It’s no secret that many U.S. students struggle with math. After all, research shows that America hits a middle tier of 31st in math literacy when compared with 79 other countries. Worse, it doesn’t help that many elementary school and college classes have been forced to work online during the recent pandemic! In other words, you can be forgiven for wanting to make sure you’re bringing your A game when it comes to learning math. Whether you’re studying on your own at home or at school, having a few key math essentials on hand can help. Here are five things when learning math to grab as you get started.
- A Calculator
A calculator can help you get far when you’re studying math. Simple versions can help when you’re trying to speed through a few quick multiplication or division issues, and more expensive graphing calculators can be essential math equipment for advanced classes.
If your school or course recommends a specific version, make sure to grab it! As a more affordable alternative—especially if you’re doing self-study or taking classes online—you can also use a free online graphing calculator for all of the same functions as a pocket version.
- Graph Paper
This simple patterned paper can be very useful in classes that require complex graphing. If you don’t want to invest in a notebook with this type of paper, or if you need loose sheets to turn in with your assignments, you can always print out some graph paper at home.
- A Ruler
You’d be surprised by how often you need a ruler or protractor. These simple tools are perfect for math perfectionists, and they can also mean the difference between understanding the shape of a graph and misinterpreting your shaky lines. Protractors, in particular, can help you measure angles fast when you’re dealing with geometric issues.
Even a small, 6-inch option will work well, and an added bonus of smaller sizes is that they fit well into your pen cup or portable pencil case. Opt for a transparent or translucent ruler to help you position it with more ease.
- A Compass
This simple instrument has been a staple math tool for decades, and for good reason. As an essential part of any geometric toolkit, it helps you create perfect circles in seconds, though you may need to practice holding and using it.
- A Timer
Most math students have a hard time maintaining focus and motivation when they’re learning at home. That’s where a timer comes in!
Consider tackling problems or sections in short “sprints,” allowing you to hone your attention and take breaks as needed. You can even try dedicated focus tactics like the Pomodoro technique for best results.
Grab These Items When Learning Math
It’s safe to say that math might not come easily to most students—but that doesn’t mean that having a few simple items won’t help. With the math tools above, you’ll find that learning math can be much easier, especially if you’re working in tandem with your teachers to find the right version of each item for your specific class. Make sure to get your hands on them for a little more success in this tough subject!
Want more of the education tips you need to know? Be sure to check out our other guides for additional insights.