Browsing category reader questions

How to ask for help

This post is a slight departure from the usual fare from Flying Colours HQ - more about personal development than about maths. But it's still useful for your maths: today, children, we'll be looking at effective ways of asking people to help you. In particular, if you're asking for my

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How do I estimate?

A reader asks: There are some confusing questions in my maths textbooks. There is one question asking me to estimate the answers to the following maths problems but it doesn't say whether we need to round the numbers to decimal places, or significant figures. So, I'd like to ask for

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Tamil Fractions

A friend asks for REASONS: THAERTTHUGAL n. The smallest named fraction in the ancient Tamil language = 1/2323824530227200000000. — The QI Elves (@qikipedia) April 7, 2014 A who to the what now? A twelve-letter word, a thaerrhugaL, representing a number somewhere in the region of twenty-three ninety-ninths of a sextillionth.

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A student asks: why do you love maths so much?

A question I don't remember ever having been asked before: Why do you love maths so much? It's a really hard question to answer - if you asked someone why they like music or football, they'd probably shrug and say 'I just do!' There are loads of things I love

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A student asks: what’s it like to do a maths degree?

A student asks: I'm currently studying further maths A-level - and I love it! I want to obtain a degree in it. Could you provide an insight into what it's like? I'm happy to share my experiences, although they're probably specific to St Andrews, for me, in the late 90s

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A student asks… I need to get my grade up: HELP!

A student asks: I'm currently getting a G in maths and I need to get a C within 6 months - what am I going to do? Help! I wish I had a magic bullet for you, but I'm afraid the bad news is you'll need to work quite hard

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When BIDMAS goes bad

A reader asks: "When you're working out an expression, why do you sometimes divide after you multiply, when the BIDMAS rules say D comes before M?" This is exactly the reason I don't like BIDMAS - because it suggests something that simply isn't true (that division is before multiplication and

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When BIDMAS goes bad

A reader asks: "When you're working out an expression, why do you sometimes divide after you multiply, when the BIDMAS rules say D comes before M?" This is exactly the reason I don't like BIDMAS - because it suggests something that simply isn't true (that division is before multiplication and

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A reader asks: why does $1+1=2$?

A question from my Uncle Bill, who's one of my great heroes and a philosopher of some standing: How does one get from 1 to 2 other than saying by diktat that 2 is the name we give to 1+1? Now, I'm far from the world's greatest expert on the

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A reader asks: how long would you last in a casino?

Imagine you go to the casino with $100 in one-dollar chips and decide to play the roulette wheel. You've nothing better to do; you can stay there as long as you have chips left. How long can you expect to carry on playing? Let's pick on the 50-50 bets (such

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I teach in my home in Abbotsbury Road, Weymouth.

It's a 15-minute walk from Weymouth station, and it's on bus routes 3, 8 and X53. On-road parking is available nearby.

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