Math Essentials: Math Refresher for Adults {Review}

Math is one of those subjects that I've always had a love/hate relationship with. Let's face it, mathematics is an aspect of our everyday lives, whether we like it or not. That doesn't mean it always comes easy for everyone. When I was a teenager, I had some struggles with some of the more advanced areas in algebra. This left me with a not so fuzzy feeling about the subject in general. Back in my college days, I actually started to grow more of a liking for math, perhaps it was the thoroughness of the professors that I had. Honestly, it's hard to really say. My detest for math has definitely diminished quite a bit since my childhood and teen years. With that being said, it has still been quite a while since I've tackled the math areas that had once given me so much trouble as a child.

Since a day will come when I'll be teaching my son all there is to know about math, I knew that I would be needing a little refresher here and there.  Recently, I've been using Math Refresher for Adults from Math Essentials in order to help me brush up on some of the mathematical skills that were once troublesome for me.

Was math was your weakest area in school? Do you have a sheer phobia of the subject? Perhaps you loved math class, but it has been years and years since you've last tackled a good old page of mathematical problems. No matter the situation, if you are in need of a good refresher, whether you're homeschooling your children or just looking to relive your math days for the fun of it, this book is a wonderful solution to help you practice and even improve your mathematical skills.

Don't let the title fool you, just because the book says "for Adults," doesn't mean this can't also be used by children and teens. It's perfect for anyone who needs a little extra math practice aside from their regular math curriculum. It's an especially helpful tool, particularly if you have students who are getting ready to take their annual standardized tests, the SAT/ACT, or any other college entry exam. Do you have an upcoming job offer that will require you to do a lot of math, but aren't sure if you are up to date on your skills in this area? Math Refresher for Adults can be helpful for this situation, too.

The beginning of the book offers some tips on how it can be used. There are even additional resources mentioned, such as tutorial videos that be watched on the Math Essentials website. While there isn't one available for this particular volume there are quite a few videos available from their other books. I have taken a quick look at some of these videos, and they are definitely a helpful component if you need more of an audio/visual explanation on how to work through certain types of problems. Each area of the subject is also categorized for easy searching.


A table of contents in the beginning of the book breaks down what is covered in great detail. There are two main sections, General Math and Pre-Algebra and Algebra. These sections are broken down into various topics like percents, integers, geometry, and even charts and graphs. Subtopics are also listed in each of these areas (circumference, perimeter, polygons), so you see, it's quite easy to find exactly what you're looking for. At the end of both the General Math and Pre-Algebra and Algebra sections are Final Review pages. These offer a combination of problems and equations that were covered in that entire section. I like to think of it as almost a final exam for each section, which covers everything that I've previously learned.

The book takes an approach where it starts off with the more easier parts of math such as basic addition and subtraction, but eventually moves on through more advanced topics such as fractions, geometry, and algebra. The lessons are short and sweet and include a small area called Helpful Hints, which goes over a couple of sample problems to teach the reader. I've personally found them to be straight to the point, and by no means daunting or overwhelming. Each new lesson also contains review exercises from the last lesson, in order to help retain information from previously covered areas.

The beauty of this book is that you don't have to start right at the beginning. I have been picking and choosing which math problems I would need more of a refresher course on. Since algebra was my least favorite portion of math, this is the section that I have been recently spending most of my time in. I even worked on a few proportion equations, as well as some fraction problems. I have to say that working through these problems is not as bad as I had originally remembered it back in school. In fact, it's almost fun...even therapeutic at times.

While fractions are usually not an issue for me (hey, I use them all of the time for calculating my shopping deals!), I do remember having a little trouble as a child whenever I was asked to multiply mixed numbers. Working through the problems in this book have really given me a new perspective on this area of math that I had never really enjoyed doing when I was younger, but oddly enough enjoy, now.

I would have liked to see a few more review examples given in the Helpful Hints section. Most areas have a few examples, which is nice, but others only have one example. For the more complex areas, it would be good to have a few extra notes to follow along to. Luckily, the online videos are available to supplement any area of confusion where the book might leave out.

Other handy features in this book include a math glossary detailed with basic math terms, as well as several charts, including Important Symbols, a Multiplication Chart, Squares and Square Roots, Commonly Used Prime Numbers, and Fraction/Decimal Equivalents. There's even an answer key in the back of the book for all of the chapters. This allows me to check my work, which I found especially helpful, since it's nice to know if I got a problem correct or not.

For me, personally, it's so important to truly grasp any subject that I will be teaching my son, even if it's one that I wasn't so fond of when I was a child. After all, I want him to develop a joy for anything that I'm teaching him. Math Refresher for Adults has already proven to be quite the helpful resource for a quick and easy brush up on my math skills, even after all of this time being out of school. I am soon realizing that math can actually be a bit more enjoyable once you start developing a true understanding of the steps that are involved in solving each problem or equation.


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