BY ANYUN CHATTERJEE (PEACE ADVISOR)
So how does knowing this help a student actually enjoy classes like Math 1B? Well personally I found it a bit liberating to not be as focused on finding answers. Once I moved from the problem solving format of “plug-and-chug” to actually thinking about the interesting points of given problems, I started to jot down interesting observations about problems or my methodology on homework and exams, and surprisingly I would actually get points for that!
Professors and GSIs always tell you to show your work on exams and problem sets to get partial credit, and I really started to understand why after I started doing this. Obviously the faculty of the math department have the job they do because they love the practice of math, so what they appreciate most from math students is real evidence of grappling with the problem is novel ways. I believe that if lower division students can slowly move away from “plug-and-chug” the will not only find their scores improving (and thus remove a great source of stress) but also actually thinking about problems will help them appreciate the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of mathematics!