استفاده و سوء استفاده از فرمولها
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The Use and Abuse of Formulas
The use and abuse of formulas. In other words, in this lesson, I’m going to talk about what is helpful about math formulas and what is not so helpful about math formulas. So, fact one. In the course of these math lessons, you will encounter many formulas. These formulas, used correctly, can help you on the Quant section, that’s absolutely true.
Fact two, memorizing formulas and plugging into them does not constitute mathematical understanding. In other words, if you are just using formulas, you are not really doing math in the proper sense of the word. Fact three, the test cares about your mathematical and logical understanding. It doesn’t really care about your ability to memorize and plug into formulas.
To that end, the Quant section regularly presents questions that are specifically designed to trick and/or frustrate folks who rely primarily on formulas. Conclusion, don’t make learn all the formulas your only math strategy, or even a large part of your math strategy. Learning all the formulas, including how to use them, probably constitutes between 5% and 10% of the math you actually need to learn and understand for the test.
Some students, recognizing the power of formulas to simplify some easier problems, overestimate their importance. They think, boy, if I have a list of formulas then I really know all the math. These formulas mistakenly think of math formulas as magic bullets which will help them solve any test problem. The folks who write the test recognize this and specifically design questions to punish folks who are too reliant on formulas.
What should you do? In the course of these lessons, notice what I choose to emphasize. At times, I will discuss and recommend a formula in a particular context, but I also criticize formulas and point out their limitations. Many of the math lessons emphasize the logic of the mathematical situation. That kind of thinking is precisely what the test evaluates and rewards.
Not just do you have a formula memorized, but can you think through the mathematical logic, from the definitions to their conclusions. Very important. Beware of the temptation to overvalue formulas. Some formulas are very helpful, some are only moderately so, and some are positively harmful.
So understand, I’m not saying that all formulas are bad. Yes, they have a place. Yes, in specific contexts, they’re helpful. But they’re not the whole story. They’re not even close to the whole story. Do not focus on learning all the formulas.
That should not be your primary focus. Instead, focus on understanding the mathematical logic of each topic.
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