The Greatest Educational Life Hack: Learning Math Ahead of Time

by Justin Skycak on

Learning math early guards you against numerous academic risks and opens all kinds of doors to career opportunities.

Why learn math ahead of time?

Because it guards you against numerous academic risks and opens all kinds of doors to career opportunities.

Minimizing Risk

You know how, when you take a language class, there’s often a couple kids who speak the language at home and think the class is super easy?

You can do that with math.

When you pre-learn the material in a math course before taking it at school or college, you’re basically guaranteed an A in the class.

You guard yourself against all sorts of risks such as the course

  • moving too quickly,
  • brushing over concepts,
  • explaining things poorly,
  • assuming knowledge of important but frequently missing prerequisite material,
  • not offering enough practice opportunities,
  • ...

There are a hundred different ways to teach a class poorly, and most classes suffer in at least a handful of those aspects.

This is especially helpful at university, when lectures are often unsuitable for a first introduction to a topic.

But if you pre-learn the material, you’re not depending on the teacher to teach it to you, which means you’re immune to even the worst teaching.

Opening Doors

Of course, the natural objection is “won’t you be bored in class?” – but if you do super well in advanced classes, especially at university, then that opens all kinds of doors to recommendations for internships, research projects with professors, etc.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing super well because you’re learning in real-time or because you pre-learned the material.

When you blow a course out of the water while also interacting with the professor, that sets you up for a great recommendation letter – which is vital not just for high schoolers applying to college, but also for college students applying to summer research programs and graduate schools.

Plus, it can open the door to working on a research project with the professor, or having them connect you to jobs, internships, and other opportunities with people in their network.

Basically, you can use pre-learning to kick off a virtuous cycle.

Even if you aren’t a genius, you appear to be one in everyone else’s eyes, and consequently you get a ticket to those opportunities reserved for top students.

Students who receive and capitalize on these opportunities can launch themselves into some of the most interesting, meaningful, and lucrative careers that are notoriously difficult to break into.

Maximizing Reward

Learning math early also gives students the opportunity to delve into a wide variety of specialized fields that are usually reserved for graduates with strong mathematical foundations.

This fast-tracks students towards discovering their passions, developing valuable skills in those domains, and making professional contributions early in their careers, which ultimately leads to higher levels of career accomplishment.

And while it’s true that students don’t need to know much beyond algebra to get a job in fields like computer science, medicine, etc. – the people in such fields who do also know advanced math are extra valuable and in demand because they can work on projects that combine domain expertise and math.