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Reading Maths


How you read the units is something you have to determine yourself. Here I am going to outline an approach that works for many people.

Start by checking the contents list and any study guide at the start of the unit.
  • Skim read the first section to get a feel for the type of content and how familiar you are with it. (You may find you cannot get very far because the material gets too involved. If this happens stop!) This will help you to gauge how long you may need to spend on this section and may help you plan your study time more effectively.
  • Reread the first section with reasonable care.
    • Take note of any new words (or familiar words used in a precise or technical way) and reflect on them particularly in relation to ideas with which you are already familiar.
    • Ask yourself questions about the text.
    • Avoid getting bogged down in detailed calculations or proofs at this stage. If you get stuck, try some of the ideas in the Solving Problems section or contact your tutor for help.
    • Do have a go at the activities and check your response with that provided.
  • Repeat with each section.
  • Attempt any end of unit activities.
  • If you have time, revisit areas of difficulty and have another go at activities you had trouble with the first time through.

To indicate what we mean by reading with reasonable care, we have devised two activities based on two extracts on Taylor polynomials from one of our early courses. Don't worry if you have not met Taylor polynomials, or cannot remember much about them, as the extracts only require some understanding of elementary calculus.