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Readers Respond: Should Math Formulas be Given to Students for Tests?

Responses: 73


Apples and Oranges pretty much sums up the standardized tests and the use of formulas. Sometimes cheat sheets with formulas are provided and sometimes they're not. Should students just be given a list of formulas for tests? Should they really have to memorize them? If so, which ones? How many? Formulas can be looked up from a variety of sources and are readily accessible. Then again, is it worthwhile knowing some of the more important ones? Where do you stand?


formulas should be provided for the purpose applying your knowledge and understanding to the given sum using the formulas
—Guest Thulani

the purporse of mathematics

The purpose of teaching us math beyond the basics is for logic. There is no reason for the majority of the math I've learned in life. The reason we learn things we don't need is to round ourselves, understand the world. So when rather than understanding math, we memorize it, learning it at all is useless. Formula's were made to put numbers into to get an answer, rather than having to find it by other means. They're a resource, not a lesson. Also to be clear, kids say that without them math would be too easy. But really, learning is meant for understanding, not for the sole purpose of a challenge. We educate everyone because knowledge is good, we don't do it to make their lives harder.
—Guest Rolland sharwama

Maths should simply be tha concepts...

I think anyone can remember and do maths , simply if they understand the basic concept. Maths are around us . Look and understand it not memorize it.
—Guest Amutha


But i believe that they should be given the formulas for the CST,ACT,SAT or like a final exam. But for a regular chapter test no, because they should have just study harder.

No way

I can't tell you how many formulas I've memorize over the years and then forgotton. What a waste of time! It's better to be able to use them in context and understand the answer.
—Guest MBA

Not the basics

Formula(s) should be given from which a student should choose from, but not the basic for a test. Memorization is good for it sharpen the memory of students on the basic formula for a test.
—Guest Silas

math formulas

There are so many ways to skin the cat, the formula is only one way, why not it be served as a hint?
—Guest leon

context matters

The only use of memorization is to have quick access to a resource when needed. It is critical for formulas to be memorized for larger blocks of critical data, as memory will then store it as a single block. A human mind is limited in how much blocks it can utilize at one time, so by compressing the formulas in memory, you can deal with problems of larger complexity, whereas otherwise you would be overwhelmed. As in any profession, you must memorize complex blocks so that you are efficient. In all things being equal, the hard part is memorization, knowing is easy. Once the formulas dissolve into memory, and be known, they are very easy to utilize, and no longer give frustration nor headache. But I must admit, memorization is not as easy as professors make it out to be. Especially if you tag it as useless, which is the natural human response. I believe there are psychological factors to memorization, and being forced to memorize is a form of abuse, but that is just a theory.
—Guest Theoretician


It's better to familiarize and understand the concept of the formula, and much better if you learn the derivation.
—Guest zikersp

Should math formulars be given to studen

No. Let's study and study hard. Math takes a lot of practise and dedication. I can tell because I am seeing progress with my math.
—Guest Debra Richardson

Why waste your memory space memorizing?

The teachers should provide cheat sheets with all the needed formulas listed. In the real world you don't need to remember all the formulas known to man. You just look them up on the internet. I don't think kids should have to memorize unecessary things that are not needed to do your everyday job.
—Guest rachel

Maths Formulas

Formulas should be given to students due to the fact that they need practice to achieve what they want for the future instead of slagging off.
—Guest Lily

Common sense

I have found that even with being given formulas, when a student does not understand the concepts, they will not be of any assistance. I give most formulas but without any explanation. The student needs to know what the formula is called, used for and what values to use in it.
—Guest pongz

Lasting value is in the application ...

The essence of mathematics is the 'broadening and sharpening of skills' by using one's understandings. A mere tiny part of the brain is sharpened through memorisation, although another little part does add the feel-good touch. In short, if assessing application, a full set of formulae should be supplied with students then required to comprehend the problem, select and accurately apply the appropriate formula/e.
—Guest Doc

Formulas, whichone

I say it's ok to memorize formulas, but the key is know when to use it.
—Guest mixed up
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