game

House of Math’s very own multiplication game! This game tests your multiplication skills. It’s about fast thinking and quick responses. Compete with your friends in solving 100 multiplications in the shortest amount of time.

Math Trail (outdoor)

  1. Mark a trail outdoors with a band, chalk or similar.
  2. Place familiar objects, for instance, cones, bottles, or reflexes.
  3. Each person competing walks through the trail and counts the placed objects.
  4. The person who gets closest to guessing the correct number of objects wins.

This game is about being creative. Place objects in trees and put objects beside each other. By setting a time limit you can make the game even harder.

Math Bingo

  • Each player has a board consisting of a three-by-three grid.
  • Write a number between 1 and 12 in each field.
  • Throw 2 dice by turn. Each player chooses whether to add or subtract the numbers.
  • Place a piece of choice on the number you get. If you do not have the number, the turn moves to the next player.
  • The first player to get 3 pieces in a row has BINGO.

Math-orientation

  • Participants receive a map over a restricted area.
  • Mark separate posts on the map.
  • Place tasks on the separate posts.
  • A wrong answer will be penalized with time, for instance, 10 or 20 seconds.

This is a fun game in which the participants get to do math while they are in motion. You can find examples for puzzles here.

Minute Path

  • Mark a trail about 200 meters.
  • The participant’s goal is to walk the trail in 1 minute.
  • What is the speed in m/s?

200 meters takes about 1 minute to complete at regular walking speed.

You can mark the different trails with separate times. You can also walk the trail a second time to try to hit your previous time. The participant who gets closest to 1 minute wins the first round. The participant who gets closest to their previous time wins the second round.

Little girl playing hopscotch outside

House of Math blog post authorÅsta Nybø · 

How to Use the Portal?

On House of Math’s math portal, you will find everything you need regarding math, completely free! You can easily create a user, which grants you the possibility of exploring the Portal. Learning while using the Portal is both fun and entertaining. Experience the feeling of accomplishment through interactive tasks, playing with friends, or by asking one of our mentors a question. The Portal is built with the intention of getting the things you need in the right order. You decide! Navigate by using the menu located on the left side of the dashboard.

Get a Full Overview with Bootcamps

Bootcamps are interactive sets of tasks with animations that are set on different difficulty levels. Get to know the basics of math in a fun and effective way. Each Bootcamp contains 3 sections: Why, how, and interactive activities.

An Encyclopedia Customized to Your Needs

The encyclopedia provides you with everything, all in one place. The encyclopedia contains separate categories such as, “numbers and measuring” and “algebra”, which are further divided into multiple subcategories. If you are searching for something specific, use the search bar located at the top of the page. Help is easily found regardless of the topic. Each theme is explained with rule-boxes and followed by examples. The encyclopedia is genius when practicing for tests or exams, but also at other times to get a better understanding of a certain theme.

Math Essentials

Practice makes perfect! Math Essentials are located in the portal and will provide you with everything you need to succeed in math. Math Essentials contain rules, examples, and tasks based on math curriculums followed by task-answers. Start by working through the easiest tasks and proceed further when you feel confident enough to do so. Math Essentials is a great way of getting through the curriculum, in addition to being a super way to practice.

Study Tips and Problem Solving

The curriculum can seem overwhelming at times. How do I consume the whole curriculum? The Portal offers several tips and tricks for exams, studying, and problem-solving. An effective study-technique grants you a higher level of learning and understanding, as well as better memorization of the topic. A mind map is a perfect tool to get a full overview of the curriculum. Read our recipe on how to make a mind map. Problem-solving is helpful when facing a mathematical problem, and here are some strategies to use when you are stuck. The tips are both for preparation, and what to prioritize on the day of the exam.

Interactive Quiz

The majority of us know our level of competence in themes to some extent, but it can be difficult to place yourself on a specific level. The Portal Quizzes will map your level of competence in math.

Mentor-On-Demand

Do you have a question, or are you stuck with tasks? House of Math offers a free chat where you can chat with a mentor to get answers on theory or a specific question. Book a short 15-minute video chat with a mentor if you need help or guidance. If you seek additional help, you can easily book a private lesson with a teacher.

Young thinking student and the math woman with the math game

House of Math blog post authorGeorg Hove Zimmer · 

Choosing What to Study

Are you considering getting a higher education? There are hundreds of options when choosing a course of study, and it can be difficult to choose the right one. Some know what they want to do several years before they start their education, while others are still uncertain when it is about to begin. It is important to acquire information about your opportunities either way. Here are some tips on how to proceed when choosing a course of study.

What can I rule out?

The great number of opportunities can be frightening. Eliminating certain fields that do not fit your preferences and needs can be a good way to start. In the beginning, this is often easier than finding the most relevant fields of study. The opportunities suddenly appear less overwhelming, and you can then focus on the relevant studies.

What is of interest, and what are you good at?

Firstly, you should think about your interests. What appears exciting, fun, or motivating? Does a specific field of study appeal more, such as economics or IT? Different fields of study often contain several courses and job possibilities, so choosing a field of study is a step in the right direction. Furthermore, it is important to think about which fields of work seem interesting, without having to be determined on a specific job. The courses that seem interesting can lead you towards fields of work in which you can thrive.

It can also be smart to think about your skills and knowledge - what are you good at? This does not mean that you must know lots about what you choose to study. On the contrary, The point of studying is to prepare for work and the things that are relevant within the different fields of work. A way of mapping what you want to do is to look at the subjects you chose in high school. By looking at these you can determine which ones that are interesting enough to proceed further with. If you chose science in high school and find science-related courses interesting, you can narrow down your search to a few courses where you can utilize your knowledge within that area.

Ask others!

If you find it hard to choose a field of study, asking others can be a clever choice. Friends and family know what you are good at, and what your interests are. Therefore, they can help you find the choice that fits you, even if you do not see it yourself. This can help you find the right field of study and the right field of work. There are also several interest-based tests on the internet that can help make the right choice.

Do I qualify?

Some courses have additional requirements besides grades. Some courses require certain courses related to mathematics and natural sciences, for example. When choosing courses you find interesting, checking if you qualify is important. Nonetheless, the subjects you chose in high school do not have to determine which courses you can apply to. If you do not qualify with the subjects you took at high school, there are still plenty of options. Some universities offer pre-courses for you to obtain the necessary knowledge to take the course. Another option is to take the necessary subjects after high school. House of math can help you with this.

What job opportunities does the degree give?

Both before and after you decide which studies could be interesting, looking at the job opportunities you have after the different studies could be a smart move, and it can potentially help you make a choice. Information about possibilities of work that the course hand is often found on the course’s webpage.

Is it possible to reconsider?

When you have decided what you want to study, knowing that you can reconsider is important. Having plans for your whole life at this point is not required nor common. It is common to change field of study, and numerous people notice at some point that the course they chose was not as expected. Finding an exciting course that motivates you is the most important thing. The rest will appear along the way!


Young girl uncertain about what to study

House of Math blog post authorMuhammad Haris · 

How the Pandemic Has Changed the Way We Learn

The past two years have changed the way humans interact with others. Human interaction was and always will be an essential part of learning experience. Learning from pre-school to university has been reshaped from bottom up due to the global pandemic. When the pandemic hit, the world came to a halt so did everything associated with it. Markets? Closed. Community centers? Closed. Schools, Universities? Closed. But the world did not stop. We humans have a wonderful tendency to adapt to difficult situations and this time was no different. So we molded the new social distance norms in our lives. And learning was no different. Let us take a look at how learning continued when everything else stopped.

Remote Learning

School through screens is the most obvious addition to the education system due to pandemic. The inability of humans to come in contact with each other during the initial stages of pandemic was a golden opportunity for remote meeting apps like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Students could learn in the comfort of their homes by holding the source of all learning in their hands. Sounds perfect right? No need to wait for the bus, long commute times and maybe a little extra sleep. But like everything else, it had pros and cons. Let us take a look at some of the issues associated with purely remote learning.

Distractions

Screens come with distractions, whether it’s a short YouTube break or a quick video game round, it became very easy to get distracted with no one to keep a constant eye on a student's attention; minutes can turn into hours.

Lack of Interaction

Sitting in a class has its perks of learning. The interactive session between the teacher and student helps the student better understand concepts of study. The online mode of study lacks this interactive environment.

Lack of Training

With the advent of new modes of learning, little or no training had been provided to teachers which led to long adaptation time resulting in confusion and wastage of time. Timely completion of syllabus was a major issue since the teachers and students needed time to get accustomed to the new mode of learning.

Hybrid Learning

With things returning to normal, learning is not shifting completely back to what was previously considered normal. Rather the lessons we learned from remote learning led the world to consider a separate path of learning called the hybrid mode- a combination of remote and classroom learning. Some would call this the new normal. A number of advantages are associated with the new normal. Let’s take a look.

No More Missed Classes

Imagine that you really want to take today’s class but happen to be sick. In the old system you would have no choice but to miss the class. But with the new normal, chances are that the class is also recorded along with conducting it physically. If the teacher is not available any day for some reason, they can simply record the class and send it to students or take it online.

Online Mentors

Although online mentoring existed before the pandemic, its demand really skyrocketed during the pandemic due to the problems associated with purely remote classes as mentioned previously. Say that you were not able to completely understand a concept in a remote class.  Now you can simply hire a mentor who would assist you to gain a better understanding of the concept eluding you.

Visual Learning

The world was moving towards digital classrooms even before the pandemic but the lack of training and motivation resulted in slow progress. After mastering remote learning, tackling a digital classroom is no more an issue for teachers. Moreover, digital classrooms are becoming a necessity for post-pandemic curriculum. You’ll see more and more projectors, digital boards and laptops in classrooms which aid not only in improved learning experience but also opens the students to a new realm of understanding with better visualization of concepts.

Better Homework Practices

With the trend of infusing digital media into the education system on the rise; better homework practices are on the rise. Whether you use a math chat site to confirm you homework answers or using digital platforms to make advance science projects, it is clear that newer homework practices are the new norm and help students gain a better insight on correlating their theoretical knowledge with practical life.

What’s In Store for the Future?

Now one can say for sure what lies in store for the learning system nest but one thing is for sure; once the genie is out of the bottle; there is no going back. The digital mode of education is here to stay. The pandemic has led us to a better mode of learning which is more inclusive, more efficient and flexible.

Student participating in an online class

House of Math blog post authorSondre Burud · 

From Pupil to Student

Back to school! A new school, perhaps a new city, and hopefully your preferred course of study. You will have to adapt to a different type of weekday. You probably spent the last year doing military service, having a relaxing gap year, or attending high school. In any case, here are some tips on how to become a successful student.

Create a Schedule

Structuring your days could have a massive effect on your ability to succeed in an exam. Having routines is crucial to maintaining a healthy work-life balance during stressful weekdays. Start your days early, read the curriculum, and be prepared for lectures. Create a study plan. Whereas high school had structured days, your new weekday will be at your disposal with few lectures. Therefore, having a clear structure for this period could be very helpful. A smart tip is to focus on one subject at a time, primarily the subject that is closest to a lecture. Make time for fun or social activities occasionally, whether this involves training, hanging with friends, or enjoying a relaxing movie night. Maintaining your well-being while focusing on school is important, hence why you should take a break occasionally.

Academic Writing

The first weeks will involve hearing a lot about academic writing. This will become the expected way of writing during handins and exams. Academic writing should be objective, clear and concise. It can be wise to read up on how to produce an academic text of high quality.

Create a Budget

Being a student requires big economical responsibility. After rent, electrical bill, phone bill, and other fixed expenses are paid, you are left with limited funds for the rest of the month. To keep track of your economic situation, we recommend creating a budget. Include approximate spending on different categories such as food, transport, and fun. Finding a part-time job could be smart to obtain additional funds. A part-time job provides an additional source of income which grants you more economic freedom. Note that a part-time job could be challenging while also being time-consuming. Consequently, a majority choose to solely focus on studies.

The transition from pupil to a self-propelled student can seem overwhelming and having control from the start is almost impossible. Adapting to routines and a new lifestyle takes time. In addition, you are supposed to find friends and integrate yourself into a student environment. You will likely encounter problems, challenges, and difficult periods. Nonetheless, the good memories are what you are left with at the end. Take it easy, and the transition will pass with ease. Take a look at our website for additional study tips!


Five students walking around with books on university campus

House of Math blog post authorGeorg Hove Zimmer · 

What to Do When Your Child Refuses to Do Homework?

Many parents will experience at one time or another that their child refuses to do their homework. It can be a boring topic, some difficult equations or for example a challenging assignment to be written in science. If you as a parent do not have the knowledge about the topic to help, it can be especially challenging to motivate the child to do homework. Here are 6 tips for when your child does not want to do their homework!

Create a Positive Learning Environment 

As a parent, creating a homework-friendly environment for your child should be a priority. To do so, it is important to have a positive attitude towards your child’s homework. A parent’s attitude towards homework affects the child’s experience when doing it. Therefore, being upset, angry, or mad rarely contributes to any progress.

Help Your Child Make Routines

Having regular routines connected to the homework situation can be valuable. The routines could involve setting up a period designated for homework and limiting screen time during this period. Regular study periods can help avoid the well-known scenario where doing homework every day seems to be a surprise. Having a regular and quiet area to do homework can be helpful in minimising distractions. This will undoubtedly help the homework process by maximizing concentration.

Feeling of Accomplishment

If your child thinks homework is boring, finding out why could be important. Is the homework too hard, or perhaps too easy? The problem could also only apply to certain subjects. Knowing these things could be smart in terms of planning which subject, to begin with. The feeling of accomplishment is very important for motivation. Therefore, the selection of which homework should be carefully considered. By doing this, you will get a better overview of your child’s knowledge of different subjects. This is important because homework is meant for practicing what you already learned in school. However, practicing something you have not learned or understood yet is hard. Therefore, using our chat where you can speak with a mentor, and get answers to short tasks could be a great habit when doing homework. The chat is completely free, and it is open 24/7.

Emphasize Effort before Achievement

It is important to emphasize effort before achievement to improve motivation – especially when giving feedback to the child. Subsequently, the child will understand that effort is important, and the work effort will most likely improve as well.

Have Fun!

Having fun is the best contributing factor in terms of motivation. Problems regarding homework are often connected to the fact that the child is bored when doing it. If your child thinks homework is boring, it can be difficult to get them motivated to do it. Therefore, it can be smart to find new ways of acquiring the same knowledge. We at House of Math offer several math games, such as the Math Vault, Bootcamp and the Multiplication Game, which makes math much more fun. This is a different way of acquiring knowledge, but it can be just as effective as regular homework.

Mentor

If you want an additional boost in motivation, a mentor can be of great help. A Mentor is a supporter that contributes to motivation and the desire to learn, as well as providing technical help. We at House of Math offer several great mentors which can help children and youth. Do you want to try it? This can be an additional boost for a limited time to regain motivation. It is motivating to succeed, and with additional practice this becomes reality. Furthermore, this will help to fill knowledge holes, in addition to getting a new view of learning over a longer period. If necessary,

a Mentor can therefore give technical help in addition to increased motivation. Read more about our mentor scheme here.

Tired and frustrated mother and child trying to do homework

House of Math blog post authorJordi Martinez · 

Note-taking Methods

We have previously written about how to improve your note-taking skills and how to balance notes with listening, which are useful articles. This article is about different methods and note-taking styles that can help you organize your notes in a useful way.

We live in an era where information is abundant  - only on the internet, there are about 40 trillion gigabytes of information - which sometimes makes the task of collecting and summarizing information very difficult. Of course, not all of it is relevant, and a lot of the information found is very similar among different sources, so being organized turns out to be crucial to succeed in the learning process; in particular, we will focus on a very powerful tool to organize all this information to our convenience: notes.

It is well known that humans are very visual beings, so learning how to make good quality notes will help our visual brains to process information effectively and efficiently, so let us introduce to you a list of well-studied methods for taking notes, so you can choose the one that suits you the best:

Cornell Method

Named after the Cornell University, this system separates the page into three sections: a wide column on the right for notes, a narrow column on the left for cues and a summary at the bottom. The main space on the right of is used to write short sentences with all the relevant information, like formulas, concepts or graphs. It is recommended the use of bullets to organize different ideas. The cues section on the left should contain comments, labels, potential exam questions or reminders and is intended to help the reader recall the main ideas. Finally, the summary section at the bottom should be used to draw conclusions and identify gaps; here you should answer the question: what have I learned from this? This method is ideal when you have the time to organize the ideas.

Outlining Method

Indentation, headings and bullets are the main tools for this method. The main titles should be written farthest to the left, in bigger letters, and then use indentation for subtopics. Use of bullets for subtopics is recommended to make it easier to read. This method works best when you have a clear idea of what the main ideas are and how they relate to each other. It has an easy-to-follow structure that requires minimal effort.

Mind Mapping

Mind maps are a very popular method for taking notes, since it is a mainly visual and graphic tool which turns out to be particularly helpful when dealing with abstract or ambiguous ideas. It works wonderfully when you need to understand relations between different ideas and the content is heavy. Begin by writing the main topic at the center of the page, and from there branch as necessary for every relevant subtopic. Color coding is recommended to make it easier to read.


Charting Method

In this method, the information is written on a table. It is recommended when the information is divided into categories (which will represent the rows or columns of the table) and very specific details are required to study, like dates, places, names, etc. Notes in this format turn out to be very easy to read and are perfect to make quick annotations of punctual facts you need to remember and to make comparisons.

Sentence Method

You might have found yourself in situations where you don’t have much time to make stylized notes or organize all the information; jotting is necessary in this situations, so the sentence method comes to the rescue. Simply write down using short sentences all the information that you consider worth to remember using a new line for each sentence, using headings to separate different topics. It is a simple but effective method ideal for heavy content and when you are in a rush.


As you can tell, each method has its own pros and cons depending on your situation, so don’t hesitate to try new methods!

Hands making a mind map

House of Math blog post authorAstrid Heimsjø · 

How to Choose Electives?

While attending high school, most get the opportunity to choose electives. Some schools offer plenty of subjects within separate fields. It may seem hard to orientate in the myriad of possibilities, and far from all have a clear plan on which subjects to choose. This article will provide tips that will hopefully make the choice easier.

What are my interests?

Before choosing an optional subject, ask yourself the question; “what are my interests?” Engagement and motivation appear more frequently while doing something of interest. Therefore, addressing subjects of interest could be a smart move. Think about previous subjects that you have found interesting. If your favorite subjects in junior year of high school were science and math, you will probably thrive with other science classes, such as physics or IT. Electives hand you a wonderful possibility of immersing in subjects of interest.

Additional Points?

As mentioned previously, you should choose electives based on your interests. Even so, there can be other factors to be aware of when making a choice. The subjects you choose will influence your GPA and your possibility of higher education. Some classes, such as advanced placement and international baccalaureate, give you additional points that boost your GPA. Therefore, you should consider this if you intend to attend a course of study with a high GPA, the extra points could be the boost you need to get the required GPA. If you have set your mind on a specific course of study, checking whether this course has any recommended prior knowledge can be smart. In fact, some courses of study require certain subjects to be able to consider your application. Information regarding this is found on the internet, or by asking your school counselor.

The Choice is Yours

Plenty of students are unsure about their future and their field of interest. When this is the case, it enhances the difficulty of choosing, and some end up choosing the same as their friends. Being with friends could give an additional motivation-boost but sometimes, taking a look at your interest will be the best option. Remember that all subjects require effort to achieve results, in addition to the high possibility of being drawn for an exam in an optional subject senior year. Therefore, being motivated and interested in the subjects you choose will be a great advantage. Firstly, you are making a choice of your own. Think about your future, your interests, and the things you find exciting. Grades are not all that matters, but remember that the grades will affect your GPA.

Deciding electives may seem difficult, but hopefully, the tips in this article will be of use. This will not be your last chance, and it is usual to be unsure when choosing electives.

Young girl uncertain about what elective to choose

House of Math blog post authorGeorg Hove Zimmer · 

How to Succeed in Precalculus

Do you think pre-calculus is hard? Are you wondering if  it’s the right choice for you? Pre-calculus contains long chapters that can seem challenging. Do not despair, here are some of House of Math’s best tips and tricks that will help you succeed and stay motivated!

Motivation

Firstly, an important step is finding out why you want to become good at math. Pre-calculus hands you several possibilities regarding courses of study! Engineering, economics, med-school, and teaching. Regardless of which field of study you may choose, or what job you want, the themes in pre-calculus will be of great use. If you want to become good at math, the motivation will appear eventually. Take a look at House of Math’s study techniques that contribute to increased motivation!

Comprehension

Cramming in math is typical for a lot of students, but math is mostly about comprehension. Precalculus is a type of math that is based on basic methods that build on each other. Algebra and equations, differentiation and integration, the unit circle, and vectors are all themes that can seem hard, but as soon as you master one, the others flow on with ease. Therefore, try to comprehend these fundamentals in mathematics! Ask questions and use designated resources to understand the concepts. Make chatting with a mentor while working on subjects that you find hard a habit. Mentor-on-demand offers the possibility of help regardless of the theme you are currently working with. Videos and explanations on the internet can be a great tool instead of just reading the book. Get the best help in math there is with a private mentor from House of Math.

Practice Makes Perfect

Math is just like any other subject, the more work you put in, the better results you achieve. The feeling of accomplishment makes almost anything fun. The same applies to math. Work with easier tasks in the beginning and move on to harder tasks after a while. Subsequently, more tasks will be finalized as you reflect on the session. If you are stuck on a topic or an exercise, a short video session with one of our mentors, or asking in our 24/7 free chat can help you move on. Our mentors are here to help you!

Resources

We are all different and prefer different learning methods. Some learn best by reading instructions, while others by seeing examples in practice. If you think your math book is huge and complicated, utilize other resources. The internet offers resources for all, regardless of your learning preferences. House of Math offers plenty of resources, and they are systematically organized for you to find those of your liking.

Gather Past Exams

You will reach far with motivation and commitment in math, but it can still be hard to achieve your preferred grade. When studying for midterms or exams, it can be tempting to do as many tasks as possible from the book. This is helpful, but we recommend doing tasks from previous exams. Exams often follow the same format, which usually differ from the exercises in school books, and many tasks are often repeated. Hence why solving tasks from previous exams is a great way of practicing for midterms or exams. Ask your teacher or search online to find past exams.

Filling Learning Gaps

Have you ever felt overwhelmed after a few months of the semester? It happens to the best of us, and it is smart to get an overview of the curriculum and what you are supposed to learn. Take a look at the curriculum and try to complete a few tasks from each theme, preferably exam tasks if you feel confident enough. Work through the curriculum and get an overview of your knowledge gaps and how to fill them. Make it a habit to have House of Math’s 24/7 chat open when working on difficult topics. In other words, there are many great resources and aids only a keystroke away regardless of your location. Repeat exercises to make the technique flow with ease. If you still struggle, scheduling a few private lessons before a big test will be of great use. This builds practice routines that are customized to you and ensure that you get the necessary help. The key to succeed at math is to solve plenty of tasks, and especially the right tasks! Utilize short video chats with mentors to solve tasks at the moment and schedule a private mentor to personalize clear lessons.

Young woman looking at precalculus math problem on blackboard

House of Math blog post authorJohan Holst · 

Why Take STEM Classes?

The acronym STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math and refers to the subjects related to any of the four fields. It can be difficult to choose a field of study, so trying out different directions is clever. Taking classes within the STEM-fields can give you a solid foundation for further education, and may point you in the direction you want to go. We will just use the term science further on in this article.

Relevancy

The science field has never been more relevant. Almost all fields of work contain digitalization of services and the development of technology. Whether your interests are climate, environment, finance, food production, energy, or health,  science will be a huge part of future solutions. These are just some of the fields you can work in if you choose this path. Choosing science is a great base if you would like to work on future solutions.

Job Opportunities

An education in science will grant you several possibilities for work. Choosing science will provide you with a versatile and wide level of competence which is sought in the labor market. Competence in Physics, math, informatics, and programming is already extremely sought after. No one knows what the labor market will look like in 10-20 years, but with an education within science, you will be prepared for an ever-changing labor market.

Find Your Inner Problem Solver

Science is about problem-solving. An education in science grants you the possibility of solving complex issues. Finding a cure for dementia, solving energy problems in big cities, developing new communication devices, sustainable recovery of natural resources, or preventing cyber-attacks are just some of the issues you may face. Do you perhaps dream of starting something on your own? When studying science, you get to know your inner problem-solver, and you will establish a great base for solving future issues.

Science can also be a smart choice in high school. Plenty of courses require certain science classes from high school. Med-school, architecture, and engineering are some of the courses that require science, and other courses recommend some form of knowledge in science and technology. Consequently, choosing science classes in high school could be a smart choice.

If you need help with science, visit House of Math, we offer mentors you can speak with, or schedule private lessons with.

Happy teenage boy in labcoat looking at teacher of natural sciences

House of Math blog post authorMuhammad Haris · 

​​How to Balance Listening with Notes

You sit in class and take notes while the teacher explains a concept. You turn your head down to take notes for one minute and as soon as you look up; the teacher is already at another topic. Has this ever happened to you? Unless you have very effective writing skills in addition to being an outstanding multitasker, you have most likely been in a similar situation.

How can you then balance between noting and listening so that the notes are readable in addition to you understanding the concept that is being explained? Let's look at some strategies.

Use Smaller Sentences

Use Smaller (Alternate) Words

You do not need to write the exact words that the teacher speaks. Use synonyms will lesser alphabet count. For example, if the teacher uses the word “humongous”, simply write “large” or “big”. Or if they say “commence” write “start”.

Eliminate Words

When you are making notes, try to compress your sentences by eliminating any words that might not be necessary for you to understand the notes when you read them later. For example, say that the teacher explains to you that: “A paramecium is the smallest unicellular (containing only one cell) living organism that can move, digest food and reproduce - and can be seen with the naked eye.” Now you can imagine it takes way longer to write this down than to say it. You can jot it down as: “Paramecium is smallest unicellular living organism- can move, digest, reproduce and seen through naked eye.” See how the sentence will still make sense for you when read it later.

Use Acronyms/Abbreviations

An acronym is a word or name formed from the initial components of a longer name or phrase. Usually acronym is made of the initial letters of a group of words. For example, say that you are studying astronomy and the teacher uses the words “National Aeronautics and Space Administration”, well you simply write “NASA” or write “RADAR” instead of “Radio Detection and Ranging”.

An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word. Abbreviations are one of the simplest way to reduce the sentence size. For example, use “e.g.” for “example”, “i.e.” for “that is”, “no.” for “number” and “para” for “paragraphs”. Yourdictionary provides an extensive list of commonly used abbreviations.

Use Symbols

Symbol is the smallest possible representation of a word. Some examples are:

Table of symbols and their meanings

Note Only What Is Important

It is not necessary to write everything said by the teacher. Try to figure out what might not be of importance when you are going to read the notes later. For example, say the teacher says that the next topic is not important for the exam but is only taught for the sake of knowledge. Instead of making notes, listen it carefully if you are interested in the topic. Otherwise, you can use this time to catch up on notes that you might have previously missed.

Use Concept Maps

Concept maps are a visual representations of information. Some examples of concept maps are: tables, pie charts, T-Charts and timelines. Instead of using long paragraphs, try to use concept maps to decrease the note making time.

For example, say you are learning the classification of living organisms. Instead of writing one large paragraph make a map of categories along with the different examples of each category.  Let us take a look how.

Here is a concept map of diet-based classification of animals often taught in biology:

Concept map of animals

Use Slides

With the use of digital media in classrooms on the rise, chances are that your classroom has a multi-media projector system and the teacher uses slides to convey the information to use. Instead of writing down what’s on the slides, ask your teacher for the slides. You can consider them as pre-made partial notes from which you can study later. Only note down what the teacher speaks and is not mentioned on the slides.  This way you save time and in doing so help the environment by saving paper.

Be a Good Listener

You cannot be a good student without being a good listener. Humans are not well known for their ability to multitask. So when you are listening, try your best to be a good listener. Here are a few tips to be a good listener while in class:

1. Sit close to the teacher.

2. Make conscious effort to concentrate towards what the teacher is saying.

3. Avoid distractions by putting your phone on silent mode.

4. Discuss with the teacher rather than just listen.

5. Ask for examples.

Use you Devices

With the advent of remote learning and hybrid learning, balancing notes and listening has become much easier through the use of digital devices. For example, if you are learning in an online class, simply record the class for note making and listen to the teacher only in the live session. This gives you the opportunity to divert your complete attention towards the speaker.

If you are in hybrid mode of learning then you can ask the teacher to record the session and again make notes at a later stage. Lastly, if you are in a face to face class, consider using a laptop to make notes if you are a fast typist. Otherwise take picture of the white-board after the teacher is done writing but make sure to label these notes as it is easy to get them jumbled up and lost in your phone gallery.

Common Mistakes

It is not possible to become a good listener and note taker in a matter of small time. It requires a lot of practice. But, to make things easier, try to avoid these common mistakes observed during class.

1. Don’t have discussions with friends during the class.

2. Don’t pay attention to lecturer’s appearance.

3. Don’t stop taking notes or listening till the class has ended.

4. Don’t get slowed down if you missed a concept. Ask the teacher or a mentor after the class.

5. Don’t forget to take a break when the teacher has stopped.

Boy and girl sitting in class taking notes

House of Math blog post authorAstrid Heimsjø · 

Techniques to Help You Avoid Distractions While Studying

If you are a student, you have probably experienced that studying often takes much more time than planned. It is easy to get distracted by noises, other people and especially phones and social media. This can be very frustrating and lead to unnecessary time spent on studying, and less time for other activities. Fortunately, there are different techniques to help you avoid distraction, and this article provides some useful tips.

Put your Phone Away

Phones and social media are well known time thieves and scrolling through Instagram or TikTok seems tempting when we get bored. So how do we manage to not check our phones when studying gets difficult or boring? The most obvious solution is to put your phone in a different room and turn it on silent. In this way, checking your phone requires more effort. Other measures that make the threshold for checking your phone a little higher could have a good effect. Many students use the app Hold that gives you points you can exchange in gift cards as a prize for not checking your phone. Such tools can make leaving your phone alone a little easier, but essentially the key is to resist the temptation to check your phone.

Pomodoro Technique

Studying often seems more manageable when it´s only for a short time period. Therefore, a good idea is to decide to study for a defined time period followed by a short break. The Pomodoro technique is built on this idea. You set a timer for 25 minutes, and work until the time is up before you take a 5-minute break. After having repeated this, you take a longer break. This technique forces you to remember taking breaks, which makes you concentrate better when you start studying again. The technique can be customized if you prefer studying for shorter or longer periods.

Quiet Environment

Your study space should give you enough peace and quiet to fully concentrate. Try not to expose yourself to distractions like fellow students, visual impressions, traffic, or other disturbance. Try to find a quiet space, where nothing more interesting than your studies is going on. A noise-cancelling headset is a good alternative if you don't have access to a quiet study space.
There are several steps that will help minimize distractions that prevents you from studying efficiently. As you get into good habits, you lay a solid foundation for your future as both a student and an employee!

Distracted boy playing with his cat instead of doing schoolwork

House of Math blog post authorÅsta Nybø · 

Private Math Help

Homework in math can seem challenging at times, both for students, and for parents that try to help. Several parents experience frustration and discussions when encouraging their children to do the homework. A mentor at House of Math could make this part of each week easier.

At House of Math, you can book a qualified mentor and set up a digital meeting. This is a tailored way of mentoring made for effective learning. Our mentors have solid knowledge and a great way of dissemination.

Private lessons in familiar surroundings build a safe learning environment. Private lessons with a mentor are an important contributor to making regular routines on hectic weekdays. Regular routines for homework can contribute to higher motivation. These routines could also lead to the child doing extra work before the next lesson. You can customize your lessons with a few simple steps. We at House of Math will find you a mentor based on your goals and needs. You will choose the day and time of the lesson, in addition to language and the mentor’s personality traits. Lessons will be customized regardless of age, level of grade, and subject.


Happy teacher and girl writing on the blackboard

House of Math blog post authorLouis Aucamp · 

Effective Reading Techniques

Reading is a skill that we mostly take for granted, yet we are so conditioned that we automatically read messages and snippets that come to our attention. As a student you have to do a lot of reading. Everything from reports, textbooks and lecture notes to web pages and online material. Effective reading techniques can help you save time, retain more of the relevant information and retrieve and present it in required formats.

Reading is a complex process and is controlled by different parts of our brains. The frontal lobe is responsible for speech, reading, fluency, grammar, and comprehension. It makes it possible for us to understand simple and complex grammar. The temporal lobe directs our ability to discriminate between individual sounds and turn them into words. The angular gyrus acts as a unifier to tie all the other functions together. Through our understanding of how the brain functions we can address many of the severe communication malfunctions such as dyslexia.

To help you improve your reading and retention skills, we have compiled a short description of different techniques and methods for your convenience.

Scanning

When you run your eyes over the whole text to find something such as a name or key word it is called scanning. You employ this technique many times in a day, usually for simple non academic purposes. Examples of scanning include news articles, index lists, prefaces to books etc.

Skimming

Use this technique for getting the meaning of the whole text. It is almost the same as scanning but we read in a bit more detail, looking for the important points in the text. We generally use this technique at the time of reading a newspaper or magazine.

Under this technique, we read quickly to get the main points and skip over the details. It works best when you are already familiar with the general content of the text. Skim material before doing more intensive further reading. A first glance at how the text is laid out will help you to find key information on the further reading. Skimming can be used for reading reviews, a speech, quick research, last minute exam reviews, and so on.

It will save you time by making you aware of the important points without fully reading the entire text.

Active Reading

You get an in-depth understanding of the text through active reading. You should use this when you are reading something that you need to think critically about or something complex. Active reading consists of asking yourself questions throughout the text, and reflecting on those questions. You must relate what you are reading to previous experience and knowledge, as well as taking notes. Using this technique, the reader must be actively involved with the text while reading it, and interact with the text. Use active reading with material you need to know well and new unknown text.

Detailed Reading

Detailed reading is the most time consuming and intensive technique. You must carefully read, absorb, and investigate each word for meaning. You skim the text first to get a general idea and then go back to read it in detail. Use a dictionary and thesaurus to understand the meaning of every word. We use this technique to extract accurate information from the whole text. You have to read every word to understand the meaning and provide a deeper understanding. Use this technique for detailed research reports and articles and textbooks.

Speed Reading

In speed-reading you have to combine various reading methods. Speed-reading aims to increase the reading speed without making it difficult to understand the meaning of the text that is being read. You use the following strategies in speed reading:

· Use scanning on small sections.

· If something gets your attention, switch from scanning to skimming on small sections.

· Use a pointer to identify each word but move the pointer under the word at a faster pace than what you normally read.

· Read the first and last sentence of every paragraph and skim in between.

· Identify words without focussing on each letter.

· Do not say all words even softly.

· Spend less time on the less important phrases

· Try not to read out loud in your head while reading.

· Allow the muscles of your eyes to relax.

· Ask questions about the text before you read.

· Concentrate on your reading and do not become distracted by other tasks.

· Cover words that you have already read.

· Teach yourself to keep eye movements steady. Concentrate on reading down the center of the page.

Structure-Proposition-Evaluation Reading

This technique was developed by Mortimer Adler in a book called “How to Read a Book” published in 1940. He advocated that you find the structure, the propositions of the author and then create your own evaluation.

This method is very applicable to non-fiction writing. To use this method you should:

· Study and find the structure of the book. Look at chapter headings, in dices and other groupings.

· Study the logic and planning of the author and how-the material is grouped and organized to support the reasoning of the writer.

· Evaluate all the conclusions and arguments and form your own opinion.

Survey-Question-Read-Recite-Review (SQ3R)

This method was developed in 1946 by Francis P. Robinson in his book “Effective Study”. It offers a more efficient and active approach to reading textbooks and other study material.

To utilize the reading technique, you must go through the following steps:

· Survey – Get an overview of the work. Review headings, subheadings, and content groupings. Read the introduction and summary.

· Question – Prepare questions on the work and try to answer them as you read the text. Some may be general but others must be more targeted to specific areas of how this knowledge will be useful for your purposes.

· Read – Use active and detailed reading to understand and internalize the text.

· Recite – Describe to yourself what you have read. Try to recall everything in your own words.

· Review – Return to the material and see if you can answer the questions that you generated before in the same way.

Reading Web Pages

Although there is an infinite number of web page layouts, they all have some elements in common. These are the main content, ads on the side, above or below, some sort of a navigation bar and a search function. By identifying the main parts you can quickly find the information that you are looking for.

Here are some tips for navigating a web page efficiently:

· Make sure that you locate the main content. It is usually the most important part of the page but on some pages you may have to scroll down or sideways to find it.

· Check that you are on the web page that you are looking for. If you do not see any information that seems relevant, use the navigation bar or search box to find the relevant page. If not, use a search engine to find other websites.

· Do not read everything. Skim the page to find what you are interested in. Use the speed reading techniques to read faster.

· Utilize headings to skim the page. Most articles have a heading at the beginning of each section. If the heading is not relevant, scroll down to the next heading.

· If you know exactly what you are looking for, hold down Ctrl+F (or Cmd + F on a Mac) to open the Find toolbar where you can type the word or phrase that you are looking for.

We hope that this short article will help you to improve your reading skills and make it easier to study.


Little girl sitting on a mountain of books

House of Math blog post authorMuhammad Haris · 

How to Tackle the Exam Period

The exam period is here. The last barrier of the semester before you can take a well deserved break. The period leading up to the exam can be stressful. Have you practiced enough? Do you know the curriculum as well as you should? It can be difficult to keep up the motivation and keep your stress levels down. So how do you minimize this stress and tackle your exam days? We have come up with a list of steps that you can follow to get the best out of exam days. Let us take a look.

Steady Pace

“Slow and steady wins the race”. It is widely accepted that the best way to tackle exams is to maintain a steady pace over the course of a complete academic year rather than relying solely on the exam days to study. Try to find a balance between co-curriculum and studies in daily life to prepare you for the exams even if they are far. This gives you a sense of confidence which goes a long way.

Organize

First things first. Exams are here and so is the exam stress. So what do you do? Organize. Organize your study material, study space, your schedule and your priorities. Tidy surroundings can give you calmness to perform better.

Study Material and Space

If you have taken good, structured notes throughout the semester, then you’ve already done a lot of the work. Otherwise, separate notes of relevant subjects and avoid any clutter. This gives you a clear sense of what is required to be done in the given time. Clean up your study desk and ensure that you don’t need to get up time after time to break focus.

Want to learn how to make good notes?

Priorities

Renowned British author Nigel Cumberland in his famous book “100 Things Successful People do” studied some of the top successful people of the world and came to the conclusion that prioritizing can be of massive importance when targeting a goal. In our case, making the most out of our exam days would be our top priority. Make sure to minimize any activity that may not be beneficial to your study like playing video games or watching TV. Be sure to prioritize any activities that may indirectly benefit your studies such as physical activities.

Study Schedule

Organize your schedule to maximize the time of the day dedicated towards study. Remember to take breaks, this can help you work more productively. A technique many students find useful is to follow the Pomodoro Technique - take a break of five minutes after every twenty five minutes of study to freshen up your mind. It is wise to avoid screens for your short break, this can help you avoid headaches during longer study sessions. If you need help to plan your studies, take a look here.

Ask Mentors

Remember that you are not the first one to go through exam stress. Your seniors have gone through this and you will too. Reach out to a mentor, or any experienced and trusted advisor. A mentor can be a senior, family members or even a mentor on demand. Share any issues you might face during preparation, let it be an elusive concept or mental stress.

Work Breakdown

Break your work into small achievable objectives and milestones. This gives you a clear idea of how to get through the workload. Professional project managers call this the WBS technique and use this to effectively complete extensive projects on time. Treat yourself when you reach a milestone, maybe a snack or an added break. This keeps the motivation up and removes the mind cluster, ultimately giving you a sense of confidence. You will find yourself avoiding procrastination and getting things done on time through this technique.

Past Exams

Working through past exams is an excellent way of preparing for an exam. This gives you an idea of what to expect from the exam, both regarding the format and the content. Consider timing yourself in a mock exam.

The Feynman Technique

Study as if you were the teacher and were preparing to give a lecture. When you explain a concept to others, you come across many smaller yet essential concepts which you might have missed otherwise. This tried and tested technique proves to be beneficial for both the individuals involved.

Feedback

Get feedback from your teachers and classmates. Teachers are often available in office hours for student counseling. Consider visiting them and discussing past exams or tests to identify any potential weakness. Ask you classmates to test you beforehand and get their constructive criticism.

Remain Healthy and Motivated

The human mind is a bustling hub of electrical activities. Studies have shown that your brain produces alpha brain waves responsible for increasing productivity, improving memory and increasing creativity. These waves are produced when you wake up in the morning, just before you go to bed and right after light exercise and meditation. Use this time to your advantage. Focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle leading to a sharper mind. Keep your hopes up and morale high. Know why you are here and what is on the other side.

Woman holding up a calendar, ready to plan her month

House of Math blog post authorAstrid Heimsjø · 

How to Balance Being a Student and an Employee

Having a job in addition to being a student is perfect if you want extra income as well as work experience. However, there is no secret that combining those two can be challenging, especially when the workload at school is heavy. This article will provide you with a few insights on how to deal with the combination of work and school!

Work Efficiently

Make sure you are being effective when you are studying. Most students often find themselves feeling like they haven't accomplished much even though they have been studying for hours. Many of us get easily distracted while studying, and combined with not defining plans for our study sessions, it leads to ineffectiveness. Read about techniques for avoiding distractions here. If you figure out in what ways you study most efficiently, you will save a lot of time! Define goals for yourself and create a plan for how you will accomplish them. Decide what parts of the curriculum you want to finish each month, week, and each study session. Reflect on what makes you focused and distracted: does the company of others affect your studying positively or negatively? How often do you need breaks to make sure you stay focused? Do you prefer studying in quiet surroundings? By reflecting on this while also concretizing your study schedule, it is likely that you will study more efficiently, which will give more time for other activities – like working!

Set Healthy Boundaries

As mentioned, making sure your studies don´t take up more time than necessary is important to balance your everyday life. For many of us, however, it will be even more important to not let our studies be affected by work. After all, you study to gain knowledge, and if your job prevents you from that, it might not be worth it. An important piece of advice for students with jobs is to set clear boundaries in the workplace. Figure out how much time you realistically have for working, and be open about this already at the job interview. Also, remember that you have certain rights as an employee, and you are not supposed to work more than what is stated in your contract. Inform your employer on when you have final exams or stressful periods at school as early as possible. Many employers that hire students are aware that students' work capacity varies throughout the semester and try to take that into account. For many students, adjusting the workload to their studies works well, such as increasing the amount of work during the holidays and reducing it during exam seasons. Other students find it best to work only during summer and focus exclusively on their studies during the rest of the year. Think through what would suit your needs and everyday life prior to applying for jobs, and be open about your level of capacity!

Balance is Important

Work experience will prepare you for life when you finish studying. Balancing studies and work is a good way to get better at prioritizing and using your time efficiently. A part time job will be a good addition to your CV, and if the job is within a field you want to get into in the future, you get an even bigger advantage. Check out the web pages of companies you are interested in (here’s ours)!. There are many benefits of having a job while being a student, but don't forget that spare time and a social life is important to perform well in both those areas. Finding a balance is important in many aspects of life, and this absolutely applies for combining working and studying!

Young barista making coffee

House of Math blog post authorMuhammad Haris · 

Study Tips

Good study habits are not necessarily innate, it is an ability that must be learned. Most of us have experienced that time is not enough, or that one struggles to focus. Here we have gathered some general study tips that can help you spend your time on schoolwork more efficiently.

Make Proper Notes

A lot of people take notes during class, but chances are that your notes might not be helping you as much as they can. Here are a few tips to make notes for better understanding:

1. Maintain neatness

2. Make them precise

3. Use diagrams and graphs

4. Use separate portions for each subject

5. Label each topic individually.

Follow these simple steps and you will be better able to understand the topic when you are revising it.

Do you want to read more about taking good notes? We have written about it here.

Pay Attention

In the time after global pandemic, chances are that your mode of study relies partially or completely on remote communication which involves screens. With such freedom, chances are you might want to take a break by playing a quick round of video games or maybe a quick look at social media? Well with no one to supervise, minutes might turn into hours. With many distractions, it may become difficult to grasp the concepts properly. Detoxifying apps can be useful to limit your screen time per app with restricted timing. Self-control and discipline is necessary to be the best you can at studies. Do you want to read more about how to avoid distractions? We have written about that as well.

Ask Questions

Often the ones who ask questions are the ones getting the best grades. Have you ever wondered why? That’s because learning is not a one way street. It is an interactive session relying on active communication between the teacher and the student, don’t be shy to ask questions.  Ask your teacher, your friends and mentors.

Use Visualization

Often the best students are the ones with the best imagination. Reading a concept is one thing but trying to visualize it is the essential step to get to the core of understanding. Use analogies, use your imagination and use visual aids provided by teachers and on the internet. Try to think of the possible analogies for the concept you are learning. If you cannot, then ask the teacher to provide one.

Think Outside the Books

You probably don’t realize it, but you are using what you learn in your everyday life. Try to correlate what you learn every day with real life situations. Ask the teacher where these processes are being used practically and try to implement the concepts yourself in real life if you can through projects. For example, you can learn probability in mathematics class, but did you realize that probability is being used by multi-billion dollar businesses to predict customer demand? Try to use probability to predict the outcome of an event to gain a better insight on this concept.Ever since there were schools there were exams and ever since there were exams there were people

Two people reading in a book and taking notes

House of Math blog post authorJohan Holst · 

5 Tips for a Written Math Exam

Written exams can be a stressful situation. Many people find it overwhelming to make everything during the time you get. Here are some tips to help you de-stress and keep your head cool throughout the test!

1. Solve past exams!

The best tip for a written exam is to be thorough with preparation. The better prepared you are for the exam, the more confident you will be. One of the best preparation tips is to solve tasks from previous exams. This will provide you with knowledge about the exam format since the type of tasks rarely change

2. Be prepared and arrive early

Be prepared for the exam! Bring the allowed aid and remember food and drinks. Being prepared will give you an extra kick! Schedule to arrive early to feel more prepared.

3. Be thorough when reading the tasks!

During the exam, it is important to be thorough when reading the tasks. Be extra thorough when going through the tasks and it could be smart to read them twice. By doing this you ensure that you got every aspect of the question asked. It is common to misread, and you are doing yourself a big favor by reading tasks twice.

4. Take breaks – eat and drink!

During the exam, feeling a bit stressed is quite common. Therefore, it is important to eat and drink along the way. Bring tasty, but healthy food! If breaks are allowed, you should use these to get some fresh air. The last minutes could feel exhausting, but with regular breaks, food, and drink, your ability to concentrate will remain high.

5. Check each task when you are finished!

When finished, delivering straight away may be tempting. If there is time left, checking through the tasks is heavily recommended. By doing this you avoid sloppy mistakes and it can be comforting. At House of Math we offer Mentors that can help you prepare for written exams!


Young man having a written exam

House of Math blog post authorNina Maria Hegland · 

Free Online Learning Resources - Programming

Programming has become more and more popular in recent years, and is often described as a safe educational direction. Because of this, there is an incredible number of learning resources online for those who want to learn to program - maybe too many! Therefore, in this post we have gathered together a number of free resources (and some paid) that are of high quality.

Free learning resources

If you don’t want to spend money on learning to code, or you want to test it out before you invest time and money in it, the resources recommended in this article are perfect!

Github:

We can start with the largest free learning resource, namely Github. Github is a platform where programmers can save the code they have written, share it with others if they want and work with the same code, etc. It has a lot of functionalities, but what we are going to look at here is a specific collection of free resources to learn to code. This collection can be found here.

In this collection you will find information about  programming languages ​​used in both frontend and backend development. A super simple explanation of the difference between the two is that frontend is what you see on the screen (colors, placement of text and words, which fonts have been used, etc.), while backend is everything that happens behind (communication with servers, analytics, etc.).

It can be difficult to know which language belongs where, especially when the collection has everything and I mean everything. So a simple rule of thumb is that all versions of CSS, HTML and JavaScript are used for frontend. Something can be used for backend, but the focus is primarily on design.

If you want to learn how to use Github and Git, you can do so here.

Here at House of Math we know very well that everyone learns differently! The resources shown above are courses, some are pure video courses and others are interactive. But there are also some who prefer to read when learning. For them, there are also free books, both if you want to learn specific languages ​​or if you want to focus on the subject.

StackOverflow:

StackOverflow is more forum-based than Github. Here people ask questions and experienced programmers can answer. Usually, many people have wondered the same thing as you, so here you can get answers to more specific things in every aspect of programming. We also have mentors who can program! They can help you directly via video and chat if you have any questions and need a proper review.

Web.dev:

A good start might be to start with website development before moving on to the slightly more advanced languages. Web.dev is a very good and free resource! They have an interactive course that shows you all the different aspects of developing good websites.

LinkedIn:

LinkedIn Learning has many resources that are always free and some that are free during the trial period of one month. The one course that I want to present here, which is always free, has to do with online security. It is a course that refers to important security measures to implement as a developer, not just the online security that your parents have explained to you. This is about what a hacker is, how to increase security on, among other things, your websites and what is wise to keep in mind when programming.

They also have a course that you may really want to look at, and it goes on all the fundamentals of programming. In this mini-course, they explain HOW to download free resources and programs to be able to write code! They also explain the fundamental principles that come up again and again in different programming languages, so this mini-course is very recommended to take a look at.

OpenSap:

OpenSap has a selection of courses in programming and when you complete you will receive a certification that you can add to LinkedIn. They have courses in object-oriented programming in Java, how to write testable code, Python for beginners and a separate intro course for teenagers without prior knowledge! Best of all: it's completely free!

DataCamp:

DataCamp allows you to create a free profile and you can choose whether you want to focus on Python, R or SQL. Here you get to learn the basics for free, and then you can choose whether you want to pay for further courses. It may be okay to start with the one that is free so you can see if this is the course that works for you or not.

The Odin Project:

The Odin Project has a longer course where they offer the basics and then specializations. The specializations you can choose from are two different Full-Stack directions, one with Ruby in focus and one with JavaScript. Both directions are set up so that when you complete you should have the skills you need to develop websites.

FreeCodeCamp:

FreeCodeCamp has over 8,000 tutorials and you can get certifications that you can add to your CV as a certificate of competence. They offer tutorials in everything from Front-End to Back-End, Data Visualization, Machine learning and information security. This is a very good resource for you who are unsure of what you would like to learn more about, and you can gain more insight into several different categories.

The logic behind programming:

Programming can be difficult if you do not understand the logic behind the languages. When you learn this logic and can understand the problems you are trying to solve, it also becomes easier to solve them. To understand this, there are both articles and videos that can help!

Additional free resources:

Elements of AI:

A very good free course is Elements of AI. It is open to everyone, and you can choose whether you want to take it in English, Norwegian or a completely different language! You do not learn to code artificial intelligence, but you learn all the basics and it can be a good starting point if you want to find out if this is what you want to specialize in at a later date.

Free-for.dev:

This website is an extra resource for you who may have gotten a little into the world of programming, and who may have found someone to learn with. Because, in addition to being able to program, you should also try to use the same software that the professionals use. Free-for.dev is a digital collection of resources that can be used when programming. Also keep in mind that VSCode is free to download and is what most programmers use when writing code.

Man coding on his computer

House of Math blog post authorAstrid Heimsjø · 

Homework Help

Doing homework could be difficult, both for parents and students. Therefore, House of Math will be releasing general homework help! The offer involves a qualified mentor meeting you at scheduled times to help with homework. This article will provide you with information about the offer, and you will be able to read about the advantages of homework help.

Establish Good Habits

Homework might seem exhausting during hectic weekdays. Helping children with homework could require both time and effort. Parents and students could experience homework as a source of frustration that reduces communication which affects other aspects of regular days. A mentor could contribute to making this part of the day flow with ease. Having someone outside the household help with math could reduce household conflicts. The mentor helping you will have a solid knowledge of the relevant topics and a goal to make the subjects exciting and understandable. This will lead to a de-escalation of homework-related conflicts, and you will avoid the common discussion regarding the amount of time spent on homework. Consequently, the mentor could help establish great habits that could be transferred to the rest of the week.

Continuity

In addition to making the weekdays flow, routines regarding homework could affect motivation. Understanding and liking the subjects will contribute to the feeling of accomplishment. This feeling will further raise the level of motivation. Continuance in working with homework could therefore contribute to raising the willingness to learn. Weekly sessions with a mentor could contribute to maintaining these routines in addition to raising the motivation to work with homework until the next session. An advantage of continued follow-up is that each session could start with a quick summary of the previous session before advancing. This will lead to better understanding in addition to making connections between themes clearer.

Mentor on Demand

House of Math’s offer of general homework help applies to all subjects in primary school, but our mentor could also help at higher levels. Most of our mentors will be able to help with subjects below 8th grade. Even so, do not hesitate to contact us if you need a mentor in general homework help at a higher level than 7th grade. We will do our best in providing you with a mentor that fits your needs. As mentioned, having a mentor could provide a real motivation boost!

Do not hesitate to contact us at +47 22 150 300 / post@houseofmath.com if you have questions or wish to try general homework help.

Privatlærer hjelper tenåringsjente med lekser

House of Math blog post authorAnton Isaksen · 

How a Fusor Works

A much spoken of alternative energy source for the future is fusion-energy from fusion reactors.

This energy source doesn’t pollute, can last for millions of years, and gets its fuel from water. The concept behind this energy source is a process called fusion. The very same process which supplies the sun with its energy. Fusion reactors might seem complicated, especially since they need a plasma with a temperature over 100,000,000 degrees Celsius, but doing fusion isn’t as difficult as one would think. There are several types of fusion reactors. The simplest is a so-called Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) fusor, which will be explained later. Many of the underlying subjects and concepts described here are elaborated further in high school physics classes.

What is Fusion?

Firstly, what really is fusion? The name itself is a big hint, since fusion is the process of fusing (combining) two atomic nuclei into a new nucleus. And in various instances it’s possible to gain extra energy from fusing certain nuclei. Fusion happens if two nuclei get close enough that the same force which holds the protons and neutrons in the nucleus together is able to “hook onto” the other nucleus and combine the two nuclei together. The problem is that all atomic nuclei are positively charged and repel each other like two similar magnets. So, the simplest way to get two nuclei close enough to fuse, is therefore either by pressing them tightly together or by shooting them with great speed towards each other. And this is exactly what fusion reactors do.

How Does an IEC-fusor Work?

An IEC-fusor is a type of ball-shaped particle accelerator that accelerates nuclei towards the center of a ball-shaped steel chamber where they can hit each other and fuse.

The way in which the fusor accelerates nuclei, is by using a powerful electric field. All nuclei are positively charged, as mentioned earlier, so they will be repelled from other positively charged things and attracted to negatively charged things. If one then connects the positive end of a power supply, for example a battery, to the outer walls of the chamber and the negative end to a ball-shaped hollow metal grid in the center of the chamber, an electric field will be created between the grid and the chamber walls. Which is only a fancy way of saying that positively charged particles like nuclei will be attracted/accelerated inwards to the negatively charged grid. At the same time, negatively charged particles like electrons are going to be attracted/accelerated outwards to the positively charged outer walls.

How strongly the nuclei are accelerated inwards, and subsequently how much speed they gain, depends on the voltage of the power supply connected to the grid and the chamber walls. The higher the voltage, the stronger the electric field and the more speed do the nuclei have when they arrive at the metal grid in the middle of the reactor. Inside this grid is a small empty space where nuclei from various parts of the steel chamber can collide and fuse. To get these nuclei up to a high enough speed to fuse, a voltage of several thousand volts is required. Normal batteries with a voltage between 1 and 12 volts are for that reason not strong enough, so a specialized high voltage power supply is required.

Vacuum

Another crucial factor in most particle accelerators, whether it’s the Large Hadron Collider by CERN or a fusor, is vacuum. There are particles everywhere in normal air that collide with each other all the time and move around in random directions. Such conditions make it very unpractical to accelerate particles over longer distances, as they don’t make it further than around a tenth of a micrometer before hitting another particle and bouncing away. Most of the air in the steel chamber must therefore be removed. Which is done by one or more vacuum pumps that suck out the air. With a good enough vacuum, there are so few particles present that a nucleus can be accelerated several centimeters without hitting something. At the same time, a full vacuum (no particles in the chamber) is not desired, because a few nuclei that can be accelerated and fused are required. A normal vacuum level for a fusor is around 1/100 000 of the pressure in normal air.

Fuel

It’s sadly not as easy to fuse all types of atoms. The easiest ones to fuse are the two hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium, which are only hydrogen atoms with respectively one and two extra neutrons in the nucleus. Ca. 0.0156% of all the hydrogen in water (H2O) is deuterium. That might seem little, but considering the fact that 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water, it’s not too hard to get deuterium. Tritium is in contrast to deuterium way rarer and way more dangerous, so deuterium is the preferred fuel for IEC-fusors.

Sequence of Events Inside of a Fusor

A particle accelerator that fulfills all the demands requirements mentioned above can do fusion. In a ball-shaped steel chamber with a good vacuum, an inner hollow metal grid and a powerful electric field between the grid and chamber walls, the following happens when deuterium is added to the chamber:

  • The deuterium nuclei are ionized, which means that the deuterium nuclei and their belonging electrons are pulled away from each other by the electric field. Electrons are pulled towards the outer walls and nuclei towards the inner grid.
  • The deuterium nuclei are accelerated inwards towards the grid and obtain speeds of up to many millions of kilometers per hour.
  • Deuterium nuclei from around the chamber arrive inside of the grid with high speeds. An area of plasma is formed there, because of all the ions/deuterium nuclei that are flying in. A few of these nuclei hit each other and fuse, some hit the metal grid itself, and others pass right through.
  • In the case of a deuterium nuclei passing right through the inside of the grid and continuing out the other side, it will be slowed down by the electric field and pulled in towards the grid again. It can make several passes back and forth through the grid until it hits something.
  • If two deuterium nuclei hit each other and fuse, they will combine into a helium nucleus with two neutrons and two protons. This helium nucleus is very unstable immediately after the fusing, so it emits either a neutron or a proton which flies away with great speed. It has the same probability of losing a neutron as of losing a proton.
  • The proton and the remaining nucleus can hit the chamber walls and heat them up, while the neutron flies right through the walls.

What Can a Fusor Be Used For?

The largest downside of an IEC-fusor is that it cannot create enough heat to produce useful energy. It’s in fact very difficult to even observe that it has produced any. The heat from fusion in bigger and more advanced fusion reactors, like a tokamak, can at least relatively easily be observed and maybe in the future be used to produce more energy than what is needed to power them.

What can be made use of from an IEC-fusor are the neutrons created in fusion reactions. These are, as the name implies, electrically neutral. A property that lets them fly through most things if they have enough speed, including the walls of a fusor. Once outside, they can be slowed down and used to transmute elements. Transmutation is a whole different topic and is often used to make radioactive medical substances. To put it shortly, it involves bombarding a substance with neutrons so that the nuclei in the substance can absorb the neutrons and become radioactive. A bit like fusion. These new radioactive nuclei will then decay (emit radiation) and turn into new nuclei different from the original. One can for example use transmutation to make technetium-99m, which is a substance widely used in many medical examinations. The most important ingredient in making technetium-99m is a powerful and simple source of neutrons. Something fusors can do well, even though they won’t solve the worlds energy problems.

Two particles colliding

House of Math blog post authorEivind Garborg · 

Why Choose Physics in High School?

Many readers of this blog with an age 16-19 years will soon have a choice to make: should you go ahead with more advanced math curricula and possibly the physics subjects?

You may know that mathematics is an important tool in the scientific/technical domains. Equally important is the impact and use of mathematics in social sciences, when you use internet or mobile phone or you drive your car.

The same can be said about physics: progress in the branches of physics has a profound effect in the life of each of us and on the planet we live in.

Physics is the branch of science that defines the forces that act throughout the universe, how these forces interact such that they give rise to motion, exchange of energy, etc. The scale may be microscopic/atomic all the way to galactic.

With the help of mathematics, these processes can be described, understood and not the least: verified by experiments, observations and critical analysis.

Up to the 15th century physics was mostly a descriptive science.

Then followed some «revolutions»:

Revolution 1: Newton and Descartes 18th/19th century: Mathematics introduced as tool. Led to correct understanding of the Solar system and mechanics in general.

Revolution 2: Development of thermodynamics – industrial revolution 18th/19th century

Revolution 3: Development of electromagnetism – 20th-21th century

Revolution 4: Theory of relativity – 20th century

Revolution 5: Atomic physics: quantum mechanics; nuclear physics 21th century

The presentation here is short and concise, without much detail. But: physics is an "accumulating" science,  an introduction to physics often begins with a starting point that is the one that was established around the 17th century. If you want to read more about the different theories, we have a more in-depth article on the topic

Some other items: progress in semiconductor physics, material technology, radiation technology – and not the least: computer technology have given us the possibility to have advanced devices on our wrist, in our car; devices that were the subject of fundamental research 50 years ago.

Choosing the physics path will give you a solid introduction to the items 1-3 above, which are the most important to master and understand in terms of methods and problem solving, and the most relevant in daily life and in basic engineering disciplines.

Items 4 and 5 are treated in a more analytical/qualitative way, but to master them a good knowledge of items 1-3 is needed.

The most difficult is NOT the mathematics:

The big leap is often to get used to precise definitions of energy, heat, force, power, speed, acceleration etc., concepts that are frequently used arbitrarily in daily language, and to apply them strictly in the correct way.

Equally important is to build your ability for critical thinking: any physics theory is based on assumptions and simplifications (e.g. no friction, no air resistance), so being able to judge the validity of results is crucial. And the inverse is also true: by making right simplifications to equations which may be complicated, you can be able to solve the equations and get perfectly adequate results.

Example: representing the sun and the planets as point masses under the forces of gravity gives very good description of the solar system.

So, when can it be wise to choose physics?

It's very recommended if you want to continue with physics, chemistry, engineering subjects further on in your education.

An introductionary class to physics can give a good foundation in if you are interested in architecture, informatics or biology for example. Remember, it is also perfectly fine to choose physics without going these directions, maybe you are just curious about science?

More generally: the training you will get from the physics subjects when it comes to critical evaluation of assumptions, results and validity will be of great value in many domains.

So, what if you choose physics as your univeristy studies?

There will of course be possibilities within academia: PhD, research and teaching. The requirements for entry may be difficult to fullfill. Teaching in secondary school is also a possibility.

Likewise, phycisists are very attractive employees in most big corporations, thanks to broad background and versatility.

The writer of this article graduated in engineering physics from NTH (NTNU) in Norway in 1977. During 40 years, mostly in the oil industry, I have been able to use almost every chapter from the math- and physics books.

Among my class mates are researchers within medicine, material technology, as well as engineers working for Aker, Equinor and ministeries.

The equation of mass–energy equivalence on a blackboard

House of Math blog post authorJordi Martinez · 

Improve Your Note-taking Skills

There are many factors involved in the learning process—such as taking notes. During a class, the teacher will go through many topics and a lot of information, understanding what is the most essential to jot down is crucial. In order to learn effectively, we will have to understand how our brain learns and work along with it to take good notes.

In short terms, our brains learn best with storytelling—using a narrative to explain things—so, whenever new stuff comes up that we want (or need) to learn, we would like to have it in our minds in a way that feels like story, regardless of how it is being taught to us. This is why taking notes is so important; it allows us to choose what information we want to keep and organize all the content we are learning in personalized way that will effectively stick to our minds.

So, suppose we are learning a new concept, like probability, and there is a lot of content to learn; of course, we would like to have all there is to know about the golden ratio in the back of our minds for the final exam, but there is simply too much information; just rewriting all of that content will definitely not work (not to mention memorizing it), so we will have to optimize our resources to improve our notes. In order to do so, we should ask ourselves some questions:

· What are the main concepts?

Always look for keywords; words that are mentioned over and over during class or in the textbooks should be highlighted and very clearly explained in your notes.

· What confuses me the most?

You should be very honest and ask yourself: Do I really understand this concept? Could I confidently explain this to somebody else and make myself clear? If you have at least a little doubt of it, then the answer is probably be no. Whenever this happens, you should definitely write it down somewhere. For example, assume that in order to learn about the golden ratio you had to read the definition of a ratio a thousand times to catch it; so you don’t have to struggle with it again, we recommend you highlight that word and include in your notes the things that helped you finally understand that concept; it might have been an example, a formula, or a situation it’s related to.

· Are there any classical examples I should remember?

New concepts often come with basic examples; you might want to include the examples that you feel that better represent the nature of the concept you are learning, so that whenever you are reading your notes, you can interactively study the concepts and make sure you feel confident about them.

· Are there any important formulas?

Formulas can sometimes be very confusing or sophisticated. No matter what the case is, formulas should be in your notes highlighted, in big letters and should be easy to read. Be careful, just throwing a bunch of symbols to your notes and making them look pretty is simply not enough; it is very important to include information about the formulas you are using, like in which situations it can be applied, what are the constraints of it, what each variable represent, and so on. It might also be a good idea to include examples or exercises where the formulas are applied.

· Is there any information that is not very useful?

You will often find that there is a lot of information surrounding a topic (depending on how deep you get into it). Make sure to understand the scope of your study so you don’t include any unnecessary information and waste time on it. Some textbooks include information as fun facts, but simply never use them; if you find it interesting or useful you may include it in your notes, but don’t put too much effort on it, since it could actually impact negatively in your study.

Once you have an idea of what content will be part of your notes, it’s time to organize it. Now is a good time to remember that our brains learn best with storytelling, so we recommend to stick to that idea while taking notes; reading your notes should feel like somebody is showing useful information to you in a comprehensive and intuitive manner. Here are some tips you might find useful for this purpose:

· Respect the order.

Just like when telling a story we need to introduce the characters and describe the setting before diving into the plot, when taking notes it is crucial that the concepts introduced have a coherent order of appearance. Make sure you throw in the first part of your notes all the ingredients you will need before introducing more complicated concepts.

· Talk to yourself in your notes.

Is a definition not very clear? You have to be more careful with a step when solving an exercise? You feel like you have to ask the teacher about a concept? Write all that down as a reminder to yourself. You might even want to write some things with huge letters so you don’t miss them; it is all about making things easier for yourself.

· Use short sentences.

Don’t write all the information exactly as it appears in the textbooks or as mentioned in class, synthesize it, be straightforward; the less you write, the easier it will be to read it.

· Don’t over synthesize.

As opposed to the previous point, synthesizing too much could make the reading confusing and misleading. Just make sure there is everything you need to understand the main concepts.

· Notes are meant to be read by you.

Explanations in textbooks and in class are given in a formal setting, but you are not obligated to do so in your notes. We encourage you to use words that you feel confident using as long as they don’t replace keywords or be misleading. Using your own language will make your notes easier to understand.

· Use symbols.

If there is a fact that is very frequently used throughout the subject, it might be a good idea to, for example, add and exclamation mark next to it, or if during an exercise there is a step that is not very clear, you could add a question mark. Any symbols that feel necessary and which meaning you know you can remember will work.

· Readability vs. Prettiness.

Don’t put too much effort on making your notes look pretty by using a lot of colors, drawings, and fonts; too much decorations might affect the readability. Your priority should be that your notes are easy to read and understand, sometimes a simple and sober format makes things easier to read. On the other hand, don’t just write plain text, since it will make your notes hard to follow up; visual cues are recommended to improve the readability of your notes.

Are you curious on different note-taking methods? We have written about that as well!


Young girl smiling taking notes by hand and on computer

House of Math blog post authorMuhammad Haris · 

How to Prepare for a Written Exam

As you progress in school or your studies, exams tend to get more advanced. Written exams usually last longer than verbal ones and can be more challenging to get through. Written exams assess more than just your knowledge, they assess your time management ability, your eloquence of writing, your ability to reflect and draw parallels between topics, and much more. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a written exam.

Time Management

Start your preparations from day one. Do not rely on the last days as you must be familiar with a lot of material which takes more than a few days. The last days should be focused on revision of the course content rather than learning new material. Direct the most productive time of the day towards studying. Try to study right after a relaxing session to make the best out of your fresh mind. Make sure to condense your notes into smaller concept maps to take a last-minute look before the exam.

Flexibility

Make sure to read additional content besides what is written in the slides or the main course book. This can provide you with fresh perspectives, and maybe even a better understanding of the subject. Any additional sources may include blogs, articles, referenced books, internet videos and even tools dedicated to study on the internet.

Papers

If you are writing on STEM, the best practice for you is to cite papers related to your work. Make sure to keep yourself updated on the recent work related to that subject and use scientific facts and proof to back up your point rather than using vague statements. For example, if you are writing a paper about Einstein’s achievements, cite his own works, such as the papers about the theory of relativity.

Past Exams

A great way to get a better understanding of what to expect is to look at past exams, if you have access to any. Ask your seniors or teacher for the question papers and try to solve them. The first few times, you can use aids and don’t need to look at the time, but it could be good practice to go through an exam or two without using a book or any additional aid, and also trying to limit the time to the same amount you will have at the real exam.Then you get an understanding of how you would perform in the actual exam. An additional advantage would be that some teachers repeat questions when making an exam. So if you work through several past exams, you will become fairly acquainted with the format, and maybe also some of the tasks that appear often.

Discussions

Want to test yourself? Try discussions with teachers and colleagues. Often teachers encourage students to discuss the curriculum with them. Some even dedicate office hours besides class time to visit them and discuss any issues. Use this time to discuss any past exams or tests you might have taken. Ask them about your mistakes and how you can make them better. Consider teaching your colleagues as if you were a teacher. This gives you clarity and a better command on the subject.

Study Tools

The internet is full of tools to help you better prepare for exams. Consider using recorded lectures online, visual aids such as presentations and animations and online quizzes to better understand a concept. You can even hire a mentor from House of Math. Consider reading blogs and articles such as how to improve your memory and how to make better notes or even prepare for the exam days.

Study Plan

By failing to plan, you are planning to fail. Make a solid plan on how you are going to prepare for the exam. Prioritize what needs the most attention. Writing down the plan will be advantageous as it reminds you constantly of what is next. Consider using highlighters of various colors to indicate the level of importance.

Take a Break

It may seem that the most productive way to prepare for an exam is by working continuously without a break, but that’s not the case. Studies have shown that the human mind is not capable of focusing for long periods of time. Instead, take a scheduled break after a focused session. A good rule of thumb is to take a break of 15 minutes after every 60 minutes of study. If you prefer shorter sessions, you can use the Pomodoro technique, which is 25 minutes of studying, followed by a 5 minute break, and a 15 minute break after four 25 minute-sessions.

Make sure to not to do anything that might stress your mind during the break. Do something that relaxes your mind, maybe take a walk, or drink some coffee. Try to take a break from the screen, this includes your phone. A fresh mind will go a long way towards better study practices.

What to Do During Exam?

We looked at what to do before a written exam. Now let us look at what to do during an exam to soar through it.

· Read the instructions carefully. Know what is mandatory and which questions have the highest marks so you may prioritize their time.

· Make an overview of the exam questions, note how many marks you get, difficulty and if you know the topic. (Recommended if you have enough time) The questions with higher marks should be prioritized first.

· Proofread after you are done. Often many mistakes come across you when you take a second look at the exam after you are done.

· Take a break and relax. This freshens up your mind to perform during the rest of the exam.

· Do not spend too much time on a single question. If you seem to forget something, move on to the next one. Chances are you will remember it while attempting the next questions.

Take a look at our tips for a written exam to read more about this. We hope you found some useful tips!

Hand and pencil writing on an exam

House of Math blog post authorSondre Burud · 

Help, I’m Having an Oral Exam!

Are you having an oral exam? You may feel nervous, both the first and second time and even the third time. House of Math has gathered some useful tips that can help you prepare.

Create mind maps

The curriculum can seem overwhelming, and you need to know the whole thing for an exam! Suddenly, you are being tested on everything you have learned during the year. All this in one day! When you start cramming, you should think about which study technique to use. The answer is a mind map. A mind map is a perfect tool to get a full overview of the curriculum. If you are wondering how to use and make a mind map, House of Math has created an easy-to-follow recipe. Create one mind map per chapter and build each mind map with branches that contain relevant information. Try to keep the keywords as short as possible but remember that you are supposed to understand them afterwards. Feel free to use pens in different colors to differentiate between separate subtopics or other important information.

Going through the whole book this way can be challenging, remember to take breaks! Please be aware that you should differentiate between the things that are important and the things that are not relevant. Take a glance at the less relevant paragraphs or those that you master to a full extent. Focusing on adding a few keywords to your mind map is the crucial goal.

Discuss the Curriculum

Oral exams are mainly about explaining and reflecting around a subject. Answering and elaborating questions at a fast pace is therefore important. Hence why practicing in advance is of great use. First, you need to find a conversation partner. This person could be your mom, dad, uncle, friend. You can also use a mentor!

Utilize the mind maps and practice by speaking to your partner about different themes. Tell your partner to ask questions from the book. When doing this, elaborating is the key to success. Practice by mentioning other topics along the way to avoid unnecessary breaks. The main thing in an oral exam is to show your spectrum of knowledge. When answering a question, try to follow up with other themes that relate to the one you spoke about. Gradually put the mind maps away when answering questions.

Don't Be Scared to Ask for Help

There are countless webpages and videos on the internet. Speaking with classmates or others that could help is a smart move. We at House of Math are at your disposal. With Mentor on Demand, you can ask questions in the chat, book a mentor or video chat with a mentor at this very moment.

On the Exam Day

Several subjects operate by giving you the theme a few minutes before the examination. Utilize the mind maps! Create a list of keywords as disposition. Elaborate, and speak in detail during the presentation. Last but not least, you’ve got this!


Stressed and uncertain teenage girl is having an oral exam

House of Math blog post authorMuhammad Haris · 

Math Outside of Books

If you are reading this blog, you are probably using mathematics in your life more than you realize. "How?", you may ask. Well, you or your parents probably started by paying for the electricity bill and then the internet bill to get to his blog. The payment of these bills involves math. The monthly budget decided by your parents involves arithmetic operations you learn in math every day. Every monetary transaction starting from your pocket money to the shopkeeper to the bank and back to your parents involves calculations. Let us take a look at some common areas where you might find math in real life.

Sports

After you are done reading this blog, you might want to enjoy some sports, but did you realize that every sport involves math by simply keeping track of score to decide who played better. Let us consider that you are a basketball player of a professional team. The coach decides whether you play a center or point guard based on your physical capabilities which involve statistics. Once decided, each individual play starting from your half of the court to the opponent’s basket involves timed tasks with the ball ending in the hands of the player with highest probability of finishing the play successfully. Whether it’s keeping track of time of a lap of running, the time taken to make a team play or making an estimation to try a last-minute buzzer beater in time; everything relies on math.

Video Games

Even if you are not the sports type and you decide to take some time off from homework by playing some video games; you’ll realize that a large part of video games relies on math. The programming behind the video game involves extensive arithmetic operations. The time it takes to complete a lap in racing game, the score in an RPG or the health points of fast paced shooter are just numbers constantly being added or subtracted based on the actions of players. The multi-million dollar video game tournaments require keeping track of points of each team which involve calculations i.e. basic arithmetic and probabilities.

Education

The education system including schools and colleges rely completely on math. For example, each question of an exam given by students is first graded by the teacher. Then each mark is added. Then percentage is calculated. Average, standard deviation and grading is calculated all using standard mathematical operations. Math also forms the basis of concepts of other subjects such as chemistry, physics or even biology. Let us consider physics as an example. You might have come across Einstein’s famous equation of relativity, that is                                                  

E=mc2 E = mc^2

This simple equation is considered a revolutionary breakthrough in physics and relates mass of system to its energy content and speed of light. Even if you don’t understand the premises of this equation, you can see the use of at least three mathematical operations being multiplication, square and equality. Similarly chemical equations involve complex equations which predict the speed of reaction which depend again on math.

Geometry

Despite the contrary general belief, geometry is one of the most used aspect of math in normal life. "How?", you may ask? Well it was involved in deciding the building’s structure you are currently sitting in by an engineer. The shape of your furniture is carefully designed by a designer who uses principles of geometry to decide the most pleasing shape with the most practicality. Nature has provided us with one of the strongest shape that is a hexagon (a polygon with six sides). This shape is most commonly found in bee hives due to its high strength with the low weight. This is the reason it is commonly used in building materials to save weight and make them stronger. Even our ancestors used geometry to navigate through the seas using constellation in the sky at night. Who know without geometry how many lands would not have been yet discovered as voyagers would be lost at the sea.

Shopping

After a tiring week, you might want to blow off some steam by visiting the local mall. But did you know that behind every purchase you make, a number of calculations are involved. Starting from the making of the product you buy at the factory to packaging that product to its delivery to the store and then to your hands; math is involved in every step. A business professional uses probability and statistics to decide how much demand is going to be. Then an engineer uses concepts of physics and chemistry which rely on math to convert that raw material to product and package. The speed of production is again decided using mathematical principles of division. The discount you might get and the profit the shopkeeper gets it again calculated using percentage principle of math.

Your Personal Life

We’ve taken a look at how normal life relies on math. Now let us take a look at how you can use math to your advantage in your personal life.

Personal Schedule

Stephen Covey in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” highlights the importance of scheduling one’s workload. Charts can be used to prioritize your important tasks. Rates and probability can be used to select the time required for each task. For example let us imagine that you have math homework today. You realize that your math homework is easy and you have high chances of solving all the problems yourself or with the help of a mentor. Since you are good at math; your rate of completion is fast. So you allocate less time to math. Consequently, you can allocate more time towards your family and exercise. As a result, you can make a chart or a table to schedule your day.

Hobbies

Say you are really into gardening. Well math is involved in gardening as well. Starting with counting the number of seeds you are going to plant. Then measuring the depth of the seed in land. Then using a measured amount of water to hydrate the plant. All of these activities involve minor mathematical operations.

Not into gardening? What about film making? Sounds unreal how math is involved even in film making. Starting from budgeting for a film to keeping track of the time taken by a scene to counting the number of times a scene is shot to maybe calculating the profit of your film. See how math is involved without you realizing it.

Man timetracking two runners with a stopwatch

House of Math blog post authorAstrid Heimsjø · 

From Middle School to High School, What Now?

A lot of people find the transition from middle school to high school intimidating. Some look forward to starting, while others are a bit nervous. This article will help you during the transition process, in addition to explaining the difference between middle school and high school.

New Class and New Teachers

You most likely know your teacher after three years of middle school, and perhaps gained some friends as well. A majority find it frightening to leave something safe and familiar for something new and unknown. Even if you already know many of the people starting at the same school as you, chances are that you will get a bunch of new and unknown classmates as well. In addition to getting to your teachers and classmates, you will take new classes. Many are excited about their new classes compared to middle school. Remember that the teachers are there to make the transition as smooth as possible. They are aware of your excitement and will facilitate for you to get to know the school, the subjects, and each other.

Not Just One Class

One of the biggest changes from middle school is having different subjects from some of your classmates at times. In middle school, you mostly attended the same subjects as your class. In high school, especially in sophomore and senior year, this is not the case. Most get to choose electives in sophomore and senior year, hence why you and some of your classmates often have separate classes. Nonetheless, you will still have a few classes with your class, and it is common to have the same homeroom-teacher every year. The electives can seem overwhelming at first, but it is important to remember that these do not begin fully before sophomore year. Junior year of high school is quite similar to middle school. The majority have most subjects with their regular classmates, but there are separate classes for math and foreign languages.

Which Level of Math Should I Choose?

The majority follow the same kind of math-tutoring in middle school. This is not the case in high school. You choose the kind of math you want in the first term. Teachers will provide you with information to help you choose and you will get plenty of time to decide. Do not worry about the difficulty of the math, the teachers are there to help you and they have plenty of experience. Teachers will help you, but House of Math can provide additional help if necessary. House of Math offers mentors that can help you with difficult themes if you are struggling. The mentor will provide personal follow-up, and plenty of our mentors can help you with other hard sciences in addition to math.

This will be of great use at the beginning of a semester, in addition to the time leading up to tests, midterms, and exams. Furthermore, you can utilize our live chat with a mentor or video chat. The video chat allows you to book a live video chat with a mentor who helps you at any time. This could be of great help if you are stuck with homework or need additional help before a test.

The transition from middle school to high school is not as frightening as it seems. Hopefully, this article calmed you down and inspired you to contact us if you need help with hard sciences. Do you have any questions on how to make your school days easier? Do not hesitate to contact us.


Group of students at high school doing homework in class