I realized I liked math when I was in 2nd grade. My teacher gave our class a sheet of 100 addition and subtraction problems to do in five minutes. She told us to do as many as we could. I finished the whole sheet with a couple minutes left to spare and I even had time to check over all of the problems. I got every single problem right, and I was really proud of that. From then on I knew I was good at math and it was probably my favorite subject. In elementary school I could figure out the answers to math problems a lot quicker than anyone else. The teacher stopped calling on me because I answered too many questions. I had fun trying to solve problems as quickly as I could.
In 5th grade, we took the Math Olympiads. I did very well on them the whole year, and I was one of the three finalists in my school. The three of us took one last Math Olympiad, and whoever did the best would be the winner. I did the best and won the Math Olympiad contest! I was really proud and I got a trophy for winning.
In 6th grade I was in the high math class, and I realized that there were a lot of people better at math than me. My elementary school, Sugartown, didn’t have many people in the class, it comprised mostly of kids from K.D. Markley and Charlestown. I was slightly discouraged because of that, and also because of the new concepts we learned. I was confused at first, but eventually I started to do really well again.
In 7th and 8th grade we did the same subjects in math class and I did pretty well. Word problems gave me the most trouble, I wasn’t very good at setting them up and telling the difference between the different types of word problems. Everything else was very easy for me. I wanted to do better on word problems however because they serve the most real life application.
In 9th grade geometry was very easy for me. I found that proving something about two shapes was very easy. They were almost like word problems, but for some reason I understood them a lot better. I think it was because there was a picture always drawn out for you, so it was easy for me to visualize. Geometry was pretty fun for me.
In 10th grade math became harder, but I still did well. The pre-calculus section and the word problems were the hardest things for me. They baffled me most of the time, though everything else was once again easy for me. I am just not that great at solving word problems. The calculus part was hard for me to grasp at first, I didn’t know what it all meant and how you could apply it to real life.
In 11th grade BC Calculus was very hard for me at first. I struggled with all of the homework and only pulled B’s on the quizzes and tests. There were a lot of word problems and that was a problem for me. Calculus seemed to be almost all word problems after you learned the basic concept in the section. I worked hard during the year and I eventually started to better. Each marking period my grade went up. Around the time of the AP test, we took a practice test to see how we were doing. I did pretty badly, only getting a two on the practice test. The weekend before the test, I reviewed all of the practice material we had for hours. I really wanted to made sure I got a three. All I wanted was to get a three and pass. I took the test and I thought it was really hard, I thought if I would be really lucky I could get a three. In the summer when I got my results in the mail, I read my results and somehow I got a five! I couldn’t believe it, I thought they gave me someone else’s score. I understood calculus better than I thought I did.
I use math when I play poker. When you play, it’s very important to count how many “outs” you have, or cards left in the deck that would give you the winning hand. You have to compare the size of the pot to how many odds you have left to figure out whether you should fold, check, call, bet, or raise. I’m trying to get faster at calculating all of that stuff; I am still a little slow. It can become tricky calculating everything because you have to keep in mind that some cards that you consider outs can really give your opponent a better hand. I think it is fun to calculate the numbers to give yourself the best chance of winning in the long run.
I keep track of data when I do football picks every week. I try to look for trends to figure out which team will win. I look back at previous season and the current seasons and look at how teams did at home and away, against teams with similar records, how the team did against the line, and that sort of stuff. I kept track of a lot of statistics last year to aid with my picks. I enjoy math for the most part and I try to apply it to my everyday life.