1. ## Help me study.

So I have a maths exam coming up next week. I would like to study, because I know there are huge gaps in my knowledge, and I'll likely only pull through 30~40% if I don't do any Learning. It's also a matter of pride, I guess, because I don't particularly want to do poorly at maths, which is the one externally valuable thing I seem to have any bespeakable talent or skill at. I've also failed the other unit I'm doing so I'd like to not fail both *cries*

Could I like, watch some old TV series I already know inside and out and ease myself into my textbooks through the power of distraction or something? I'm feeling worn down by the stress of an impending exam that I know I'm ill-prepared for and my war against procrastination and escapism, so it feels like I just can't pull myself together to focus on anything important

Halp :frown:

2. Use wolfram alpha and/or mathematica to make graphs, analysis etc. then repeat the passages on your own to gain proficiency. Well, that's what I do when I'm bored about a maths assignment and/or upcoming exam but I still have to do it.

3. How do you mean?

4. Originally Posted by Thanks Arthur
How do you mean?
Well, what kind of math assignment / study are you preparing for? Calculus? Real analysis? Number theory?

5. Originally Posted by FDG
Well, what kind of math assignment / study are you preparing for? Calculus? Real analysis? Number theory?
Ah, end-of-unit exam on "Calculus and Matrix Algebra". So stuff on complex numbers and calculus (which is what makes up the 30~40% I know how to do ), then vectors and some other things?

6. eheh matrix and vector stuff is as boring as math can get...for example you might use this page matrix - Wolfram|Alpha to compute the most important matrix descriptors (parametric is also available, of course), fiddling around by changing their values can be a nice "experimental" way to learn.
For calculus you can just input a function tan(x) - Wolfram|Alpha and obtain a large number of relevant information (notice the button "show steps", immensely useful imho), eventually you can also compute definite integrals etc

7. Step 1) Make a list of all the topics you will be tested on, best to do this well in advance and actually before you start working, good way to feel productive without actually doing anything

Step 2) Try to explain what you know outloud to yourself... you will realize quickly what you know and what you don't know.... write down what you don't know on one sheet of paper as a to-study list.... write down what you know like a cheat sheet as a reference sheet, take a break after this

Step 3) Gather all the resources you need, wolfram alpha, books, old homeworks, and so forth.... go to town studying what you don't know... or feel free to post in here and I can help explain it. When studying its best to set aside a huge block in your schedule to focus on reading and contemplation, absorb the information, take a break after this

Step 4) Practice problems, choose a couple of simple ones to get a feel for things, then once you have a little confidence select a few really fucking hard ones and struggle through them, chances are you won't get tested on stuff that hard. Get a bunch of paper out, a pencil and work a bunch of problems, use the reference sheets and resources you've acquirred to do this.

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Problem Solving

1) Identify the Goal, what do you need to figure out

2) Formulate a Strategy

3) Execute the Strategy

Repeat if necessary (except instead of identifying the goal, identify your error if you must repeat)

NEVER TRY TO JUMP INTO THE PROBLEM WITHOUT THE GOAL AND A STRATEGY IN MIND, YOU WILL GET LOST IN THE WOODS AND NEVER FIND YOUR WAY HOME AGAIN

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Trust me, this is the yellow brick road to academic success in these sorts of classes, the only question is the time and effort your willing to commit, this may constrain the amount of problems you practice and the amount of studying you do.

8. Okay, that helps. The biggest hurdle now is motivation.

How do I motivate myself? This is something I've always struggled with and it's an atrocious stressor.

9. Originally Posted by Thanks Arthur
Okay, that helps. The biggest hurdle now is motivation.

How do I motivate myself? This is something I've always struggled with and it's an atrocious stressor.
Why do you want to do well on your exam?

You seem to already be somewhat internally motivated by coming here and asking for help to do better.

10. Originally Posted by Mountain Dew
Why do you want to do well on your exam?
I want to pass my maths unit. Partly out of pride because I don't want to fail, and a little bit out of practicality since it's sem-2 only, so this is my only shot this year unless I don't mind stalling with physics units next semester (which I don't).

And internal motivation is not the problem. It never is. I can internally motivate till the cows come home and just never get anything done. It's like the accelerator pedal can't get through to my engine or something, or more like the engine just can't ever start. It's frustrating.

11. Originally Posted by Thanks Arthur
It's also a matter of pride,
That's your motivation... just get to doing it, trust me man, I've been there, its better to just do well the first time through, even if its not perfect, the school system punishes first time failure fairly harshly....

consider a single F takes two A's to make it into a C

So basically if I take calculus three times, fail it the first time and take it twice, consistently getting A's..... statistically I'm on par with a student who mediocrely got by on a C in one shot.....

any other situation outside of school we would see the student who failed once and then succeded twice with an A, a proven expert, some who is competent and reliably so, taking the class twice, and capable of overcoming failure to success.

However in the school system..... it doesn't work this way.... so get to work.

One particularly effective method for enduring school I find is to celebrate very hard after major milestones, like tests and finals. Whatever celebration is to you, walk in the streets on the weekend at 2 am at night with your best friends or something. Celebrating graduation will be pure joy either way.

Also utilize me, I tutors differential equations and vector calculus, I don't mind helping you.... I need to practice my craft as a teacher.

If that fails watch videos of ridley scott... that guy is motivated... JUST DO IT, 1:16 on

12. I'm kind of an in-process person. I like to be managing multiple things happening at once, and naturally prefer to set things up that roll along by their lonesomes (that includes getting myself into a low-maintenance/energy rhythm). Can you think of any ways of tailoring my study to my nature?

13. just do it lol

14. Originally Posted by HaveLucidDreamz
just do it lol
I am

15. Would it be ridiculously lame of me to say I just found out we had past exam papers? Lol. I'm just gonna slog through those and make mind maps of my holes.

16. Originally Posted by Thanks Arthur
I'm just gonna slog through those and make mind maps of my holes.
L-ol. Straight to the gutter.

17. Originally Posted by Vero
L-ol. Straight to the gutter.
Just like any good ILE

18. If you don't want to do it then why are you doing it? College is only one life path out of many. You asked about not having the internal motivation. That really is everything. That's like... going to a jewelry store when you really don't want to go. Your inner being didn't want to go but you went anyway, emotionally sabotaging yourself.

So if you're not up to it why do something you don't want to do? Just to please others??? But why???

If you want to want it but you don't actually want it, then you don't really want it no matter how much you want to want it lol. That's more of a super-ego conflict.

I dropped out of school when I was like 13 by the way. =)

19. I'm feeling worn down by the stress of an impending exam that I know I'm ill-prepared for and my war against procrastination and escapism, so it feels like I just can't pull myself together to focus on anything important
It's only natural for you to feel stressed, because the whole system is a veil. It's an illusion. It's not real. Real reality just isn't like that. It's like, a real train is coming for you and you feel like you can't get out of the way, so you're trying to 'brace yourself' for when it hits you.

But you *can* get out of the way. Damn them all. Just like Esther Hicks says, run away from home if you have to align yourself. You don't have to give in. Nothing good comes out of getting people to do what they don't want to do, judging them with 'grades' to make their own selves feel better. It's gross.

What are they gonna do? Send you to prison for dropping out of school? lolololol

You need to let yourself fail. You need to learn that it's okay to be a loser. I like you for who you are, a nerd that rants about wow-ish things. I don't care if you pass some stupid fake exam. I like you for you!!! And you don't really care either!!! You're just being pushed against the wall by other people.... feeling like you will be excluded for saying no. Oooh they have to get over themselves!

Death to institutions!

20. yeah gul. smoke crack, it's good for you.

21. If you can't study, don't. If you don't know it by now, you're screwed.

But once you've had some slight destressing time, try and do some more revision.

23. Jesus, you mean there's a system out the end of all this? I just want a stable income in something I can be creative with. [EDIT: Actually, no, I just to live my life without having to deal with some large and impersonal amorphous mass. Had enough of that in high school for twelve lifetimes.]

Originally Posted by BulletsAndDoves
If you don't want to do it then why are you doing it?
I need to have money if at any stage I ever want to support a family.

I also want to be as far away and as free from my family and any relatives as possible. Mum is the only cool one, but we definitely can't live together.

I also can't bear to think of myself as yet another one of the "boomerang generation" who wind up returning home after trying to strike out on their own. Unacceptable. At no turn must I ever be like everyone else

Originally Posted by BulletsAndDoves
College is only one life path out of many.
What are my other options? I was never given any others growing up. Except working at a merchant bank (Which would be better than working at a bakery, I guess.)

Originally Posted by BulletsAndDoves
Nah, I asked about not being able to materialise my internal motivation into something useful. Internally motivating myself is like laying all my cards out and saying "'Kay, I gotcha. Here's how it is. Now what?" It's immensely frustrating knowing how to do something, and why you should, but being able to move yourself along and do it.

It's just another thing in my life that I have zero influence over. Half the time it feels like my life is freefalling and I'm just tagging along for the ride. ;jbra;aeiwrg;dfsbd;kargh

Originally Posted by BulletsAndDoves
So if you're not up to it why do something you don't want to do? Just to please others??? But why???
Pleasing others has nothing to do with it. It's all about living out the life I was told is the only option for me to live. I don't even know who told me, maybe it's just something I gathered for myself and never bothered questioning or asking about. Smart kids can be incredibly fucking stupid sometimes

Originally Posted by BulletsAndDoves
If you want to want it but you don't actually want it, then you don't really want it no matter how much you want to want it lol. That's more of a super-ego conflict.
Haha, actually, this does sound like a Socionics sort of super-ego thing.

Originally Posted by BulletsAndDoves
I dropped out of school when I was like 13 by the way. =)
I made it through my six years of high school without a lick of study and missing all my assignments. So, you know, we're not so different, you and I, I just have a bunch of numbers to my name.

Originally Posted by BulletsAndDoves
It's only natural for you to feel stressed, because the whole system is a veil. It's an illusion. It's not real. Real reality just isn't like that. It's like, a real train is coming for you and you feel like you can't get out of the way, so you're trying to 'brace yourself' for when it hits you.
My life would be a whole lot easier (and more satisfying) if a train were going to hit me. But unfortunately short of a jet engine crushing me in my room, that's not really an option. It's actually incredibly hard to go through with killing yourself. I'm not saying that for attention or anything, btw. It's just one of those "Ok, whatever" facts of my existence. I've been living with it since primary school, which was probably when I gave up on life. My mum hated me, my dad scared me, my stepmother hated me, the teachers hated me, everyone at school hated me, my friends were few and unreliable (and turned on me because they hated me). When I get stressed out or overwhelmed it always comes straight back.

Originally Posted by BulletsAndDoves
What are they gonna do? Send you to prison for dropping out of school? lolololol
More like I get out of prison

The problem is my only places to live are with my dad, or with grandma. Mum is in another country (and for the next two years). Dad isn't a spectacular option because I don't want the pressure from him to Do Well. Grandma would almost be a good option, but she's over on the other side of the country, and you know who that's a really fucking painful option. But I guess it's workable.

And you know what?

Deep, deep down, past all the layers of feelings and obligations, I like being a lazy slug, and kind of a loser (and lol@that term, who cares (other than bitchy Beta NF girls (who admittedly can be very hot ))). I like being 12 stones and 8 pounds of grandma's cooking and not having an existential crisis over not being able to give a damn but being told that I have to.

And by who? Invisible voices in my goddamn head Isn't that a ridiculous joke?

24. You are confusing, you post a topic on wanting help with studying and then you confess you truely do not give a damn.... don't waste people's time please. I really don't care that much but its a bit perplexing... you need to figure out what you want to do with your life, and then do it. Its just that simple and everything trickles down from that top level. Once you have that clarity I think you'll be content.

25. Originally Posted by HaveLucidDreamz
This is very good HaveLucidDreamz. Very very good, IMO. I am proud of you. I have noticed that you tend to give a rather good advice. It is a pity I am not so well acquianted with your writings. I shall throw myself at reading some of your older posts eventually.

26. Originally Posted by HaveLucidDreamz
You are confusing, you post a topic on wanting help with studying and then you confess you truely do not give a damn.... don't waste people's time please. I really don't care that much but its a bit perplexing... you need to figure out what you want to do with your life, and then do it. Its just that simple and everything trickles down from that top level. Once you have that clarity I think you'll be content.
I'm wasting nobody's time. Don't accuse me of that. If you feel like your time has been wasted then that's your problem. Unfortunately I don't do refunds, but you can file a complaint and your feedback is of course valued.

At any rate, you're equivocating. I do give a damn about the study, so you're wrong there; where you're right is that I'm not entirely certain I care for struggling through yet another mangle of a system just to be ejected out the end, bloodied and brutalised, into YET ANOTHER ONE in which I will apparently spend the rest of my days simply trying to not have it DEVOURING THE REST OF MY LIIIIIIIIIIFE.

So okay, do you understand my disillusionment? It's like fuck, I struggled through highschool just BARELY, sustaining my agonising claw through with the promise that it would all be over at the end, and now you're telling me all the BS I waded through growing up is just the beginning?! Jumping Jehosephat, Almighty Above that's an inconceivable fate for me. That's the microcosmic equivalent of finding out what awaits you after death is being ejected from your mother's womb again. God.

I don't want to have to deal with things that aren't people. I want to live my life with nice concrete and reliable things that I understand and can interact with and rely on to behave predictably.

Anyway, this is how I think. I bounce ideas around inside my head and off other people.

I was also having a crisis yesterday brought on by test anxiety. My current state is vacillating between "I'm going to fail, give up now" and "I might just pass, and this is pretty interesting".

27. Lol no you aren't really wasting my time that much, like I said, I even don't understand why I said that, upon reading it, it does sound over dramatic.... I just really don't know what else to say on this topic *shrugs*. Like I said I can actually intensely relate to you on this matter, so I feel you should at least spend some time reading over what I said, whether you choose to accept its basic premise or reject it.

28. Accept. It's motivational, thanks

Vector question.

I need to prove that the orthogonal projection of b onto a (= b - proj_a b) is orthogonal to a. Special request that doesn't have to be humoured, do you mind not giving away the answer, and instead give me the bits and pieces I need to get there on my own? Whatever though, you're the tutor

29. First draw a diagram, vectors are all about spatial intelligence, very much like geometry. For this problem think triangles, its fancy trigonometry, vectors.

After you've figured out how the diagram looks, your task is to prove the orthogonal projection of b onto a given by formula ( = b -proj_ab) is indeed orthogonal to a.

This will have to be done formally with mathematics.

I think the easiest way to approach this is to write a condition for orthogonality and show that this condition is satisified.

An example condition is say.... when two vectors a and b undergo the scalar product operation they will be equal to zero if and only if they are orthogonal. In other words the dot product of a and b is zero when a and b are orthogonal. Or mathematically a * b = 0. Sometimes the magnitude of the dot product is written abcos(theta). This is common in intro physics. If you notice at 90 degress and 270 degrees cos(theta) is 0 and thus no matter the size or magnitude of a and b it will always be zero.

This is a useful condition in vector analysis to show orthogonality, but there are likely more conditions that could be used, creativity is the limit, in fact it may be interesting to think of another condition you could use such as |a x b| = |a||b| only when a and b are orthogonal. Try to think up many different conditions that when satisified prove that two vectors are orthogonal.

Once you've come up with a condition the only task that remains is to show that the thing which you are considering satisifies this condition.

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Structuring this problem I would

1) Draw a diagram and define anything that isn't immediately obvious

2) State a condition for orthogonality

3) Show the situation under consideration satisifies this condition and therefore is proven

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