I Used to Know That: Maths by Chris Waring

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I Used to Know That: Maths by Chris Waring

Category: Reference
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A very useful book to revise all the maths that you knew (or not) at school but have long since forgotten, delivered in a friendly and non-patronising manner.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: September 2014
Publisher: Michael O'Mara Books
ISBN: 978-1782432555

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Maths teacher Chris Waring starts this book with the basics and gradually works his (and our) way through to about the level of GCSE. It's only 192 pages, so you can't expect it to be exhaustive but the great thing is that it isn't exhausting. Waring explains concepts clearly and with humour but most importantly he shows why the subject is important and how it can be applied to life, covering such subjects as winning - or failing to win - the lottery and the chances of being dealt a royal flush at poker. It's not just the examples which are new - it's a major improvement on the 'you will learn this because I'm telling you that you have to' approach which blighted the subject for so many of us.

In my day we took Maths 'O' Level, usually when we were in the fifth form. If you didn't pass you took the exam again and again until you did pass. I never managed it. But here's the conundrum: I've always been good with figures. I spent a quarter of a century in a job which was heavily reliant on my understanding of numbers and my ability to handle them quickly and efficiently - and that was long before calculators or computers became commonplace. Reading through I Used to Know That: Maths, I discovered when the problem started. I flew through fractions, delighted in decimals and percentages proved to be no problem.

Round about the beginning of my second year at Grammar School we began algebra - and gained a new maths teacher. His first words to the class were that girls were no good at maths and never passed the exams but there was no point in worrying as they wouldn't need them in the lives they were going to lead. His prediction came true - not a single girl in my class passed maths 'O' level. I did learn some things from the maths lessons in the following four years, but the definition of 'misogynist' is the one that's stuck.

I read Waring's book over three evenings and problems which have troubled me for over half a century suddenly became clearer and I learned more in those three evenings than I did in four years of classes. There are areas which will need more work - I need to go through quadratic equations again (I won't have to come back to enjoy myself, you know) and have another look at trigonometry but I was left with a feeling of confidence that this wasn't beyond me. Get hold of a copy of the book if you just want to brush up your own skills, or prove to a child that you're not a complete numbskull. Highly recommended.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Enthused? You can work the same miracle on your English.

Buy I Used to Know That: Maths by Chris Waring at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy I Used to Know That: Maths by Chris Waring at Amazon.co.uk.

Buy I Used to Know That: Maths by Chris Waring at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy I Used to Know That: Maths by Chris Waring at Amazon.com.


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