The thought of self-studying geometry may sound outrageous to some people because the general assumption is that you need a classroom and teacher to learn. But the internet has made everything possible, and all you need to self-learn geometry is self-discipline, motivation, and the right studying techniques.
You can teach yourself geometry if you master the prerequisites, use a syllabus, have the right resources, get a study buddy, use concept and not rote learning, organize your study materials, allocate time to learn new concepts and time to practice, develop deep work habits, and practice better.
In the rest of this article, we’ll discuss the above tips in detail to demonstrate that you teach yourself geometry with the right methods and mindset. Let’s get started, shall we?
Master the Prerequisites to Understanding Geometry
Before you delve into studying geometry on your own, you need to build baseline knowledge by familiarizing yourself with the prerequisites for understanding the subject.
Basically, these are skills and knowledge you’re expected to already have mastered before you begin studying geometry. Typical examples include arithmetic, ratios, and proportions, working with lines, solving linear equations, and much more (click here for the full list of the required skills).
In addition to the prerequisite skills, you might also want to identify topics that are related to geometry and familiarize yourself with the most relevant ones.
In a class setting, the chapters are usually arranged in such a way that before you get to geometry, you’ve already covered all the topics related to it. If you go to school and are simply studying geometry on your own to hone your skills, chances are you’ve already covered such topics, so no need to worry.
But if you’re taking the DIY approach to learning, you need to organize everything on your own, and that brings us to the next course of action: finding a syllabus.
Find a Ready Syllabus to Save You Time
You always turn to Google Maps whenever you get lost, right? In the same way, you need a roadmap to guide you when self-studying geometry. This way, you’ll avoid repeating topics you’ve already learned and ensure that you cover the prerequisite knowledge for each geometry subtopic before you get to it.
Luckily, it’s easy to find a syllabus online regardless of your level of study. Simply check with sites like Khan academy, Myfunscience, and Udemy. Usually, these education providers have experts design their curriculums to help students learn in a systematic way, and you can take advantage of this to add organization to your studies.
Gather the Necessary Resources for Studying Geometry
When self-learning geometry, it helps to have the right resources like Solved Problems books, solution manuals, and other reference materials. With these, you’ll minimize the need to consult a tutor whenever you get stuck.
If you don’t have such resources at home, you can always use online resources. Homeschool Math, for instance, provides everything you’ll need to understand geometry, from books to tutorials.
Whichever resource type you choose, be sure to look for study materials that have challenging problems, concise and straight-forward discussions, and easy-to-understand problem-solving techniques.
Consider Getting a Study Buddy
Self-learning geometry doesn’t mean that you have to take on complex math problems by yourself. It helps to have a friend to study with. This way, you’ll have someone to discuss complex math problems with whenever you get stuck, not to mention how great it would be for motivation.
Finding a study buddy is pretty easy if you go to school. If you can’t find one nearby, consider checking online forums; chances are you’re not the only one grappling with self-studying geometry.
Prioritize Concept-Learning Over Rote Learning
With rote learning, you only concentrate on cramming the solutions and not understanding the concepts behind them. It’s certainly an appealing way for those looking for shortcuts to pass exams because it encourages memorization rather than deep understanding.
But while rote learning might work for other subjects (especially those that involve a lot of theory), it won’t cut it for math, and certainly not geometry. You need to understand why a particular problem is solved in a certain way, and this calls for concept learning.
Organize Your Study Materials, Putting Links at a Single Place
Developing good study habits is essential in self-learning, and being organized is critical to that. If you organize your reading materials and links in a single file, they’ll be easier to access, and you’ll eliminate the frustrations of having to look for everything whenever you want to study.
You can organize all your physical study materials such as drawing books, rulers, protractors, and compasses into a study kit that can be kept securely in the drawer of your study table for easy access. As for online resources, you can create a shortcut for all the links you often use or simply bookmark them, so they’re accessible with a few clicks.
Have Time to Study and Time to Solve Problems
Sure, you need to study to understand the various geometry concepts. But more importantly (and this goes for all math topics), you need to practice what you’ve learned.
So when crafting your study timetable, you might want to set aside adequate time for studying and practice. While you’re at it, be sure to set some goals for each session, preferably SMART ones.
This way, you’ll have enough time to absorb new concepts and practice the ones you’ve already studied, as well as a way to track your progress.
Develop Deep Work Habits
By deep work habits, we simply mean avoiding any form of distractions when studying. Whether external or internal (AKA getting lost in your thoughts), distractions can work against your efforts to understand geometry and any other math topic for that matter.
Essentially, geometry concepts require keen attention to grasp, so staying focused is critical. By deliberately focusing on a task at hand, you’ll improve your chances of remembering what you’ve learned later on because memory is highly dependent on attention.
If you’re struggling to stay focused, try the following tricks:
- Drink a latte. Coffee has numerous health benefits, and among them is improving brain function.
- Meditate. Meditation improves attention and can be a handy way to relieve yourself of the stress of self-learning geometry.
- Take a break. Everyone has their own attention span, which is basically the longest you can stay focused on something. So if you’ve been studying for a while and notice that you keep getting distracted, chances are you’ve reached your attention threshold, and your brain needs a break.
Avoid the ‘Practice, Practice’ Mantra
‘Practice, Practice, and Practice some more’ is a piece of common advice given to students studying geometry and other mathematical concepts. But the truth is, you don’t need more time to practice, you just need to practice better. So when self-studying geometry, differentiate between unproductive and productive practices.
How do you know if your study methods are productive, you ask?
Simple, your practices are unproductive if you:
- keep doing the same thing over and over
- don’t frequently study in a week (aim for 3-4 sessions per week)
- always try to learn too much in a single session that you can’t remember everything
If you’re a culprit of any of the above unproductive habits, you need to adopt smart and productive studying methods by:
- Evenly spreading your practice activities throughout the day and week. This way, you’ll spit your workload into smaller, more manageable parts.
- Ensuring that you fully grasp a particular concept before moving to the next. Once you’ve understood a particular concept (no matter how small), make a habit of solving a few math problems related to it before moving on to the next. This will allow what you learn to sink before your brain has to learn something else new, which is great for memory.
- Before you begin studying a new subtopic, always review the previous one. Often, what you study today in geometry will build on what you learned yesterday, and reviewing your notes beforehand will put you in a better position to understand everything.
That does it for today’s post. Hopefully, you’ll be able to leverage the above tips to disprove the general assumption that self-studying geometry is virtually impossible. Good luck!
- One Mathematical Cat: Geometry
- Math: Proportion
- Wikipedia: Ratio
- Wikipedia: Rote Learning
- Wikipedia: Arithmetic
- Wolfram Mathworld: Analytic Geometry
- Wolfram Mathworld: Trigonometry
- Google: Maps
- Wikipedia: Syllabus
- Wikipedia: Motivation
- HomeschoolMath.net: Online Resources for Geometry
- Udemy: Master the Fundamentals of Geometry
- Universal Class: Class Syllabus: Geometry 101: Beginner to Immediate Level
- Khan Academy: High School Geometry
- My Fun Science: Geometry