It’s foolish to wear yourself out with work. (Ecclesiastes 10:15, explained by Pastor Rick Warren)

Pastor Rick Warren is a Christian writer that I respect a lot. I read his groundbreaking and life changing book “The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?” when I was a teenager. It is one of my favorite Christian books, along with Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis.


In this week’s sermon “You’re Not God—Stop Acting Like It!“, Pastor Rick comes up with another gem. It seems God Himself is a proponent of work-life balance. The problem of overworking is especially prevalent in East Asia, where it even flows down to the student level.

It is quite common that the average student in Singapore has less than 8 hours of sleep. In fact, it can be argued that it is almost “impossible” to have 8 hours of sleep, one will have to sleep at 10pm and wake up at 6am, and virtually no teenager sleeps so early at 10pm.

The human body is designed to mix work with rest, overworking is not only unhealthy, it is counterproductive as well. It may be quite possible to obtain temporary success by overworking, but the health effects may catch up sooner or later.

Related post: Good night’s sleep adds up to better exam results – especially in maths


The sermon by Pastor Rick Warren:

“Only someone too stupid to find his way home would wear himself out with work.”

Ecclesiastes 10:15 (GNT)

You’re not God. You don’t have all the answers. You can’t do everything. If you’re struggling to find balance in your life, those admissions can transform everything. 

The Bible says, “Only someone too stupid to find his way home would wear himself out with work” (Ecclesiastes 10:15 GNT).

It’s foolish to wear yourself out with work. Do you realize that when you overwork, you’re playing God? It’s a way of saying that it all depends on you, that everything will crash down if you don’t keep the world spinning.

That’s just not true! You’re not the general manager of the universe. The universe will not fall apart if you take time to rest, if you take time to balance your life. God has it under control.

Often we do this to ourselves because we’re trying to please everyone. Learn this lesson today: You can’t please everyone. Even God can’t please everyone! One person wants it to rain. Another one wants it to be sunny. It’s absurd to try doing what even God can’t do.

When you live for the expectations of others, you pile a ton of “shoulds” on your shoulders. You may think, “I should work more hours,” “I should be as active as all the other parents,” or “I should volunteer for this project.” But realize this: No one is forcing you to do those things. Overworking is your choice. You choose to take on the extra work or not to take it on. And you choose the consequences that come with your choice.

When you deny your humanity and try to do it all, you’re robbing God of his glory. The Bible declares this in 2 Corinthians 4:7: “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (NIV).

Paul reminds us that we’re human beings. We’re feeble and fragile. Jars of clay break easily. If you drop them, they shatter. Clay pots have to be handled appropriately and with care. If not, they’ll be destroyed.

But the good news is that through our feebleness, the power and glory of God shine through. Your humanity isn’t something to hide. Instead, you can celebrate the power of God working through your limitations.

So admit it: You’re human. Thank God for that!

Seeking The Overarching Purpose Of Your Life – Homily by Archbishop William Goh (26 July 2020)

A quote from the video that I find meaningful:

Those of you who are doing a job or a career, whatever it is, and you find yourself so drained instead of being energised by what you are doing, it has become a drudgery, this is not your life. This is not your vocation. In fact, you are destroying yourself. You will be making a living, but you will never live.

— Archbishop William Goh (At around 3:46 of the video.)

Kids of pushy parents ‘face higher risk of depression’: NUS study

Recently there are two articles on “Tiger Moms” and “Kiasu (translated as “overly afraid of losing”) Parents” in Singapore. Interesting to read.

Parents in Singapore are indeed at a dilemma, overly pushing their child will lead to negative consequences (as mentioned in the articles), but not pushing their child may lead to falling behind academically.

This quote sums it up:

A housewife, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Lim, 43, said: “In Singapore, the pressure to do well starts early. Parents have no choice but to set high expectations of their kids’ performance.

“But I will be more mindful of the way I speak to my kids, so that they won’t feel bad about making mistakes in their work.”

The solution, ideally, is for children to be self-motivated rather than being pushed by parents. Check out some motivational educational books here.

The worst consequence of pushing children is that the child may lose the joy of learning.


Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/kids-of-pushy-parents-face-higher-risk-of-depression

Children with pushy parents are at a much higher risk of developing depression or anxiety symptoms, according to a local university study. The findings, according to researchers, are especially relevant to a society like Singapore’s, in which there is an emphasis on academic excellence.

Said the study’s head, Assistant Professor Ryan Hong: “Parents may set unrealistically high expectations for their children.

“As a result, a sizeable segment of children may become fearful of making mistakes.”


Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/intrusive-parents-may-lead-children-to-be-overly-self-critical-nus-study

SINGAPORE – Children with intrusive parents may become overly critical of themselves, and such tendencies – at high or increased levels – are reportedly linked to depression or anxiety.

Parents who have high expectations of their children’s academic performance may urge them to achieve good grades or over-react when they make mistakes, but such actions may lead to unintended consequences, a National University of Singapore (NUS) study has found.

The five-year study, conducted by researchers from the department of psychology at NUS, examined how maladaptive perfectionism – commonly known as the “bad” form of perfectionism – develops in primary school children in Singapore.

Better To Try And Fail Than Never To Try At All – Poem by William F. O’Brien

Source: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/better-to-try-and-fail-than-never-to-try-at-all/

Some say risk nothing, try only for the sure thing,
Others say nothing gambled nothing gained,
Go all out for your dream.
Life can be lived either way, but for me,
I’d rather try and fail, than never try at all, you see.

Some say “Don’t ever fall in love,
Play the game of life wide open,
Burn your candle at both ends.”
But I say “No! It’s better to have loved and lost,
Than never to have loved at all, my friend.”

When many moons have gone by,
And you are alone with your dreams of yesteryear,
All your memories will bring you cheer.
You’ll be satisfied, succeed or fail, win or lose,
Knowing the right path you did choose.

SAJC Retain Rate (JC 1)

SAJC Retain / Retention Rate (Estimate)

Just heard from a reliable source (cousin who is in the school) that SAJC’s tentative retention rate for 2015 is around 10%. On average, for a class of 25, around 2 or 3 are retained, after the Promos (Promotional Exams) in JC 1.

This is an estimate, intended to give information to those seeking it, hope it helps. By today’ s standards, 10% retention rate is considered “moderate”, considering official statistics from MOE shows that “The two JCs with the highest retention rates at JC1 averaged around 15% over the past three years.”

Side note: Some of those “retained” in SAJC are given a second chance to take another exam, upon passing they can be promoted. Hence the actual retain rate will be less than 10%, which is considered quite ok (compared to other JCs).

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

Winston Churchill

For those who are retained, do not despair, check out my motivational page for motivational quotes and stories.

Actually JC life is difficult for students, they have to wake up at 6am everyday, and go home at around 6-7 pm or later (due to CCA). After reaching home, it is just the beginning and they have to revise / do homework / go for tuition. It is much tougher than even the typical adult’s job of 8-5pm work. And JC students have to repeat the schedule daily for two years. The problem is that too much stuff is being crammed into two years.

Apparently, the retain rate / retention rate of JCs is a source of concern for many. Some official statistics has been released by MOE. The statistics given are “over the last three years, approximately 6% of first year JC students in each cohort failed some subjects in their promotional exams and were retained.” “The two JCs with the highest retention rates at JC1 averaged around 15% over the past three years.”

As a student who has gone through the system, rumours of JCs like MJC having 50% retain rate (most likely exaggerated, but having some basis of truth, since there is no smoke without fire) do cause some concern. Currently the JC system works by setting extremely tough internal exams, including promos and prelims (compared to the A levels), such that a D or E in the prelims in top JCs (e.g. RI/HCI/NJC) is very likely equivalent to an A in the eventual A levels. This works for some students to spur them to study harder, but may be overly demoralising for many students. For retention rate, common sense and logic would tell that a high retention rate would boost the school’s eventual A level results (one extra year of study is a lot), however that is at the expense of the student spending one extra year in JC. Since the retention rate is entirely up to the school’s decision (i.e. not regulated by MOE), each JC has different retain rate.

Students choosing a JC should check out their retention rate from reliable seniors / relatives / teachers (there is no official source released online for individual retention rate for JCs).


For students looking for tuition, do check out a highly recommended tuition agency.

Motivational Quotes and Stories (for students)

Motivational Quotes and Stories (Life / Education / Math)

Just to share some motivational quotes and stories, including those that are relevant to life, education and math. Do also check out Motivational Books for the Student (Educational).

If you have any other quotes / stories that you like, do post it in the comments! 🙂


1) “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill

This applies especially to students in higher education (e.g. Junior Colleges in Singapore), where it is quite common to “fail” an exam by getting below 50%. Do not despair, and continue to study hard, and you will achieve success eventually.

2) 

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
Ernest Hemingway

Do not compare yourself with your classmates, everyone is unique. Focus on improving yourself day by day.

3) 

Kirby tried his qualifying exam again, on the same two topics. “This time, they said, ‘You passed,’” he says. “They didn’t say it with any enthusiasm, but they said, ‘You passed.’” His committee recommended that Kirby move into some other field than topology.

But Kirby was not one to be deterred by discouragement from his teachers. He waited until their backs were turned, so to speak, and identified a topologist — Eldon Dyer — who had been away when Kirby took his qualifying exam. Kirby kept going to Dyer with questions, and “at some point it sort of became obvious that I was his student,” Kirby says. “And he told somebody later on that he realized at some point or other he was stuck with me.”

(https://www.simonsfoundation.org/science_lives_video/robion-kirby/)

Inspirational story from Rob Kirby (famous mathematician) on how to ignore discouragement, even from teachers. This is applicable to students in Singapore who are sometimes told by teachers / school to drop certain subjects (e.g. drop Higher Chinese / drop A Maths), where the motive may not be purely in the student’s interest. Sometimes the reason that the school wants the student to drop the subject is to protect the school’s ranking in the exams / boost principal’s KPI etc. In this case, the student should follow his own judgement on whether to drop the subject.

4) 

“Everyone is No. 1” Motivational Song by Andy Lau.

Beautiful Lyrics (Chinese):
我的路不是你的路
我的苦不是你的苦
每个人都有潜在的能力
把一切去征服

我的泪不是你的泪
我的痛不是你的痛
一样的天空不同的光荣
有一样的感动

不需要自怨自艾的惶恐
只需要沉着
只要向前冲
告诉自己天生我才必有用

Everyone is NO.1
只要你凡事不问能不能
用一口气交换你一生
要迎接未来不必等

Everyone is NO.1
成功的秘诀在你肯不肯
流最热的汗
拥最真的心
第一名属于每个人

我的手不是你的手
我的口不是你的口
只要一条心
暴风和暴雨
都变成好朋友

不需要自怨自艾的惶恐
只需要沉着
只要向前冲
告诉自己天生我才必有用

不害怕路上有多冷
直到还有一点余温
我也会努力狂奔

Everyone is NO.1
只要你凡事不问能不能
用一口气交换你一生
要迎接未来不必等

Everyone is NO.1
成功的秘诀在你肯不肯
流最热的汗
拥最真的心
第一名属于每个人
5)

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill

6)

Galatians 6:4-6Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Don’t compare yourself with others. Just look at your own work to see if you have done anything to be proud of. You must each accept the responsibilities that are yours.

Finding E Maths or A Maths Difficult?

Are you finding Elementary Maths (E Maths) or Additional Maths (A Maths) Difficult?

Do not be discouraged if you find E Maths or A Maths difficult. The main reason why you are finding it to be difficult is that it is new. You have not gotten enough exposure to the type of questions asked. It is like learning to ride a bicycle, at the start it is difficult and you may even fall down. But after you have mastered riding the bicycle, you will be able to ride as fast as you wish. You need to get over the initial difficulty of learning in order to master the art of riding the bicycle.

At our Group Tuition at Bishan, we constantly practice actual exam questions, be it on Trigonometry, Differentiation or Integration (A Maths), or Vectors, Matrices and Probability (E Maths). We learn different methods to check and do the questions. You will find out, at last, that once you master the art of solving O Level questions, all the O Level questions are just repackaging the same questions in different forms. Once you know how to do one question, you will know how to do all similar questions. Expanding your repertoire of questions you know will enable you to get that coveted “A”. Constant practice, as opposed to cramming one month before the O Levels, is absolutely necessary to avoid panic and to consolidate our Mathematical memory.

Some Math formulas like the quotient rule, \displaystyle\frac{d}{dx}(\frac{u}{v})=\frac{v\frac{du}{dx}-u\frac{dv}{dx}}{v^2}, you will automatically memorize it once you have done enough practice.

In the end, you may even find that E Maths or A Maths is easy!


Motivational Story to motivate you

(Source: http://www.indianchild.com/inspiring_stories.htm)

THE OBSTACLE IN OUR PATH
In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it.

Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many others never understand.

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one’s condition.


Chinese Version

石头的故事

从前有一个国王,他故意派人搬来一块大石头放在道路中间。然后这个国王躲在旁边静静地观察,想知道是否会有人过来把这块大石头搬走。有几个富有的商人经过这块石头,只是直接绕过它。之后又来了几个人,他们只是埋怨国王居然没有找人来清理道路,然后仍然是绕过这块巨石走掉了。又过了一会,一个农夫经过这里,他身上背着沉甸甸的蔬菜。走到巨石的前面,把身上背的蔬菜放下,然后试着去把这块巨大的石头移到道路的旁边。农夫竭尽全力去推那块巨石,终于成功得把石头推到道路的一侧。农夫背起蔬菜准备继续赶路,却发现石头原来所在的地方下面有一个袋子。农夫好奇得打开袋子,里面有许多金币还有一个纸条。纸条是国王留下的,原来金币是用来奖励移走石头的人。
这个小故事讲述了一个简单的道理:困境也有可能是机会。遇到困难的时候,有些人会像商人那样,直接选择放弃。有些人会像那几个埋怨者,只会抱怨却不想着付出行动来改变现状。很少人会像故事中的农夫那样选择迎难而上。然而,最终收获最多的往往就是这部分迎难而上的人。
平常生活中和工作中也是这样,遇到问题,首先要不抛弃不放弃,积极寻求解决方法。无休止的抱怨只会白白错失机会,抱怨多了,好运气也会绕道而行。在困境中寻找机会方法,在挫折中吸取经验教训,那么就会很容易走出困境了,说不定还会有意外的收获哦!

The Mathematics of Chinese New Year (How to calculate its date)

Source: http://www.math.nus.edu.sg/aslaksen/calendar/chinese.shtml

If you are curious about the Mathematics behind the Chinese Calendar, do check out this website by Professor Helmer Aslaksen.

Excerpt: One rule of thumb is that Chinese New Year should be the new Moon closest to the beginning of spring (立春, lìchūn). This rule is correct most of the time, but it can fail if Lìchūn falls close to halfway between two new Moons. It failed in 1985 and will fail again in 2015. Since Lìchūn falls around February 4, this helps explain why Chinese New Year will always fall between January 21 and February 21. It also helps explain why Chinese New Year is called the spring festival. If you have a Western calendar that indicates the phases of the Moon, this will give you an approximation of the date of Chinese New Year. But notice that the Chinese calendar uses the time of new Moon in China.

As explained above, Chinese New Year will always fall between January 21 and February 21. The tropical (or solar) year is about 365.25 days, while a synodic (or lunar) month is about 29.5 days. Hence a lunar year consisting of 12 months will be about 12 x 29.5 = 354 days. So a lunar year is about 11 days shorter than a solar year.

The second rule of thumb is therefore that most of the time Chinese New Year will fall 11 (or sometimes 10 or 12) days earlier than the previous year, but if that would take us outside of the Chinese New Year range of January 21 to February 21, we must add a leap month, so Chinese New Year jumps 19 (or sometimes 18) days later. If this rule takes you close to January 21, you can end up being one month wrong, otherwise you will be at most one day off.

Read more at: http://www.math.nus.edu.sg/aslaksen/calendar/chinese.shtml#CNY

Clash of Clans Mathematics: Arithmetic Progression & Geometric Progression

Clash of Clans Mathematics: Arithmetic Progression & Geometric Progression

CoC_titlescreen_2013

We can learn some mathematics from the popular game, Clash of Clans!

Lets look at the Building Cost and Production Rate of the Gold Mine.

Source: http://clashofclans.wikia.com/wiki/Gold_Mine

Gold Mine11clash of clans gold mine ap gp

We see that the Build cost actually follows a geometric progression(approximately) as each time, the build cost approximately doubles.

The formula for the n-th term of a geometric progression is \boxed{ar^{n-1}}, where a is the first term, and r is the common ratio.

The above formula works well for the first 2 terms, for example the second term is 300=150(2^{2-1}).

However, the Production Rate follows an arithmetic progression, as per level, the production rate increases by 200/hr.

The formula for the n-th term of an arithmetic progression is \boxed{a+(n-1)d}, where a is the first term, and d is the common difference. The formula works for all the 5 levels: for instance at level 5 the production rate is 1000=200+(5-1)(200).

Thanks for reading, and do “like” this post if you enjoy reading it! Hope you learnt some mathematics along the way.

Recommended Algebra Books

Algebra Survival Guide: A Conversational Guide for the Thoroughly Befuddled

Description from Amazon:

If you think algebra has to be boring, confusing and unrelated to anything in the real world, think again! Written in a humorous, conversational style, this book gently nudges students toward success in pre-algebra and Algebra I. With its engaging question/answer format and helpful practice problems, glossary and index, it is ideal for homeschoolers, tutors and students striving for classroom excellence. It features funky icons and lively cartoons by award-winning Santa Fe artist Sally Blakemore, an Emergency Fact Sheet tear-out poster, and even an “Algebra Wilderness” board game guaranteed to help students steer clear of “Negatvieland”–and have fun.The Algebra Survival Guide is the winner of a Paretns’ Choice award, and it meets the Standards 2000 of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Its 12 content chapters tackle all the trickiest topics: Properties, Sets of Numbers, Order of Operations, Absolute Value, Exponents, Radicals, Factoring, Cancelling, Solving Equations, the Coordinate Plane and yes even those dreaded word problems. The Guide is loaded with practice problems and answers, and its 288 pages give students the boost they need in a style they’ll enjoy to master the skills of algebra.

Also, check out the workbook:

Algebra Survival Guide Workbook: Thousands of Problems To Sharpen Skills and Enhance Understanding

The best tip to not procrastinate (Maths Tuition at Bishan)

Source: http://www.thedutchphdcoach.com/time-management/the-best-tip-to-not-procrastinate/

The best tip to not procrastinate

It is incredibly easy, but as with anything, it takes a little practice. Try it now: Identify the most important thing you have to do today. Decide to do just the first little part of it — just the first minute, or even 30 seconds of it. Getting started is the only thing in the world that matters.

Get started, and the rest will flow.

– See more at: http://www.thedutchphdcoach.com/time-management/the-best-tip-to-not-procrastinate/#sthash.EqJDWUrJ.dpuf

On the road to make math fun: An army major who quit to become a mathematics teacher

Source: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120625/jsp/calcutta/story_15629755.jsp#.Uq7JOJVDGDk

On the road to make math fun

MITA MUKHERJEE
Madanlal Baldevraj Ghai during the city leg of his tour. Picture by Sayantan Ghosh

An army major who quit to become a mathematics teacher has embarked on a self-funded tour of the country to promote the subject.

Madanlal Baldevraj Ghai, 70, stayed in a dormitory at Howrah station to keep costs down during the three days he spent in Calcutta recently, meeting officials of the primary and secondary board and the school education department to offer suggestions on how to make the study of mathematics more interesting.

“India has produced brilliant mathematicians not just in the Vedic and medieval ages but also in modern times. Unfortunately, for quite a few years, not many students have been pursuing the subject at the higher level, which has resulted in a decline in the number of top-quality mathematicians,” the former teacher at PMN College in Rajpura, Punjab, told Metro.

“We, the elderly mathematics teachers, need to reach out to students and guardians in every corner of the country to dispel the misconception that mathematics is dry and boring,” added Ghai, who has an MPhil in the subject and is pursuing his PhD at Punjabi University, Patiala.

His 50-day tour was also prompted by the Prime Minister declaring 2012 as the year of mathematics as a tribute to Srinivasa Ramanujan, the autodidact mathematician who died in 1920 at the age of 32.

Read more at: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120625/jsp/calcutta/story_15629755.jsp#.Uq7JOJVDGDk

Study Tips from MIT

Source: http://web.mit.edu/uaap/learning/study/breaks.html

Tooling and Studying: Effective Breaks

Even as an MIT student, you can’t study all the time. In fact, we learn better by switching gears frequently. Here are some tips for breaking up your study time effectively.

  • Approach the same material in several different ways. This increases learning by using different brain pathways. Read a textbook section, aloud if possible, then review your lecture notes on the same concept. Write a one-sentence summary of a chapter or a set of questions to test your understanding. Then move on to the next textbook section.
  • Study in blocks of time. Generally, studying in one-hour blocks is most effective (50 minutes of study with a ten-minute break). Shorter periods can be fine for studying notes and memorizing materials, but longer periods are needed for problem-solving tasks, psets, and writing papers.
  • Break down large projects (papers, psets, research) into smaller tasks. The Assignment Timeline can help with this. Check off each task on your to-do list as you finish it, then take a well-earned break.
  • Plan regular breaks. When building a schedule for the term, srategically add several regular breaks between classes and in the evenings. Take 20-30 minutes; never work through these scheduled breaks. Our minds need an occasional rest in order to stay alert and productive, and you can look forward to a reward as you study. If your living group has a 10 pm study break, or you have a circle of friends that likes to go out for ice cream together at 7 on Wednesdays, put that on your schedule. These small, brief gatherings will become more welcome as the term intensifies.
  • Get up and move. Research shows that sitting for more than three hours a day can shorten your life by up to two years. At least every hour, stand up, stretch, do some yoga or jumping jacks, or take a walk, and breathe deeply.
  • Schedule meals to relax and unwind with friends; don’t just inhale food while tooling.
  • Turn off your phone while studying and on when you take a break. You may think you are multitasking when you text someone while reading or doing problems, but often the reverse is true. An assignment done while texting or following tweets will likely take two or three times longer and not turn out as well.
  • If you tend to lose track of time while using your phone or computer, schedule fixed times for Facebook and other fun things, and set an alarm to remind you of the end of that period.

Shifts must be made in education system to prepare young for future: Heng Swee Keat

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/shifts-must-be-made-in/879902.html

SINGAPORE: Education Minister Heng Swee Keat has said that two important shifts must be made in the education system in order to prepare the young for the future.

In a Facebook post on Friday evening, Mr Heng said firstly, the education system must help the young acquire deep skills and integrate theory with practice through applied learning.

Secondly, the system should make it easier for students to continue learning in their areas of strength and interest, and encourage lifelong learning.

Mr Heng said the education system needs to better link the interest and strengths of students to jobs of the future.

He explained that when students develop a deep interest, when their imagination is captured, they can go on to do wonderful things.

Study Strategy: THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE

Try out this simple and effective time management and study strategy, named the Pomodoro Technique.

It helps to break up big tasks into smaller tasks, so that we don’t feel so overwhelmed by the task. Sometimes, students feel overwhelmed by the huge amount of material to study, so they don’t feel like starting. Using this method may be effective for beating procrastination and increasing efficiency.

 

 

Formula to guess Month of Birthday from Singapore NRIC

Latest Update: We have created a JavaScript App to Guess Birthday Month from NRIC

Website: http://mathtuition88.blogspot.sg/2014/12/javascript-app-to-calculate-birthdate.html

Here is a Math Formula trick to have fun with your friends, to guess their Month of Birthday given their NRIC, within two tries.

(only works for Singapore citizens born after 1970)

The formula is: take the 3rd and 4th digit of the NRIC, put them together, divide by 10, and multiply by 3.

For an example, if a person’s NRIC is S8804xxxx, we take 04, divide by 10 to get 0.4

Then, 0.4 multiplied by 3 gives 1.2

Then, guess that the person is either born in January (round down 1.2 to 1) or February (round up 1.2 to 2). There is a high chance that you are right! Usually, round up for the first six months (Jan to Jun), and round down for the last six months (Jul to Dec).

This formula was developed and tested by me. There are some exceptions to the rule, but generally it works fine especially for people born from 1980 to 2000.

Hope you have fun with maths, and impress your friends!

 

O Level Maths Tutor — Practice Makes Perfect Article

Source: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/sportingscene/2013/08/psychology-ten-thousand-hour-rule-complexity.html

Complexity and the Ten-Thousand-Hour Rule

by

Forty years ago, in a paper in American Scientist, Herbert Simon and William Chase drew one of the most famous conclusions in the study of expertise:

There are no instant experts in chess—certainly no instant masters or grandmasters. There appears not to be on record any case (including Bobby Fischer) where a person reached grandmaster level with less than about a decade’s intense preoccupation with the game. We would estimate, very roughly, that a master has spent perhaps 10,000 to 50,000 hours staring at chess positions…

In the years that followed, an entire field within psychology grew up devoted to elaborating on Simon and Chase’s observation—and researchers, time and again, reached the same conclusion: it takes a lot of practice to be good at complex tasks. After Simon and Chase’s paper, for example, the psychologist John Hayes looked at seventy-six famous classical composers and found that, in almost every case, those composers did not create their greatest work until they had been composing for at least ten years. (The sole exceptions: Shostakovich and Paganini, who took nine years, and Erik Satie, who took eight.)

This is the scholarly tradition I was referring to in my book “Outliers,” when I wrote about the “ten-thousand-hour rule.” No one succeeds at a high level without innate talent, I wrote: “achievement is talent plus preparation.” But the ten-thousand-hour research reminds us that “the closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play.” In cognitively demanding fields, there are no naturals. Nobody walks into an operating room, straight out of a surgical rotation, and does world-class neurosurgery. And second—and more crucially for the theme of Outliersthe amount of practice necessary for exceptional performance is so extensive that people who end up on top need help. They invariably have access to lucky breaks or privileges or conditions that make all those years of practice possible. As examples, I focussed on the countless hours the Beatles spent playing strip clubs in Hamburg and the privileged, early access Bill Gates and Bill Joy got to computers in the nineteen-seventies. “He has talent by the truckload,” I wrote of Joy. “But that’s not the only consideration. It never is.”

Continue reading at http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/sportingscene/2013/08/psychology-ten-thousand-hour-rule-complexity.html

The Most Famous Tutor – Aristotle

A tutor is an instructor who gives private lessons. The most famous example of a tutor is Aristotle, who tutored Alexander the Great.

Aristotle Altemps Inv8575.jpg
Aristotle

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle

Aristotle (Ancient Greek: Ἀριστοτέλης [aristotélɛːs], Aristotélēs) (384 BC – 322 BC)[1] was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology. Together with Plato and Socrates (Plato’s teacher), Aristotle is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. Aristotle’s writings were the first to create a comprehensive system of Western philosophy, encompassing ethics, aesthetics, logic, science, politics, and metaphysics.

BattleofIssus333BC-mosaic-detail1.jpg
Alexander the Great

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_the_Great

Alexander III of Macedon (20/21 July 356 – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great (Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μέγας, Aléxandros ho Mégasiii[›] from the Greek ἀλέξω alexo “to defend, help” + ἀνήρ aner “man”), was a king of Macedon, a state in northern ancient Greece. Born in Pella in 356 BC, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle until the age of 16. By the age of thirty, he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from the Ionian Sea to the Himalayas.[1] He was undefeated in battle and is considered one of history’s most successful commanders.[2]

NUS Maths Alumnus Dr Yeo Sze Ling mentioned in National Day Rally 2013

Ad: Maths Group Tuition available in 2014

Dr Yeo Sze Ling is sincerely a good example of perseverance for all Maths students, including myself!

(Go to 01h18m50s)

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06PdmOSrboU#t=01h18m50s

Quote: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/pm-lee-tears-up-at-emotional-national-day-rally-with–heart–160531376.html

But perhaps the most memorable moment of all was when Lee became visibly emotional after sharing the heartwarming success story of visually handicapped A-star researcher Dr Yeo Sze Ling.

“Sze Ling proves that you can do well if you try hard, no matter what your circumstances, and that is also how we can contribute back to society, to keep the system fair for all,” said Lee, who then visibly teared and choked up,  but quickly composed himself.

PM Lee was emphasising the importance of meritocracy in Singapore’s education system, which he acknowledged needed more changes — for example, it can be more holistic and less competitive.

 

Rote learning has to make way for digital literacy: Heng Swee Keat

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/rote-learning-has-to-make/779680.html

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat has said that with information readily available, rote learning has to make way for digital literacy.

SINGAPORE: Education Minister Heng Swee Keat has said that with information readily available, rote learning has to make way for digital literacy.

Speaking at the Second International Summit of the Book on Friday, Mr Heng said there is a need to place greater emphasis on critical and inventive thinking.

Whether it is a papyrus, print or the iPad, it seems that books are here to stay.

Professor Tommy Koh, chairman of the Organising Committee of the Second International Summit of the Book, and Ambassador-at-Large, said: “I think the book will endure to the end of time.

“But the form of the book has changed and will change. The container will change, the platform on which we read the book will also change.

“My children, for example, prefer to read the book either on the computer, on the iPad, on the tablet and other electronic forms. I still prefer the printed book. But in one form or another, the book will endure. There can be no human civilisation without books.”

But the question is whether readers are able to discern truths from untruths, especially in an era that is inundated with information.

Mr Heng said: “Some fear that the technologically sophisticated books of the future will dull the mind, as we no longer bother to use our imagination to render words into sounds and images.

“They worry too that we will forget to think for ourselves after we close the book because social media offers such an array of ready-made opinions that we will just pick one off the virtual shelf rather than form our own.

“We need to place greater emphasis on critical and inventive thinking, so that we may go on to imagine and create new insights.

“At the workplace, as the information revolution transforms the nature of work, our ability to move from theory to practice, to apply learning imaginatively in different contexts, and to create new knowledge, will become increasing valuable.”

Continue reading at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/rote-learning-has-to-make/779680.html

Studying at NUS Mathematics Department

Maths Group Tuition to start in 2014!

Source: http://ww1.math.nus.edu.sg/

The history  of the Department of Mathematics at NUS traces back to 1929, when science  education began in Singapore with the opening of Raffles College with less than  five students enrolled in mathematics. Today it is one of the largest  departments in NUS, with about 70 faculty members and       teaching staff supported  by 13 administrative and IT staff.  The Department offers a wide selection  of courses (called modules) covering wide areas of mathematical sciences with  about 6,000 students enrolling in each semester. Apart from offering B.Sc.  programmes in Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Quantitative Finance, the  Department also participates actively in major interdisciplinary programs,  including the double degree programme in Mathematics/Applied Mathematics and  Computer Science, the double major       programmes in Mathematics and Economics as  well as with other subjects, and the Computational Biology programme. Another  example of the Department’s student centric educational philosophy is the   Special Programme in Mathematics (SPM), which is specially designed for a  select group of students who have a strong passion and aptitude for  mathematics. The aim is to enable these students to build a solid foundation  for a future career in mathematical research or state-of-the-art applications  of mathematics in industry.

The  Department is ranked among the best in Asia in mathematical  research.   It offers a diverse and vibrant program in graduate  studies, in fundamental as well as applied mathematics. It promotes  interdisciplinary applications of mathematics in science, engineering and  commerce. Faculty members’ research covers all major areas of contemporary  mathematics. For more information, please see research overview, selected publications, and research     awards.

Academic grading in Singapore: How many marks to get A in Maths for PSLE, O Levels, A Levels

Maths Group Tuition

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_grading_in_Singapore

Singapore‘s grading system in schools is differentiated by the existence of many types of institutions with different education foci and systems. The grading systems that are used at Primary, Secondary, and Junior College levels are the most fundamental to the local system used.



Overcoming Math Anxiety

Featured book:

“If you’ve ever said ‘I’m no good at numbers,’ this book can change your life.” (Gloria Steinem)


Primary 5 to 6 standard stream

  • A*: 91% and above
  • A: 75% to 90%
  • B: 60% to 74%
  • C: 50% to 59%
  • D: 35% to 49%
  • E: 20% to 34%
  • U: Below 20%

Overall grade (Secondary schools)

  • A1: 75% and above
  • A2: 70% to 74%
  • B3: 65% to 69%
  • B4: 60% to 64%
  • C5: 55% to 59%
  • C6: 50% to 54%
  • D7: 45% to 49%
  • E8: 40% to 44%
  • F9: Below 40%

The GPA table for Raffles Girls’ School and Raffles Institution (Secondary) is as below:

Grade Percentage Grade point
A+ 80-100 4.0
A 70-79 3.6
B+ 65-69 3.2
B 60-64 2.8
C+ 55-59 2.4
C 50-54 2.0
D 45-49 1.6
E 40-44 1.2
F <40 0.8

The GPA table differs from school to school, with schools like Dunman High School excluding the grades “C+” and “B+”(meaning grades 50-59 is counted a C, vice-versa) However, in other secondary schools like Hwa Chong Institution and Victoria School, there is also a system called MSG (mean subject grade) which is similar to GPA that is used.

Grade Percentage Grade point
A1 75-100 1
A2 70-74 2
B3 65-69 3
B4 60-64 4
C5 55-59 5
C6 50-54 6
D7 45-49 7
E8 40-44 8
F9 <40 9

The mean subject grade is calculated by adding the points together, then divided by the number of subjects. For example, if a student got A1 for math and B3 for English, his MSG would be (1+3)/2 = 2.

O levels grades

  • A1: 75% and above
  • A2: 70% to 74%
  • B3: 65% to 69%
  • B4: 60% to 64%
  • C5: 55% to 59%
  • C6: 50% to 54%
  • D7: 45% to 49%
  • E8: 40% to 44%
  • F9: Below 40%

The results also depends on the bell curve.

Junior college level (GCE A and AO levels)

  • A: 70% and above
  • B: 60% to 69%
  • C: 55% to 59%
  • D: 50% to 54%
  • E: 45% to 49% (passing grade)
  • S: 40% to 44% (denotes standard is at AO level only), grade N in the British A Levels.
  • U: Below 39%

Stanford University Research: The most important aspect of a student’s ideal relationship with mathematics

Source: Taken from Research by Stanford, Education: EDUC115N How to Learn Math

This word cloud was generated on August 9th based on 850 responses to the prompt “Please submit a word that, in your opinion, describes the most important aspect of a student’s ideal relationship with mathematics.”

stanford maths tuition word cloud

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Truly Outstanding Mathematics Student

Just to share an inspirational story about studying Mathematics, and our very own Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. 🙂

Source: http://www2.ims.nus.edu.sg/imprints/interviews/BelaBollobas.pdf

(page 8/8)

Interview of Professor Béla Bollobás, Professor and teacher of our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

I: Interviewer Y.K. Leong

B: Professor Béla Bollobás

I: I understand that you have taught our present Prime
Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

B: I certainly taught him more than anybody else in
Cambridge. I can truthfully say that he was an exceptionally
good student. I’m not sure that this is really known in
Singapore. “Because he’s now the Prime Minister,” people
may say, “oh, you would say he was good.” No, he was truly
outstanding: he was head and shoulders above the rest of
the students. He was not only the first, but the gap between
him and the man who came second was huge.

I: I believe he did double honors in mathematics and computer science.

B: I think that he did computer science (after mathematics) mostly because his father didn’t want him to stay in pure mathematics. Loong was not only hardworking, conscientious and professional, but he was also very inventive. All the signs indicated that he would have been a world-class research mathematician. I’m sure his father never realized how exceptional Loong was. He thought Loong was very good. No, Loong was much better than that. When I tried to tell Lee Kuan Yew, “Look, your son is phenomenally good: you should encourage him to do mathematics,” then he implied that that was impossible, since as a top-flight professional mathematician Loong would leave Singapore for Princeton, Harvard or Cambridge, and that would send the wrong signal to the people in Singapore. And I have to agree that this was a very good point indeed. Now I am even more impressed by Lee Hsien Loong than I was all those years ago, and I am very proud that I taught him; he seems to be doing very well. I have come round to thinking that it was indeed good for him to go into politics; he can certainly make an awful lot of difference.

Geometry and Abraham Lincoln; O Level Maths Tuition Group

Source: http://www.mathopenref.com/euclid.html

At age forty, Abraham Lincoln studied Euclid for training in reasoning, and as a traveling lawyer on horseback, kept a copy of Euclid’s Elements in his saddlebag.  In his biography of Lincoln, his law partner Billy Herndon tells how late at night Lincoln would lie on the floor studying Euclid’s geometry by lamplight. Lincoln’s logical speeches and some of his phrases such as “dedicated to the proposition” in the  Gettysburg address are attributed to his reading of Euclid.

Lincoln explains why he was motivated to read Euclid:

“In the course of my law reading I constantly came upon the word “demonstrate”.  I thought at first that I understood its meaning, but soon became satisfied that I did not.  I said to myself, What do I do when I demonstrate more than when I reason or prove? How does demonstration differ from any other proof?
I consulted Webster’s Dictionary. They told of ‘certain proof,’ ‘proof beyond the possibility of doubt’;  but I could form no idea of what sort of proof that was. I thought a great many things were proved beyond the possibility of doubt, without recourse to any such extraordinary process of reasoning as I understood demonstration to be.  I consulted all the dictionaries and books of reference I could find, but with no better results.  You might as well have defined blue to a blind man.
At last I said,- Lincoln, you never can make a lawyer if you do not understand what demonstrate means;  and I left my situation in Springfield, went home to my father’s house,  and stayed there till I could give any proposition in the six books of Euclid at sight.  I then found out what demonstrate means, and went back to my law studies.”
Iconic black and white photograph of Lincoln showing his head and shoulders.

NUS Top in Asia according to latest QS World University Rankings by Subject

Source: http://newshub.nus.edu.sg/headlines/1305/qs_08May13.php

Top in Asia according to latest QS World University Rankings by Subject

08 May 2013

NUS is the best-performing university in Asia in the 2013 QS World University Rankings by Subject. With 12 subjects ranked top 10, NUS has secured the 8th position among universities globally in this subject ranking.
On the results, NUS Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost Professor Tan Eng Chye said: “This is a strong international recognition of NUS’ strengths in humanities and languages, engineering and technology, sciences, medicine and social sciences.”
Prof Tan noted that the rankings served as an acknowledgement of the exceptional work carried out by faculty and staff in education and research.
NUS fared well, ranking among the world’s top 10 universities for 12 subjects namely Statistics, Mathematics, Material Sciences, Pharmacy & Pharmacology, Communication & Media Studies, Geography, Politics & International Studies, Modern Languages, Computer Science & Information Systems and Engineering (mechanical, aeronautical, manufacturing, electrical & electronic, chemical).

Continue reading at: http://newshub.nus.edu.sg/headlines/1305/qs_08May13.php

“I hear, I forget. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.” (Chinese proverb that was a favorite of Moore’s. Quoted in Halmos, P.R. (1985) I want to be a mathematician: an automathography. Springer-Verlag: 258)

“I hear, I forget. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.” (Chinese proverb that was a favorite of Moore’s. Quoted in Halmos, P.R. (1985) I want to be a mathematician: an automathography. Springer-Verlag: 258)

The Moore method is a deductive manner of instruction used in advanced mathematics courses. It is named after Robert Lee Moore, a famous topologist who first used a stronger version of the method at the University of Pennsylvania when he began teaching there in 1911.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore_method

Carl Friedrich Gauss

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Friedrich_Gauss

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (/ɡs/; German: Gauß, pronounced [ɡaʊs] ( listen); Latin: Carolus Fridericus Gauss) (30 April 1777 – 23 February 1855) was a German mathematician and physical scientist who contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, algebra, statistics, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, geophysics, electrostatics, astronomy and optics.

Sometimes referred to as the Princeps mathematicorum[1] (Latin, “the Prince of Mathematicians” or “the foremost of mathematicians”) and “greatest mathematician since antiquity“, Gauss had a remarkable influence in many fields of mathematics and science and is ranked as one of history’s most influential mathematicians.[2]

Carl Friedrich Gauss.jpg

Continue reading at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Friedrich_Gauss

Gotthold Eisenstein (Mathematician)

Gotthold Eisenstein (Mathematician)

*Not Einstein!

Ferdinand Gotthold Max Eisenstein (16 April 1823 – 11 October 1852) was a German mathematician. He specialized in number theory and analysis, and proved several results that eluded even Gauss. Like Galois and Abel before him, Eisenstein died before the age of 30. He was born and died in Berlin, Prussia.

Gauss … in conversation once remarked that, there had been only three epoch-making mathematicians: Archimedes, Newton, and Eisenstein.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotthold_Eisenstein

Gotthold Eisenstein.jpeg

Advice to Students

Source: http://www.math.union.edu/~dpvc/courses/advice/welcome.html

Advice to Students:

Over the years, I have collected some information that I hope will help  students, particularly beginning math students, to improve their study  and learning habits.  An important part of what you learn at college is  how to learn, so that you can carry that on for the rest of your  life.  Find out what works for you and what doesn’t.

These observations are centered around first-year calculus courses, so not  everything may apply to you, but even more advanced students can benefit  from some of them.

As you develop your own learning habits, please think carefully about the  following topics:

Continue reading at http://www.math.union.edu/~dpvc/courses/advice/welcome.html

There’s more to mathematics than grades and exams and methods

Source: http://terrytao.wordpress.com/career-advice/there%E2%80%99s-more-to-mathematics-than-grades-and-exams-and-methods/

When you have mastered numbers, you will in fact no longer be reading numbers, any more than you read words when reading books. You will be reading meanings. (W. E. B. Du Bois)

When learning mathematics as an undergraduate student, there is often a heavy emphasis on grade averages, and on exams which often emphasize memorisation of techniques and theory than on actual conceptual understanding, or on either intellectual or intuitive thought. There are good reasons for this; there is a certain amount of theory and technique that must be practiced before one can really get anywhere in mathematics (much as there is a certain amount of drill required before one can play a musical instrument well). It doesn’t matter how much innate mathematical talent and intuition you have; if you are unable to, say, compute a multidimensional integral, manipulate matrix equations, understand abstract definitions, or correctly set up a proof by induction, then it is unlikely that you will be able to work effectively with higher mathematics.

However, as you transition to graduate school you will see that there is a higher level of learning (and more importantly, doing) mathematics, which requires more of your intellectual faculties than merely the ability to memorise and study, or to copy an existing argument or worked example. This often necessitates that one discards (or at least revises) many undergraduate study habits; there is a much greater need for self-motivated study and experimentation to advance your own understanding, than to simply focus on artificial benchmarks such as examinations.

Continue reading at http://terrytao.wordpress.com/career-advice/there%E2%80%99s-more-to-mathematics-than-grades-and-exams-and-methods/

Mathematics and 3D printing

Source: http://samuelcavazos.com/2013/07/12/mathematics-and-3d-printing/

Nice post on Mathematics and 3D printing!

3D printing is the latest advance in technology, that will possibly revolutionise the world!

Quote from source:

Below are some images of some of the mathematical structures he and Carlos Salinas have done using a MakerBot 3D printer. Most of these were first designed by using a software called Mathematica, which has the ability to handle complex surfaces and then create the file necessary to run on the MakerBot Software.

http://samuelcavazos.com/2013/07/12/mathematics-and-3d-printing/

 

The Key To Career Success

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brooks-mccorcle/the-key-to-career-success_b_3511254.html

“The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple.” ~ Stan Gudder, Mathematician

Math, at its core, is about solving problems — about breaking a challenge into its basic elements to be investigated, tested, manipulated and understood. Math can give you the tools to find a winning formula. And, it can create the path to your career.

Math is the key to unlocking possibilities. It frees you up to think creatively about solutions and to focus your attention on what truly matters at the end of the day.

Finally, math empowers you to be a better leader and to remain open to new ideas. It sparks creativity and learning. It gives you confidence and conviction to say “YES!” when you’re asked to take on a new challenge. It helps you attract and energize the people you hire to help you.  In a marketplace that’s moving so fast, it’s important to constantly listen, learn, analyze and formulate new ways to serve customers.  Math provides the foundation for doing just that.

Want to succeed? It’s simple … math.