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What's your mathematical story?

Kind of like my note "Improving at math", I want to hear from talented users about how they became so talented and why, where, when, and other stuff about it. Some things you can post are:

  • What got you started with math?

  • What interests you so much?

  • What math class are you in?

  • What are your test scores (AMC and the like)?

  • How well have you done at MATHCOUNTS (if applicable)?

  • Have you ever had somebody who's better than you in your school?

  • How exactly good are you at math? :D

Enjoy reading other people's stories as well!

Note by Finn Hulse
2 years, 7 months ago

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I have an interesting history with math, so I'm going to answer the questions.

\(\textit{What got you started with math?}\)

I've always been a numbers person. When I was young, and I mean young, I liked math because of all of the different things you could do with a couple symbols and some lines (algebra and geometry). I always understood math concepts because with math, it's really easy to go from one point to another, usually. My earliest memory of it is my kindergarten teacher explaining exponents to me as I stood in front of her, wide-eyed, as I learned you could multiply \(2\) by \(2,\) and then by \(2\) again!

\(\textit{What interests you so much?}\)

As I said, I like being able to get from point A to point B without an excess amount of whale poop. With math, if you say the curtains are blue, you know that the curtains are blue. End. Of. Story. I don't like having to say "Because the author says curtains, it implies secrecy, making it ironic with the comparison between the blue and the sky, which signifies openness and freedom."

\(\textit{What math class are you in?}\)

AB Calculus. It's the A-B-C of math, really.

\(\textit{What are your test scores?}\)

I don't really participate in math competitions as much as I should. This was my first year taking AMC seriously (practicing, learning NT, etc.) and I went 138-133.5 if I remember correctly, with an 8 on the AIME. I mostly participate in Mu Alpha Theta. One of my problems is that I tend to make a lot of stupid mistakes when I am under a time constraint. For example, in my rush to get to the harder questions, I made a stupid mistake on number 4 on the AMC-1 and number 9 on the AMC-2. But if you can avoid stupid mistakes, math compeitions become a lot easier.

\(\textit{Have you ever had somebody who's better than you in your school?}\)

There's always someone who's better than you. The challenge is getting yourself good enough to beat them and move on to the next guy.

\(\textit{How exactly good are you at math?}\)

Reasonably good, I think. I've gotten a lot better in the past year, but there are still a lot of people that are better than me. Just off the top of my head, Pi Han Goh, Daniel Chiu, Tunk Fey Ariawan, Cole Coupland, Michael Tang, and a lot of others. But I'm trying to get better and better to be as good as them. Trevor B. · 2 years, 7 months ago

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I don't particularly like to type a lot of writing, but I guess this won't require any use of LaTex. :P So don't expect it to be long. (y)

What got you started with math?

  • \(1+1 = 2\)

  • Hahaha, when I was a child, about 2-3 years old, I used to wonder why there were only 10 numbers, didn't know about 11, 12 and so on. I was curious about, I guess... how to represent numbers higher than 10.

What interests you so much?

  • A particular human that I love. Hahah, math related. Well, mathematics is somewhat a way to visualise things in a simpler way. I like how mathematics acts in our everyday lives and it is somewhat interesting in that sense too.

  • It started out simple, but once we started to build our mathematics, it produces complex and very profound results. \(e^{i\pi} = -1\). Like this one, Euler's Identity. Even though I've been exposed to \(e^{ix} = \cos x + i\sin x\) for about 3-4 years now. It still gives me the chills when I see it.

  • Another thing that interests me are the problems itself. I tried to prove Riemann Hypothesis, one of the most intriguing problem, it's so interesting how rigorous math can get to yet at the same time it just represents like some sort of a picture. (I'm still trying to prove it. :'))

What math class are you in?

  • By Australian standards, 3C/D, although my curiosity made me learn all the topics beforehand. Couldn't wait. Hahhaa. :P

What are your test scores?

  • Math competitions? They generally give you a certificate, not your score. So I generally get HD, but meh not a score but yeah, I guess that counts. :-| Other than that, school tests are pretty easy and not necessarily worth mentioning. Normally about 20% of the test has complex questions.

How well have you done at MATHCOUNTS?

  • I have no idea what that is...

Have you ever had somebody who's better than you in school?

  • Yeah probably, who knows. There might be a lot of people. :') I try my best and see how it goes.

How exactly good are you at math?

  • I'll be modest. :3 Uhh, I guess I'm alright. (y) Not too good, but not too bad. In the middle maybe.
Vishnuram Leonardodavinci · 2 years, 7 months ago

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@Vishnuram Leonardodavinci Thanks Mardokay Mosazghi · 2 years, 7 months ago

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Well, I consider Math to be an ever-expanding subject, with me learning about new concepts every day. I try my best to balance my studies, play and Math time. In school, me and my classmates have a sort-of 'Who can get the answer the fastest?' competition, where, well, the name says it all. This even pushes some of us to go on to the next chapter (not covered by the teacher) and finish all the sums at home! I like to read about different concepts. Just before my Math exam in school, I revised the whole book, including the deleted chapters and the ones from last semester. These practices give me a pretty good head-start. I don't consider myself particularly good at math- I still have a lot to learn. I've had an interest in math since I was young. In the U.S, I once used to have a best friend named Udit who was in my class. The teacher used to give us practice worksheets which we had to solve in 5 minutes. I was tied with him; when he cleared to the next worksheet, I did too. Then, I shifted to India and have been trying to get better at math the whole while. For practice, I use Fabian Ng's 'Maths Without Tears!' series and of course, Brilliant. I've got only one Lv 3 in Brilliant (Algebra) and feel that I can get MUCH better in the months and years to come. I live in India, so there's no MathCounts here, but I remember that I used to go for MathKangaroo in the U.S. Jay Steller · 2 years, 7 months ago

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@Jay Steller Yeah, I lived in Delhi for a while, and I toured all over Rajasthan. Cool! Finn Hulse · 2 years, 7 months ago

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@Finn Hulse I live in South India(Bangalore, Karnataka), Finn! Jay Steller · 2 years, 7 months ago

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@Jay Steller You're by nationality an American , is it? Krishna Ar · 2 years, 6 months ago

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@Krishna Ar Nope. Indian who was born in the U.S and came to India. Jay Steller is my net pseudonym. Jay Steller · 2 years, 5 months ago

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@Jay Steller Wicked! Finn Hulse · 2 years, 7 months ago

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I don't really consider myself to be that talented at math, but with the help of a friend I got pretty good. It started with my friend and I being pretty much evenly matched In everything we did in school and in extra-curricular activities. We later figured out, "wait a second, I want to win." So we started competing in subjects like math and science. Then my best friend/rival sadly moved to Wisconsin, and I moved to another school. There, it was quite a bit easier than my old school and I wasn't challenged whatsoever. Plus, there were no people like my best friend to challenge me, heck even the teachers were somewhat clueless. Then I decided to get into a program to challenge myself.(TVMSC- magnet school) There, it was and still is pretty challenging and has kids that I like to compete against. Most of them are pretty self-centered and never really had a rival. One of them literally described to me how when she was trying to explain a physics experiment about a hole through the earth a kid said that what she had described was bogus. She said she was mad because everyone basically on her bus thinks that she is the smartest on the bus except for that one kid. Also I think that she might have made me her rival because every time she says the answer in math when I'm just watching and thinking the same thing she says, "Ha Robert." I personally don't think that school should be so competitive but I guess that's just how some people are. I've never taken one of the AMC's but I got a 255 on the math ISAT in 6th grade. My best friend beat me by one point, but I beat him in the English and Reading ISATs. The funny thing was that the exact opposite happened at the start of the year ISATs. Anyway, that's my story and I now enjoy doing math and learning how things work. Robert Fritz · 2 years, 7 months ago

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@Robert Fritz Perfect! Thanks Robert! That's exactly what I was looking for!! So what math are you in? Finn Hulse · 2 years, 7 months ago

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@Finn Hulse Still in boring algebra 1, except my class has a teacher that sometimes gives us easy problems at the start of class, and right of the bat immensely challenging ones. That makes my class actually pretty fun! Robert Fritz · 2 years, 7 months ago

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i think, i hate math bcs of my math teacher ~_~ Lu'lu Aisy · 2 years, 7 months ago

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It all started in 3rd grade. I did my first math competition at that age, and I still remember the disaster that ensued. I had skipped problem 21, then wrote the answer to problem 22 in the box for 21. Then every single problem after that was wrong, since all my answers were shifted down one box. I got a 19 out of 40 on that test.

After that, I was determined to show my worth and not make such a silly mistake like that ever again, which was the reason I started to practice math. I've been practicing (very willingly, I learned to LOVE math) ever since, and now look where I am.

I was just a normal kid in 3rd grade, but now, I have become one of the top mathletes of my state. I made it into JMO this year (didn't make it last year because my AMC 10 score was too low, even though my AIME was 8), and made it into MathCounts Nationals the second time this year.

Of course, I am not the best at math. Namely, there is one kid who always beats me in math, who's name I will not disclose. He is a grade lower than me, but still beats me at almost every competition we go to. I fear (or hope, I guess) that he will be the second person in history to have made the Countdown round in MC Nats all three years. Having a rival like this is extremely helpful, as it gives me a reason to continue practicing.

Well, that's about all I can think of at the moment. :) Daniel Liu · 2 years, 7 months ago

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@Daniel Liu That's pretty amazing. ( pure determination) I remember that almost the same thing happened to me a while ago. Robert Fritz · 2 years, 7 months ago

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@Daniel Liu lol MIC 4 :P:P:P wish me luck on Masters btw MIC is Math is Cool, a WA local Competition. His name is He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. But my friend could beat him... :o TW2015 too good and god David Lee · 2 years, 5 months ago

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Well, I'm not talented user here so I have nothing to share. :D

But I'll answer a few of your questions Finn:

  • What got you started with math? When I was a child, my mom taught me how to count out loud from one to ten. :P

  • Have you ever had somebody who's better than you in your school? Always! In elementary school, high school, or even college there was always the best student but I always tried to 'beat' him. I love competition though. But if the 'somebody' is a girl, I won't do that. My father always said, "never ever do a bad thing to a girl". :D

  • How exactly good are you at math? From 1 to 10, Hhmmm... 3 or maybe lower.

I think my math story wouldn't be complete yet if I didn't share this one:

I always like when I solved problem given by my teacher and step in front of class to show it to everyone else. It feels like I am the smartest student entire class. Please, don't ever think that as show off. I just love it! (^_^)

This is how I love math

This is how I love math

Tunk-Fey Ariawan · 2 years, 7 months ago

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@Tunk-Fey Ariawan ..... Did you go to Harvard!!?? How were you not the best in your class. Kids at one of my schools are still stuck at fractions. Also, I always hear a kid shout out the answer to an easy math problem, like maybe a multiplication problem. The reason for this is because that person beliefs him/her to have that level and think that to be impressive so he/she shouts out the answer. At least that's my theory. Anyway, you are talented! Robert Fritz · 2 years, 7 months ago

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@Robert Fritz Yeah. Some students in my "Gifted" class don't know that a fraction is a division. It's pretty funny. And they get confused whether adding 2 negatives is positive or multiplying 2 negatives is positive. It's really funny and annoying. :D Finn Hulse · 2 years, 7 months ago

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@Finn Hulse Be careful, sometimes they just cannot "link" everything together but someday when they actually "got it", they'll be studying rocket science... Christopher Boo · 2 years, 7 months ago

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@Tunk-Fey Ariawan Tunk-Fey, you are immensely talented. Just read your solution to Rolling Ball. I mean, I could never understand that in a million years. But I also really love standing up in front of the class and walking through a problem. :D Finn Hulse · 2 years, 7 months ago

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@Tunk-Fey Ariawan You think you are not talented!!!!!?..you are level 5 at almost everything:D.. Mahdi Al-kawaz · 2 years, 7 months ago

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Going to University of British Columbia right now and got 100% on Calculus 1 and 2 which was really easy. However for calculus 3 and 4 I got 99% for both. The reason why it was so easy is because Im already 2 years ahead of them lol and same goes for Physics i got 100% for physics part 1 and part 2. Pretty much my GPA in UBC is 4.33 which is the max. Nasib Abdul · 1 year, 8 months ago

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AoPS has started me in math. AoPS interests me most. I take the equivalent to gifted 7th grade. AMC 10 A:127.5 B:136.5 AIME: 4 derp MC States: took at home (5th grade), 32 Not at my school, but yes, and there still is: my friend who got 10 on AIME, easily making JMO. David Lee · 2 years, 5 months ago

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I really suck at math. As to what got me started with math, it's about battling myself. Hehe, kinda cheesy I know. I don't want to be like this forever. I'm slowly improving and I'm linking it :) Joshua Mariano · 2 years, 6 months ago

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Comment deleted Feb 06, 2015

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@Michael Mendrin When did you shake hands with Feynman? And you are very smart! Everybody says they're not, but most of them are! :D Finn Hulse · 2 years, 6 months ago

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@Finn Hulse A few of us in high school were invited to Cal Tech and we attended a lecture given by Feynman, and afterwards, we met him personally. Little did I know then that he'd be one of the top 10 physicists of all time. The more I read his works, the more impressed I became. Michael Mendrin · 2 years, 6 months ago

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@Michael Mendrin What college did you go to and what did you major in? Business? Finn Hulse · 2 years, 6 months ago

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@Finn Hulse I majored in physics, of course. At UCLA. But I ended up working for my father, who was having troubles in his construction business. Since then, I've had the opportunity to get involved in things like image processing technology, particularly for the broadcasting industry.

Had my life gone differently, I would have been much happier if I could have ended up at the team working at CERN. But at least I don't have to worry about paying the bills now. Michael Mendrin · 2 years, 6 months ago

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I started with Maths when I was not even two years old. My mom and my grand mom taught me to write from 0 to 9.

I am interested in Maths because I think that the universe is scientific ( I am an atheist). I know that Maths is the mother of science, so when I study Maths, I think that I am actually studying the universe.

I have Olympiad classes for F3-F5 (grade 9-11) when I was 13 until now ( i am 14 years old, I faked my age to have a Facebook account)

I excelled in the AMC 2013. I got a medal and the Peter O' Halloran Award (perfect score). If you don't believe, just search for the AMC results :-)

I never encounter a better student who is better than me in Maths in school. When I was primary school at P5 ( grade 5), there was a Maths competition in school. In 100 questions, I got 82 correct. The second place got 61 correct. Even some of the teachers couldn't beat me. Now I am in secondary school and I will tell you just one thing: I have two nicknames in school: Maths God and Mathenori. This doesn't mean that I have never seen a person better than me. Zi Song Y., who is F1 ( grade 7) this year, can beat me in secondary school Olympiad Maths.

Well I don't know how good am I exactly, but I studied calculus since I was 11 years old... Takeda Shigenori · 2 years, 7 months ago

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@Takeda Shigenori Finn meant the American Mathematics Competition,not the Australian Mathematics Competition.... Tan Li Xuan · 2 years, 7 months ago

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@Tan Li Xuan Yeah. Haha, there's an AMC in Australia? Did not know that. :D Finn Hulse · 2 years, 7 months ago

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I'm not very talented at maths but I guess I'll just share my story as well.

  • What got you started with math?

My parents taught me to count from 1 to 20 using flash cards when I was a toddler :P

  • What interests you so much?

One of the things that interests me is the wide range of possible applications of mathematics(in engineering,physics and others)

  • What math class are you in?

I'm not sure about this because I live in Malaysia.However,I have mastered most of the 8th grade skills in Khan Academy.

  • What are your test scores(AMC and the like) ?

Again,I'm not sure where I stand because I live in Malaysia,but I scored 39/40 on the International Competitions and Assessments for School (Mathematics) last year.

  • How well have you done at MATHCOUNTS?

I dunno....

  • Have you ever had somebody who's better than you in your school?

Definitely! I got second place when I was in Standard 1( 7 years old) and I only got a Gold Medal in MASMO while another student got a Perfect Score.I lost by one point in both cases :(

  • How exactly good are you at math?

That's hard to say,but on a scale of 1 to 10 I'd probably be 2 or 3.

And I'm not 16 years old, I'm actually 12.(To Brilliant staff) If it is possible,please help me change my age.Thanks! Tan Li Xuan · 2 years, 7 months ago

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