# Why don't these 'solve in 2 sec' tricks work?

I am a med student and left maths in 10th class. Log and antilog and calculus etc are taught in 11th and 12th. Every time I have any exam that includes usage of these topics I go to Youtube and search for a video over log antilog and there are tons of videos with this common title: solve xyz in 2 sec.

I watch them but when my next exams come I have to watch them again and again and repeat.

Is repetition every week the only way out of this problem or is there any faster (not necessarily easier) thing that could be done?

• You can solve a problem (or do any other task in math, medicine, or elsewhere) in 2 seconds only if you are proficient in the task. So the titles do not lie: the task will take you two seconds. They just hide the end of this sentence, which is "after you have mastered it" and the latter does require some amount of practice, indeed. Jan 20 at 18:43
• The "trick" for solving maths problems in 2 seconds is the same as the trick for intubating a patient in 2 seconds or placing an IV in 2 seconds: you first have to do it a hundred times in 2 minutes, then a hundred times in 1 minute, a hundred times in 30 seconds, a hundred times in 10 seconds, a hundred times in 5 seconds. Jan 20 at 21:56
• May be it would be better to get a real understanding what log and antilog, or better exponential function and log function really are, instead of hearing videos of the kind mentioned. Jan 20 at 22:33
• Perhaps adding links to one or two examples would help generate a useful answer. It's likely most educators here have no idea what "these" video tricks are referring to. Jan 23 at 2:40
• Solve in two seconds: $3x^3+2x^2+x=0$ => easy peasy. Solve in two seconds: $3x^3+2x^2+x=1$ => two seconds? You mean half an hour! Beware of so-called two-second tricks :-) Jan 25 at 9:35

I think the mistake here is using videos to learn skills. I suggest you obtain a text which suits you, sit down on a hard chair (not a comfortable arm chair), at a table, with a pen and a piece of paper to make notes. Be sure to do all the examples. Then either find a new text with different examples or go back to the beginning of your current one and go through yet more examples.

Watching videos is a deceptive learning activity because it's very passive. It is incredibly easy to watch a video, about any topic, and think you've deeply understood everything that was mentioned in the video. But then it turns out your understanding is actually not deep enough that you could do it yourself.

This is true for videos about solving math equations, just like it's true for videos about learning to dance Argentine tango.

The only way to face head-on your lack of mastering of a topic is to practice. That doesn't mean sitting passively and watching someone else do it. In the case of solving math equations, it means taking a pen and paper and solving equations yourself.

Do you have access to past exam papers? If you can get your hand on those, then solve the equations from past exams.

And when you watch youtube videos about solving an equation: pause the video, solve the equation yourself, and do not watch the remainder of the video until you've successfully solved the equation yourself.

"Solve in 2 seconds" tricks often oversimplify complex problems. Real problem-solving requires understanding nuances, critical thinking, and adapting methods. Quick fixes may ignore important details, leading to inaccurate or incomplete solutions.

In a skill-based domain like mathematics, you can't really move information into long-term memory just by watching videos. You have to actively solve problems.

Imagine signing up for tennis lessons with a personal coach.

When does the learning happen?

It's not when you pay the coach the money. It’s not when you watch the coach demonstrate a move.

It's when you actually start doing things that you weren't able to do before. It's when you attempt a move, the coach corrects your form, and you attempt the move again with better results.

The learning is the incremental gain in your ability to perform a tangible, reproducible skill. If you're not getting those gains, you're not learning.

It's the same in mathematics.

The keys to effective training in mathematics are the same as the keys to effective training in athletics, music, or any other skill-based domain.

Learning how to solve a new type of equation is totally different from, say, learning some new history about the life of Napoleon.

You’re not just absorbing information -- you’re developing skills.