Writing Every Step

In Vohra Method Math training, you're going to learn how important steps are for intense mathematics. Many of you guys think that only the answer matters. That's because you, unfortunately, got math advice from eighth graders, who are known to be foolish.

First fact: In advanced math, all you do is the steps. The answer is given. Math is literally just filling in the steps. For example, everyone knew that Fermat's last theorem was true. They knew the answer. But it took centuries to find the steps.

Second fact: Writing out your steps makes your work more accurate. When you do steps in your head, the probability of error massively increases. Here's why. Your brain can hold about 7 pieces of information in working memory. When those spaces get filled, your brain can no longer focus on checking for errors. 

On the other hand, when you write your steps out, dramatically decrease your chances of making a mistake. For example, take any simple two-step equation. Write out all the steps, but try to get one wrong. You have to concentrate hard to make an error. Writing out steps makes errors nearly impossible. 

I know in your school math classes, accuracy might not matter that much since they give you partial credit. You can get the answer wrong, but still get 9 points out of 10. But, that isn't how the real world works. If you make a math error, you get the Challenger disaster. Wrong math is just wrong.

Furthermore, that definitely isn't how the SAT works. If you make a silly mistake, your wrong answer will probably be one of the multiple choice answers. That's how they create the wrong answer choices - they write the result of a common careless mistake. The only way to get a perfect score is to make zero mistakes.

Third fact: Writing your steps is faster. That seems counterintuitive. Let's look at what actually happens. 

When you do problems in your head, your brain has to use all of its bandwidth on the problem. It stops keeping track of time. So to you, it seems like zero seconds pass.

Unfortunately for you, the clock still keeps track of time. 

One of the main reasons I finished the GRE and GMAT over an hour early with perfect scores is that I wrote out every step of every math problem. While other people were doing stuff in their head, thinking it would be faster, I wrote everything down. It was actually faster, and it was more accurate. 

Fourth Fact: At Vohra, you need to find the most efficient solution. We need to be able to verify that.

If you solve a problem in 5 steps, but we can solve it in 4, you're still not done. You need to figure out how to do the problem in 4 steps.

By the way, it's not usually 5 steps versus 4. It's usually 50 steps versus 3. When you do 50 steps instead of 3, it takes longer, and you have a much higher chance of making an error. To help you get a perfect score, we make sure you use the most reliable and efficient methods possible.

Final Fact: The math curves on the SAT are brutal. Missing 2 questions can bring you from an 800 to a 750. There is no room for error. You must be able to do a thousand math steps in a row with no error. That comes from writing out your steps, not doing them in your head.

If you have any questions about all this, feel free to email us.

Guessing Makes You Smarter