Studying (math focus)

This winter I’ve been teaching math with my dad (how lucky to get to try that!). In his teaching, he stresses the importance of reading. When we are young the majority of the math books are problems to solve. We learn that math is about solving problems. Later on, the textbooks change and become more and more text. This is when more people start having a problem with math. By only trying to solve the problems, first of all, the majority of the book is skipped (ever read one-third of a history book and expected to do well?). Secondly, it’s as hard as trying to read the text in a foreign language without learning the words first. Intuition can help to understand things, but there is no intuition for knowing that a right angle is 90° or that a rectangle has four right angles or what absolute value is. It’s just a concept to learn and memorize. I was teaching 12-year-old girl math and asked her what she did if she didn’t know or remember some math concept. She was not sure. Then I asked her what she did if she didn’t know some word in English. The answer was easy, look it up and repeat it 100 times!

“Look it up and repeat it 100 times!”


Being on the other side of the table, now teaching, has made me think a lot about how to study. I already wrote one article before about studying (Studying vs studying) so I had given this some thought but this time I am focusing more on math and the overall studying process, step by step. I gave a lecture about it to our students and they were happy about having this discussion. It also helped later on when I could remind them of this tip or that tool that would help them in some situations. Here is the summary of my thoughts:

I decided to divide the studying process into

READ -> UNDERSTAND -> REMEMBER -> USE

These steps don’t happen completely linearly, they mix but what is sure is that you have to start by reading(or hearing) the material and the main goal is to be able to use it. For each step, I will give a few points and thoughts on how to make it easier and more effective.

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My advice to incoming University Students

August has always been a special month to me for various reasons. It includes my birthday, and for the past 20 years, mid-August has been the time of excitement and new beginnings, the start of a new school year! This is the first time in twenty years that I will not be attending school. It feels weird, but at the same time, it feels good.
From my twenty-year experience of attending school, thereof six years of University, I have developed my studying skills and learned to make the most of the University years. In this blog, I will share with you some of the things I wish I had known at the start of my University journey.

Make connections

The University is as much a place to network and make connections with people as it is to learn. In University, you have access to great professors in your field, as well as many of the future leaders of the profession, so make sure you get to know your teachers and fellow students. A good relationship with your teachers can be valuable when you need recommendations for scholarships, further studies or a job. Your relationship with classmates might lead to job opportunities as they might recommend you for their new job or have you in mind as a part of their new start-up. But how to make connections and build relationships in University? I have two easy tips for you.

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You are enough

July is upon us, and the summer in Iceland continues to give us endless beautiful rainy days. The school has ended and this semester was my final semester in computer science at Reykjavík University. This last semester was very challenging, and I wanted to share my experience over the final months of my studies.

Being confident and mentally strong has been a challenge throughout my studies, constantly doubting my abilities and skills in comparison to other students. The first month of the semester I completely lost track of my workload. I realized at the end of the month that I had assigned myself with more projects and courses than I could manage. Organizing my time and the things I need to get done has always been one of my strengths when it comes to studying. After a couple of weeks, I started to feel that strength slowly slipping away when I realized that I had no time to do anything else but to study and prepare my teaching.

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Semester abroad

This semester I decided to do an exchange study in Denmark. This was something I had been planning on doing for quite some time and Aarhus had always been at the forefront of my mind.

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On my last year of my Bachelor, here I am. Not that far from home and not actually having a tremendous culture shock but still learning and having new experiences.

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New country, new school

I have been studying Computer Science at Reykjavik University for two years now. This month, I started my 3rd and final year of my Bachelor degree, but in Sweden. I am starting my semester as an exchange student in The Royal Institute Of Technology in Stockholm.

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Currently, Stockholm is the home for 100,000 students. There are 18 universities in Stockholm and KTH has the highest number of international students. The social life at the school is quite different than at home. There are many traditions here that I find interesting.

There is one big organization called, THS which is the student union for KTH. THS contains 21 chapters which separate by different study programs at KTH. The chapters have their private facilities at the KTH campus, and they offer microwaves, a place to eat, study area and a pub. In my first week here in Stockholm, before the school started, I noticed some people in colorful trousers or long black dress suit jackets wearing fancy hats with a tail. The trousers and the jacket were most of the time filled with batches that they have gained or collected somehow. A group of first-year bachelor students followed these students wearing some hats, sweatband, signs or baseball caps. I asked a Swedish student about this tradition, and she explained to me that the trousers or jackets are for the students that are members of the chapters. The trousers are in different colors which represent different chapters. For example, the computer science chapter wears pink trousers. When they go for example to some event or party, they have to do some tasks to earn those batches.

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