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You are on page 1of 123

MISTAKES

IN MATHEMATICS

Rajesh Sarswat

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgements

i. Division of 0 by any finite number

ii. Meaning of x / 0

iii. Meaning of 0/0

iv. Solution of a ÷ b ÷ c

i.Wrong Definition of Prime Numbers

ii.Are -3, -5, -7 etc prime numbers

iii.Are -3,-5,-7 etc odd numbers

iv.Are -2,-4,-6 etc even numbers

v.Are 1.2, 2.8, 3.4 etc are even numbers

vi. Can multiples of a number be negative

vii. Can factors of a number be negative

viii. What is Identity for number

ix. What is meant by inverse of a number

x. Confusion over prime and co-prime

xi. π is equal to 22/7 still it is irrational

xii. Why non-terminating and repeating decimals

are rational numbers

4. Be More Positive About Zero

i. 0 is a Prime or Composite

ii. 0 is even or odd

iii. Is Zero a Multiple of Every Number

iv. What are Multiples of 0

v. What are factors of 0

vi. What is the inverse of 0

i. Why xm. xn = xm+n

ii. Why xm/ xn = xm- n

iii. Why (xm)n = xm.n

iv. Why x0 is 1

v. If x0 is 1, why 00 ≠ 1

vi. Why x-m = 1/xm

vii. Silly Mistakes while using exponents

i. Sign Convention while adding

ii. Sign Convention while Subtracting

iii. Sign Convention while Multiplying/Dividing

iv. Comparing Negative Numbers

v. Comparing Fractions

vi. Finding LCM

vii. Every real number has two square roots

viii. Square Root of Product of Two Numbers

ix.Squaring a negative number

x.Careless cancellation

xi.Careless use of brackets

xii.Using Double Sign

xiii.Bad Notations

xiv.Improper Distribution

xv.Cancellation in Inequalities

xvi.Quadratic Inequalities

xvii.Inequalities Involving Modulus

xviii.Wrong use of algebraic identities

xix. Real numbers are not polynomials

xx. Confusion over degree and order

xxi. Leaving irrational denominator

i.What is Logarithm

ii.Properties of Logarithm

iii.Using powers in Logarithm

iv.Confusion over log x and ln x

v.Silly Mistakes while using Logarithm

i.Sin A = Sin. A

ii.Cos (x + y) =Cos x + Cos y

iii.Sin nx= n Sin x

iv.Cos-1x = 1/ Cos x

v.(Sin x)2 = Sin x2

vi.Confusion over degree and radian measure

vii.Length of Arc

i. Ignoring symbol of limit

ii. Applying the limits on part of a function

iii. Improper use of L‟ Hospital‟s Rule

iv. Improper use of formula of derivative of xn

v. Finding derivative of [f(x).g(x)] incorrectly

vi. Finding derivative of [f(x)/g(x)] incorrectly

vii. Ignoring constants in Integration

viii. Using double constants in Integration

ix. Improper use of the formula for ʃ xndx

x. Dropping the absolute value when

Integratingʃ1/x dx

xi. Improper use of formula ʃ1/x dx

xii. Finding ʃ[f(x).g(x)] dx incorrectly

xiii. Finding ʃ[f(x)/g(x)] dx incorrectly

xiv. Dealing with limits in definite integration

xv. Confusion over ex and ax

xvi. Double derivative of parametric functions

xvii. Confusion over relation and a function

xviii. Wrong meaning of inverse of a function

xix. f (x + y) = f(x) + f (y)

xx. f (c. x) = c. f (x)

ii. Using division sign for matrices

iii. Matrix Multiplication is Commutative

iv. Matrix Multiplication is Associative

v. Product of two matrices is O only when at least

one of the matrix is O

vi. Using algebraic identities on matrices

vii. Writing 0 in place of a null vector

viii. Using algebraic identities on vectors

ix. Confusion over “Or” and “Nor”

x. Confusion over “Experiment” and “Event”

xi. Wrong use of Section Formula

xii. Confusion over Permutation or Combination

xiii. 0! = 0

xiv. Surface of a 3-D Object

xv. Surface Area Vs Total Surface Area

xvi. Circumference = Perimeter

xvii. Volume = Capacity

xviii. Confusion over modulus of a number

Acknowledgements

My fourth book is dedicated to all my

students for teaching me the possible

areas in which students are prone to

making silly mistakes.

Rajesh Sarswat

About the book

Every year, I used to start first three to four classes

of every batch of Class XI and Class XII by

teaching students about some elementary topics of

mathematics pertaining to the early years of

schooling in which they may make a mistake even

today. However, until last year I had no idea that I

am going to write this book.

students (even with CGPA of 10 out of 10 in their

class X examination) committing silly mistakes

again and again on topics read by them long ago in

earlier classes. I also observed that there are some

topics in mathematics in which students are always

confused due to their weak fundamentals in

elementary mathematics.

themselves fully aware about the frequent silly

mistakes made by them again and again? However,

what surprised me a lot; that they have no action

plan to improve their silly mistakes. Hence, idea of

writing one such book flashed in my mind.

who will teach them how to go ahead with dealing

with their habit of making silly mistakes and how

to eliminate these mistakes by careful inspection

and by improving their fundamentals.

of mathematics, in many advance topics like

calculus, vector, matrices etc, I have assumed that

students are well aware of the topic and hence the

focus has been kept on the silly mistakes aspect of

the topics only. However, the topics, where

students have misconceptions, have been explained

in detail.

parents and students in a cohesive manner so as to

bring down the silly mistakes of students to a

minimum level.

relating to the topics covered in this book, I may

be contacted at the following address. I will be

very happy to assist the readers in best of my

capacity.

Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/avoidsillymistakes/

Email: rsarswat.rs@gmail.com

1

Types of Silly Mistakes

Learning math not only requires strong

fundamentals but also a lot of practice, and making

mistakes is part of that process. In my opinion,

making mistakes in math is a good thing, and can

help the students to learn and understand in a

better way. However, repeating same mistakes

again and again over a long period of time will not

benefit the students and will be harmful for their

confidence.

students make. They should try to understandthese

types and try to learn techniques explained in this

book to reduce and rectify these mistakes for

getting good grades in schools.

Mistakes

1. Slow Down a Bit

Yes, there is no harm in it. In fact, this simple

technique only will cut down the quantum of silly

mistakes to a minimal.

Students are often in a rush to finish the

examination paper as early as possible. Temptation

to switch over to next question, either due to

anxiety or due to over confidence is the basic

reason to commit careless silly mistakes. Students

are, therefore, advised to attempt the questions a

bit slower and thus paying full attention to each

and every step they‟re writing.

This is another very simple yet very

effective tool to reduce silly mistakes. Students

who really want to cut down their silly mistakes

should keep a record of the types of errors they

make during examinations or during practice

sessions. The record may be a checked answer

sheet of their school examination or self-checked

worksheet of their practice copy/workbook at

home.

maintaining the summary/details of silly mistakes

committed by them during various

examinations/practice sessions. The sheet may be

in any form suitable to the needs of the students.

However, it should include the following

information as a must-

Date of Committing Error-

copying a question wrong/missed the unit etc.

Question in short -

maintain such a record. But only after practising it

for a while, students will be able to understand the

effectiveness of this method. Going through the

records of the mistakes committed by them in the

past again and again will leave a visual

image/imprint of the error on their mind. More

they will refer the old records after each

examination; deeper will be the imprint of these

errors on their mind. And, there will be a time that

they will be cautioned by their mind before they

commit the same mistake again based on these

imprints and they will be able to write the steps

correctly, which were done by them incorrectly

earlier.

3. Breath

Does it seem awkward?

in the body and thus reduces clarity of thought.

Whenever we are frightened or anxious, as in just

before or during a test, our breathing slows down.

and more slowly. Before start of every question

take three slow and deep breaths to reduce the

anxiety/stress level and go ahead.

Marking important information (by circling or

by underlining) on the worksheet or on the

question paper will help students know what to do.

Marking key information in a word problem will

help them think through their strategy and make

sure they don‟t forget anything.

Sloppy handwriting costs more marks as

compared to anything else. The examiner will not

be able to award marks to a student unless he,

himself can read the answer correctly.

improve their handwriting. Even for students with

not so cool handwriting, writing neatly in a legible

form is the least requirement to get the question

checked.

It is a well-established scientific fact that the

human brain consists mostly of water (around

80%). By the time a student notices he is thirsty,

he is dehydrated to such an extent that his ability to

think clearly and retain information is impaired.

water before engaging in any mental activity. A

glass of water before starting a homework session

or test is helpful to keep the mind fit and thus

reduces chances of silly mistakes in an indirect

manner.

As movement helps the mental and creative

processes, taking regular breaks is important to

keep the brain alert. Students are, therefore,

advised to undertake at least some form of

movement breaks of few seconds during home

study sessions and even during tests. Possible

break activities include:

of water or to attend nature‟s call;

seconds

silly mistakes by keeping the mind more alert.

If students have prepared well for their

examinations, the night before the exam shouldn‟t

be too stressful for them. In fact, they should be

able to relax a little and they should also have time

to get organized for the big day. Studies have

found that someone stay awake for 21 hours

straight, he may have the mental state of someone

who is drunk in terms of his ability to concentrate,

memorize and recall information, etc.

studying for an exam because they just won‟t be

effective on the day of the exam. Students should

ensure that they get on average 8 hours of sleep a

night. By doing so, they will be mentally fit to take

the examination and their fitness level will enable

them to concentrate more and will thus reduce

chances of silly mistakes in an indirect manner.

9. Eat Light

Even if students normally skip breakfast or

avoid eating when they are nervous on a test day,

they should still make the time to eat something.

Brain needs the energy from food to work

efficiently. Students need to keep their mental

focus on the exam and not on their hunger. If

students really cannot stomach food, then try

having a protein shake or something light.

satisfied but not so much as to feel full. If they eat

a big breakfast or lunch before an exam, they will

feel drowsy and heavy and their body‟s energy will

be diverted to the digestive process rather than on

providing your brain with the energy it needs to

function efficiently.

10.Time Management

Students should tryto complete the question

paper at least 10 minutes prior to the schedule end

time. During this time, students may re-check all

the tedious calculations and important questions or

steps where a possible silly mistake may be

committed by them as per analysis record

maintained by them.

Teachers

Every kid is unique in some way or the other.

Even if some kids are not getting good grades in

mathematics due to various reasons, constant

scolding and pressure techniques adopted by

teachers and parents will not only de-motivate the

kids but also block the chances of their further

improvement.

together on the general techniques specified above,

I am very sure that the quantum of silly mistakes

committed by students at various levels will be

reduced to a minimum and it will be a win-win

situation for all.

Types of Silly Mistakes:

As per my interactions with students of various

age groups during last 25 years of my teaching

career, I‟ve categorized the types of silly mistakes

into threebroad categories:

2. Calculation Errors

3. Conceptual Silly Mistakes

Casual or Careless Silly Mistakes occur due to lack

of concentration, or hasty working on the part of

students. Out of the three types of mistakes

mentioned on pre-page, this is the most common

type and are carried out by most of the students

frequently across the globe, at least at some point

of time during their school days. However, these

are the mistakes which are easiest to correct and

may be rectified with a little focus and

observation.Some examples of these silly mistakes

may include:

(ii) Copying the number wrong from previous step

(iii) Reading/understanding the question wrong

(iv) Writing the answer without units

(v) Not marking and labelling the axes while

doing questions based on graphs

(vi) Not writing the scales used for different axes

while doing questions based on graphs

(vii) Dropping a negative sign

(viii) Sloppy handwriting

(ix) Not following the directions/instructions

written before the question paper/question

(x) Incorrect rounding off

(xi) Leaving some questions unanswered

Mistakes

Apart from following general techniques, the

following techniques will be beneficial for students

to take care of casual silly mistakes committed by

them:

Unanswered

There is a tendency in students to leave questions

unanswered where they have no clue. However, it

is advisable that they should try to write whatever

fact they can recollect about the question. It will

always be better to write something rather than

leaving the answer sheet blank. There is a

possibility that they may be awarded with some

marks in some of the questions answered by them

reluctantly resulting in improvement in their

grades.

Multiple Choice question/ True-False Type

question or Fill in the blank type questions.

However, if there is negative marking for a wrong

answer, it will be wiser to leave questions

unanswered, where one had no clues.

Students are in such a hurry that they leave their

answers without simplifying the answers.

is a fraction and any fraction should be written in

lowest form. So, the correct way to write the

answer is 3/4.

Example 2: Answer is x2 + 5 + 7x + 2

Mistake Committed: It may be seen that answer

has two constants. There should always be one

constant in the answer. So, the answer is x2 + 7x +

+ 7.

Example 3: Answer is x2 + 5 + x3 + 2x

is not written in standard form of polynomial. A

polynomial should always be written in decreasing

order of exponents. So, the correct way of writing

the answer is x3+x2 + 2x + 5.

is an improper fraction and such fractions should

be expressed in mixed fraction form to give a clear

picture. Thus, the correct way of writing the

answer is1 .

This is another example of careless mistake

on the part of students. Attempting a question

without reading the directions carefully may

sometimes be so disastrous that it may wipe out all

your marks.

See the following Example:

Example 1:

directions carefully wrote all the answers by

assuming that he has to answer what is true?

Obviously all his answers will be wrong even if he

knew all the answers.

answer should be rounded off to 2 places of

decimals and the student, ignoring the directions,

wrote the answer as 2.3769, and so may lose few

marks.

See the following answers given by a student:

Q.1 : Area = 6

Q. 2: Age = 7

Q 3 : Volume = 3

that students has mentioned the unit of the answer.

Answer should be supported by appropriate units

as per the units described in the question and as per

the directions (i.e. in what units the answer needed

to be written?).

Students have a general tendency to skip

few steps of the solution to arrive at answer as

early as possible. This may be due to carelessness

or for saving some time during the examination.

commit silly mistakes by students as due to

omission of some steps, students are unable to see

the error committed by them during the process.

each and every step of the solution (along-with the

formulae used during the steps) in a neat and clean

manner and off-course, in legible handwriting.

This will not only help them in reducing silly

mistakes but also assist them to re-check the

solution at the end of question paper in a proper

fashion.

2. Calculation Errors:

The second type of silly mistake is relating to

calculations. This means somewhere in the process

studentshave incorrectly added, subtracted,

multiplied or divided.

step problem means the rest of their work will be

wrong and that will make the final answeras

incorrect.

calculation skills and casual and hasty approach.

PreventingCalculation Errors:

(i) Slow Down a Bit

Again, simply slowing down and working more

carefully on a problem will cut down on the

computational errors.

Solving

After working hard to complete tedious

computations or multiple steps, students are

normally reluctant to go back and check their

calculations. However, checking the calculation

for accuracy shows whether the calculation has

been done correctly. If the final calculation is

wrong, students should go back through their work

and check for computational errors.

(Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division,

squaring, cubing, square root, cube root etc)

without doing the calculation again has been

explained in my book “Be a Human Calculator”.

The method is called „Digit Sum Method‟ and can

be performed in seconds after some practice.

Students should try to improve their calculation

speed by using some good book. The time saved

by them due to faster calculation skills may be

utilized by them to complete the test early and this

time may further be utilized to go through the

answer-sheet once again to check elimination of

possible silly-mistakes. However, this advice will

only be applicable for countries like India where

calculators are not allowed in schools till Class

XII.

Calculator” provides lots of simple observation

based tricks and hands-on practice questions for

improvement of calculation skillsof students in

Arithmetic and Algebra.

3. Conceptual or Basic Silly

Mistakes:

Conceptual errors occur because students have

misunderstood the underlying concepts or have

used incorrect logic. This is the most difficult type

of error to identify at first glance. This is also the

most difficult type of error for students to

recognize, but it is the most important to catch and

correct.

possible that all their math calculations are correct.

If they‟ve misunderstood a concept and thus used

an incorrect method to solve, there is a possibility

that they can work out each step meticulously and

correctly but still get the wrong answer.

Obviously preventing conceptual errors is not

as easy or straightforward as careless or

computational errors. And of course, all students

will have varying degrees of understanding, and

will struggle with different concepts.

and encourage conceptual understanding and

prevent future conceptual mistakes.

(i) Understand the Why

Students are advised to explore and discover

new math concepts in a way that helps them to see

and understand the why behind every concept of

mathematics. Merely learning formulae and steps

of solution will not suffice. This is not always

easy, but knowing the why behind math properties

or formulae will definitely help students to

understand, form connections and retain the

information for a longer duration.

There is always more than one way to solve a

math problem. By learning or exploring a concept

in multiple ways and from multiple angles,

students may provide themselves a richer math

environment and deeper understanding

various concepts by using variety of sources which

may be books, teachers, friends, on line resources

etc.

Students are usually hesitant in asking doubts

from teachers. This may be due to their shy nature

or due to the inhibitions that their doubts may

appear very silly to other students and teachers.

new they have to shed such inhibition and

therefore, students are advised to discuss all their

doubts with the teachers. This will reveal students‟

understandings as well as misconceptions to

teachers. That will help teachers to understand the

level of knowledge of students and they will be

able to help students accordingly. These doubts

can also allow students to explain things in their

own words which may inspireother students as

well to ask their doubts.

In the early elementary years, it can be difficult

for the students to analyse errors, because so much

of what they are learning is computational in

nature. It can be easy at that stage to dismiss

mistakes as simply calculation mistakes without

worrying about other aspects of mathematics.

recognize and classify their mistakes themselves.

They should be allowed to think through what

types of mistakes they‟re making so that they can

in fact learn from them.

Apart from this chapter, this book will focus on

Conceptual aspect of silly mistakes only. I have

tried my best to compile 100 such silly

mistakes/misconceptions committed by the

students across the globe over the years, gathered

from my teaching experience of 25 years.

2

Be SureAboutDivision

i. Division of 0 by any finite number

the concept of "Nothing" and division on the other

hand, is the mathematical way to represent the

process of “dividing or splitting some objects or

numbers into smaller parts or pieces”.

to revisit the elementary concept of division. If a

group of 4 personshave 20 bananas amongst them,

then, each person would get 20/4 = 5bananas.

Thus, division means sharing or breaking or

splitting a number of objects equally amongst

available persons.Extending the concept, if on a

given day these 4 persons have 0 bananas, then,

share of each person on that day will be 0 i.e., 0/4

= 0.

divide “Nothing (0)” amongst any number of

people (finite). So zero divided by any finite

number is same as "Sharing nothing amongst any

number of finite people". Each person gets

“nothing” i.e., 0/N = 0 for any finite number N

except 0.

Explanation -1:

= y).

number.

Explanation -2:

there is no person to claim the share.

finite number divided by 0 is not defined.

iii. Meaning of 0/0

x is not equal to zero.

Explanation-1

We know that,

If a/b = c, then b x c = a

0/0 = 1 is true as 0 x 1 = 0

0/0 = 2 is true as 0 x 2 = 0

0/0 = 3 is true as 0 x 3 = 0 and so on.

assume any value and hence it is not defined.

Explanation -2:

there is no person to claim the share and no objects

for distribution.

iv. Solution of a ÷ b ÷ c

The concept of double division is confusing when

there is no bracket.

So,

(24 ÷ 4) ÷ 2 = 6 ÷ 2 =3

and

24 ÷ (4 ÷ 2) = 24 ÷ 2 =12

24 ÷ 4 ÷ 2,

Is it 3 or 12?

Confused!!!

are involved with no brackets, the golden rule is

first-cum-first.

Thus, 24 ÷ 4 ÷ 2 = 6 ÷ 2 =3

Similarly,

100 ÷ 10 ÷ 2 ÷ 5 = 10 ÷ 2 ÷ 5 = 5 ÷ 5 = 1

3

Be Comfortable With

Numbers

i. Wrong Definition of Prime Numbers

divisible by 1 and itself only are prime but it is a

wrong definition. We are also taught that 1 is

neither prime nor composite.

be prime as it is divisible by 1 and itself.

prime.

and composite numbers is as follows:

Ex: 2, 3, 5, 7 etc . All these numbers have exactly

two factors, 1 and number itself.

composite. Ex : 4 (factors 1,2,4) , 6 (F 1,2,3,6) etc.

Now, 1 is a special number which does not fall

under any of these two categories ( Prime and

Composite) as it is the only number with exactly

one factor and therefore it is neither prime nor

composite.

Prime Numbers and Composite Numbers is a

classification of Natural (Counting Numbers) and

therefore negative numbers do not fall under the

category of Prime or Composite Numbers.

negative, divisible by 2 are even.

integers. The integers fully divisible by 2 are even

integers whereas the integers not fully divisible by

2 are odd integers.

-2,-4,-6 etc even numbers being divisible by 2 and

being integers.

v. Are 1.2, 2.8, 3.4 etc are even

numbers

Even and odd are classification of integers and

therefore decimal numbers are neither even nor

odd.

negative

also natural numbers or positive integers. For

example, multiples of 6 are 6, 12, 18 and so on.

That means if nothing is mentioned, multiples of a

number means natural numbers divisible by the

given number.

negative multiples as well if it is desired.

negative multiples of 5 is x, find x. We will take

first three negative multiples of 5 as -5, -10 and -

15 and so answer will be -30.

vii. Can factors of a number be

negative

or positive integers. For example, factors of 12 are

1,2,3,4,6 and 12. That means if nothing is

mentioned, factors of a number mean natural

numbers which divide the given number.

negative factors as well. For example, while

factorizing a polynomial of higher degree, we use

all the factors (negative and positive) of constant

term to factorize that polynomial.

For example,

we factorize 12 as (-4 x -3) to split the middle term

as,

x2- 4x - 3x+ 12 = x (x-4) -3 (x-4) = (x-4) . (x-3)

operation with the given number returns you the

original number.

a + 0 = a = 0 + a (Additive Identity)

a x 1 = a = 1 x a (Multiplicative Identity)

We may see that, when 0 is added to any real

number, it gives us back the same number and

hence it is known as additive identity.

number, it gives us back the same number and

hence it is known as multiplicative identity.

operation we use.

but it is not as:

but it is not as:

number?

For addition

Therefore,

For Multiplication

Identity (1)

Therefore,

prime

Students are always confused about the terms

prime numbers and co-prime numbers. Let us clear

the doubt by learning the correct definition of the

two terms:

factors or divisible by exactly two numbers are

prime numbers. For example: 2,3,5,7 etc all are

prime numbers because these numbers are

divisible by exactly two numbers i.e. 1 and the

number itself.

co-prime to each other if they have no other factor

as common other than 1 or their common factor is

1 only. For example- 2 and 3 are co-prime to each

other as their common factor is 1. Similarly 7 and

8 (not prime) are co-prime to each other as they

have their common factor as 1.

irrational

We know that any number which can be expressed

as a ratio of two integers (p/q form, where q ≠ 0) is

called rational number.

it termed as irrational?

terminating and non-repeating decimal and its

value is3.14159………and all non-terminating and

non-repeating decimals are irrational as these

numbers cannot be expressed in the form of p/q.

for making calculations involving π a little easier.

xii. Why non-terminating and

repeating decimals are rational

numbers

See the following examples:

Example-1

Let x = .333……

10 x = 3.33…….

On subtraction, we get

9x = 3 or x = 3/9 = 1/3

Example-2

Let x = .353535……

100 x = 35.3535…….

On subtraction, we get

99 x = 35 or x = 35/99

non-terminating and repeating decimals may easily

be converted in the form p/q (where q ≠ 0 and p

and q are integers) and thus these numbers are

rational numbers.

4

Be More Positive

About Zero

i. 0 is a Prime or Composite

classification forNatural (Counting Numbers) and

therefore zero does not fall under the category of

Prime or Composite Numbers.

negative, divisible by 2 are even. Because, 0 is

divisible by 2 and is an integer, it is an even

number.

Number

nothing is mentioned), Multiples of a number are

natural numbers only and so zero is not included in

multiples of any number.

However, there are situations/methods where we

talk about integral multiple of a number.

of every number.

0 is only whole number with only one multiple i.e.

0 itself as 0 multiplied by any number is zero.

Multiples.

number. For example factors of 6 are 1,2,3 and 6

as 6 is divisible by these numbers.

0/3=0, 0/-2=0 etc) so all the integers except 0 are

factors of zero.

number of factors.

Zero is the only number with infinite factors.

From the discussion held on last page,

We have,

number a is 1/a and –a respectively.

Thus,

Additive Inverse of 0 = - 0 = 0

5

Make Exponents Your

Friend

i. Why x m . x n = x m+n

We know that x. x = x2

Similarly, 4 x 4 x 4 = 43

term shows that how many times we have

multiplied that number or term.

Thus,

xm. xn

[x.x.x.x……..(m+n) times]

xm+n

For example:

27. 212

[2.2.2.2……..19 times]

219

ii. Why x m / x n = x m- n

xm/ xn

xm - n

For example:

212/27

[2.2.2.2……..5 times]

25

have been cancelled out from seven 2‟s in the

denominator leaving five two‟s in the Numerator).

(xm)n

(xm).(xm).(xm).(xm)………….n times

xm+m+m+m……….n times

xm.n

For example:

(212)3

212+12+12

212x 3

236

v. If x 0 is 1, why 0 0 ≠ 1

(where x ≠ 0)

Hence,

00≠ 1

we know that,

x0 = 1 ----(1)

and

xm/ xn = xm- n ----(2)

From (1) and (2), we have

1/xm = x0 /xm =x0-m= x -m

vii. Why x m . y m = (x.y) m

We know that,

xm.ym

[(x.y).(x.y).(x.y)……….m times]

(x.y)m

For example:

But,

and

exponents

Some common silly mistakes committed by

students while attempting the questions on

exponents have been given below. These mistakes

may easily be improved by observing basic rules

of exponents explained in previous pages:

Mistake-2: x2 .x3= x6

Mistake-3: x6 -x2= x4

Mistake-4: x6 /x3= x2

Mistake-5: (x2)3= x5

6

Silly Mistakes in

Arithmetic/Algebra

i. Sign Convention While Adding:

common during early school years but these

mistakes are continued even at higher level.

adding:

number with opposite sign are subtracted;

(b) Answer has the sign of number with greater

numerical value;

Thus, 5+ 4 = 9

(-5) + (-4) = -9

(5) + (-4) = 1

(-5) + (4) = -1

ii. Sign Convention While

Subtracting:

Apart from the two rules followed for addition,

one more rule needs to be followed:

number.”

Thus, 5 - 4 = 1

5 - (-4) = 5 + 4 = 9

(-5) - (-4) = -5 + 4 = -1

-5 - 4 = -9

Multiplying/Dividing Numbers:

The sign convention of multiplying/dividing

numbers is governed by the following rule:

answer is positive and when sign of two numbers

is opposite, the answer is negative.”

Thus,

( +6) . ( -2) = -12 and ( +6) / ( -3) = -2

In negative numbers, the number with less

numerical value is greater.

Mistake-1: -7 > -2

Correct Solution: -7 < -2

Mistake-2: -5 < -9

Correct Solution: -5 > -9

v. Comparing Fractions:

When Numerators of the numbers are same, the

number with lesser denominator is greater.

Correct Solution: 1/7 < 1/5

Correct Solution: 3/5 > 3/8

We know that in Algebra, Least Common Multiple

(LCM) of two numbers a and b is a.b.

Students try to imitate the same in arithmetic and

end up having a wrong answer.

Thus,

LCM of 2 and 3 is 6;

LCM of 3 and 4 is 12;

But LCM of 4 and 6 is not 24, it is 12.

only when both the numbers are co-prime to each

other. In other cases, students have to find the

answer by usual methods.

square roots

This is a very common misconception amongst

students known as “Square root Fallacy”.

by default and that is positive square root, thus:

√ √ √

positive and one is negative. Then, we have:

√ √ , which is

obviously wrong.

has only one square root that why we have two

answers on questions like:

(why).

square root of 9 i.e. √ .

and there may be two such numbers one is positive

and one is negative. Thus correct way of solving

this will be as follows:

√ √

Numbers

The above statement is wrong and leads to wrong

results. We may verify it by seeing the following

example:

1=√ = √ √ . √

at least one out of a and b is positive. If both the

numbers are negative, the formula will not work.

This mistake is normally carried out by students

during early years of schooling but sometimes it

happens after the early years as well due to

careless approach -

(-3)2 = -32 = -9

(-3)2 = -3 x -3 = 9

x.Careless cancellation

(a) Observe the careless cancellation in the

following examples:

(Incorrect); (correct)

(Incorrect); (correct)

(b) Biggest mistake in algebraic cancellations:

thus 5x = 5 means x=5/5 = 1.

follows:

7x = 49 means x = 7

12x = 48 means x =4.

numbers.Consider the following example:

Incorrect as a2 = ab a = b incudes

one incorrect step as we are dividing by algebraic

terms and the same will be valid if the

denominator is not zero. Thus, will be only

and will not be defined.

as under:

a2 = ab a2 – ab = 0 a(a– b) = 0 a = b or

a = 0.

So, never cancel out any algebraic term unless it is

known that term is non-zero.

Thus,

cancellation by x is valid as it is non-zero).

as nothing is given about x. Thus the correct

solution will be x3 - x2 = 0 or x2 (x -1) = 0 or x =

0, 1.

(a) Incomplete brackets never give a clear

picture.

not clear whether the intention was to write

incomplete bracket may sometimes leave students

in a difficulty.

(b) Suppose, we have to multiply a - b and a +

b. If we write these numbers without using

brackets as a – b. a + b, we will end up getting the

answer as a-ab + b, which is wrong.

(a – b) . (a + b) = a2 – b2

order two or more, it is advisable to use brackets.

b. If we write these numbers without using

brackets as a – b- a + b, we will end up getting the

answer as 0, which is wrong.

(a – b) - (a + b) = a – b –a - b= -2b

order two or more, it is advisable to use brackets.

is

2 ∫ (5x4+7)dx= 2x5+7x+C

The correct solution should be:

2 ∫ (5x4+7)dx = 2(x5+7x)+C = 2x5+14x+C

xii. Using Double Sign

Using two signs together in not acceptable as done

in the following examples:

Add x and -5

Wrong Way : x + - 5

Multiply x and -5

Wrong Way : x . - 5

(a) Using one as a coefficient or as an exponent:

1xand x1 are two frequently used examples of bad

notations. Though, nothing is wrong in these terms

as far as the concept is concerned but when co-

efficient and power is 1, it is better to write simple

x in-place of 1xand x1.

coefficient:Second example of bad notation is

using a / sign to denote a fractional coefficient

before a variable:

Suppose we want to write and if we write it as

4/5x, it is not clear whether it is or and thus

ambiguous in nature.

example of bad notation is using a / sign to

denote a fraction involving algebraic terms:

/ , it will not be clear whether it is

or and thus ambiguous in nature.

for division, they should use brackets to write the

above expression as / .

that cube root of a number x is expressed as √ ,

fourth root is expressed as √ . Keeping the same

analogy in mind, sometimes student used to write

square root of a number as √ , which is not

acceptable. The square root should simply be

written as √ .

(e) Putting Equal Sign before two equivalent

Equations:

7x + 3 = 2x +8

= 7x – 2x = 8 -3

= 5x = 5

=x=1

sign has been wrongly used before two equivalent

equations. The correct way of calculation is as

under:

7x + 3 = 2x +8

7x – 2x = 8 -3

5x = 5

x=1

Expressions like x2y should also be avoided and it

should be written as 2xy remembering that in

algebra, constants terms are always written before

the variable.

xiv. Improper Distribution

Students are aware about distribution law which

works as under:

. (b = .b (Distribution of

Multiplication over addition or subtraction)

law wrongly as,

root has been assumed over addition)

assumed over addition)

evident from following examples:

√ ≠√ + √

≠ +

xv. Cancellation in Inequalities

See the following inequalities:

right, whereas last three examples are wrong.

multiplies or divided by a negative number, the

sign of inequality gets reversed.

will be as under:

xvi. Quadratic Inequalities

A very common mistake, I have observed over the

years is as follows:

On the lines of x2 = 16 x= ,

x2> 16 x>

are as under:

x 2 ≤ a2 -a ≤x ≤

x 2 ≥ a2 -a ≥x ≥

Just like the silly mistake committed by students in

quadratic inequalities, a similar mistake is

committed by them while solving inequalities

involving modulus of a number :

On the lines of | |= 4 x= ,

| |>4 x>

are as under:

| |≤ a -a ≤x ≤

| |≥ a -a ≥x ≥

identities

Due to carelessness, many algebraic identities are

used incorrectly by the students. Some of these

are:

(a b)2 = a2 b2

(a b)3 = a3 b3

a2 b2 = (a b) 2

a3 b3 = (a b)3

a3 b3 + c3 = 3abc

(a b)2 = a2 b2 2ab

(a b)3 = a3 b3 3ab (a b)

a2 b2 = (a b) . (a b)

a3 b3 = (a b).(a2 b2 ab)

polynomials

of constants and variables by means of addition,

multiplication and exponentiation to a non-

negative power.

written (or rewritten) in the form:

anxn+ an-1xn-1 +an-2xn-2 +……………+a2x2+a1x+ a0

whole numbers and all the co-efficient a0, a1,

a2……an are real numbers.

criteria is a polynomial.

expressed as 5.x0 is a polynomial as 5 is real

number and exponent 0 is a whole number.

in the form of r.x0 and so it will be a polynomial.

Students are always confused about these two

terms about the degree and order of a polynomial.

called its order.

1 respectively as number of terms in these

polynomials is 2, 3 and 1 respectively.

Degree: For a single variable polynomial, the

highest power of the variable term used in that

polynomial is called its degree.

are 1, 2 and 0 respectively as highest power of x in

these polynomials is 1, 2 and 0 respectively.

sum of powers of the multi-variables in a term is

called its degree.

It is a well established convention in mathematics

that while writing answer in fraction, the

denominator should be a rational number.

irrational, it is made rational by multiplying

Numerator and denominator of the fraction by the

conjugate of the denominator.

and .

√ √

In both the answers, the denominator has been left

as an irrational number, which is against the

mathematical convention.

need to multiply √ and √ in the Numerator

and Denominator of both the fractions respectively

to get the correct answer as:

√ √

and

7

Be Careful With

Logarithm

i. What is Logarithm?

the power or index of some other number,

For example, 8 = 23

written in exponent form. It has numerous

applications in the field of mathematics, physics

and chemistry.

meaning.

have to be followed while applying concept of

logarithm. These constraints are as follows:

In log a x , a ≠ 1, a > 0 and x > 0.

ii.Properties of Logarithm

Just like exponents, logarithm is also used by using

certain properties which are mentioned below:

(b) log a (x/y) = log a x - log a y

(c) log a (x)m = m.log a x

(d) log a a = 1

(e) log a 1 = 0

(f) log a b = 1/log b a

(g) log c b = log a b /log a c

(h) =x

logarithm may easily be avoided by having a close

look to these properties.

In trigonometry,

However,

In logarithm.

The right way of expressing (log a x).(logax)is (log

2

a x) .

Students are always confusedabout the symbols

log x and ln x. The difference between these two

has been explained below.

This is normally termed as common logarithm.

is also known as natural logarithm. Students will

know more about number e in the chapter 9.

Logarithm

See the following mistakes frequently committed

by students:

Mistake-3: log a (b.xn) = b.loga(xn)

correct solution will be as under:

The correct solution will be as under:

The correct solution will be as under:

whereas in log ax, base is not written and hence it

is short form of log10 ax.

Mistake-8: log a (x + y) = log a x + log a y

8

Silly Mistakes in

Trigonometry

i. Sin A = Sin. A

writing trigonometric ratios and consider Sin A =

Sin .A i.e. product of Sin and A, which is not true.

Sin A is a single ratio between opposite and

hypotenuse when base angle (angle at one vertex

of the base other than right angle) is equal to A.

as 300, the ratio of opposite and hypotenuse will

always be ½.

of students lead to other confusions in

trigonometry.

ii. Cos (x + y) = Cos x + Cos y

This mistake is a by-product of first mistake

as we are treating Cos (x + y) as cos. (x + y)

and therefore, applying distribution law,

which is wrong.

cos (x + y) = cos x. cos y – sin x. sin y

Again as we are treating Sin nx as a product of

sin.n.x, we are writing it as n. sin x which is

wrong.

is absolutely wrong.

and these are:

Sin 3x = 3.Sin x – 4 sin 3 x

In trigonometry,

butSin x2 = Sin (x.x) ≠(sin x)2 or sin2x

v. Cos -1 x = 1/cos x

In exponents, x-1or reciprocal of x is written as 1/x,

which is perfectly fine.

However, in trigonometry,

However,

writingCos-1x = is not correct as Cos-1x or

(cos x) -1 are not same as cos2x or (cos x) 2.

trigonometric cosine function and not as (cos x) -1.

If y = sin x

Then, x = sin -1y

vi. Confusion over degree and

radianmeasure

question in in degrees. This may be because of

their habit till date or it‟s easier for them to

visualize the angle in degrees. But in practice,

most of the trigonometry and calculus is done in

radians and students are too often confused when it

comes to use the radian over degrees.

in radians in a trigonometry or calculus class if not

mentioned otherwise.

30 = ½ by assuming that the angle is given in

degrees.

that they should always use radians when dealing

with trig functions in a trig class if sign of degree

is not used.

also be assumed that the angle is in radian.

vii. Length of Arc

The angle subtended by an arc at centre of a circle

is given by the formula:

of length 60 cm of a circle with radius 2 cm.

Solution:

Ө = l / r = 60 cm / 2 cm = 30

circle ( r)

Ө = l / r = 60 cm / 2 cm = 30 radian or 30c

using sin table).

9

Silly Mistakes in

Calculus

i. Ignoring NotationsforLimits

limits while solving these questions after few steps

as evident from the following example:

as under:

That means, the notation for limits should be

applied till the step where the value of the limit is

applied on the given function.

function

Students often apply value of limit on part of

function without simplifying the function

completely. This will be evident from the

following example:

the Numerator without simplifying the function.

The correct solution should be as under:

iii. Improper use of L’ Hospital’s

Rule

L’ Hospital’s Rule

If,

negative infinity. In these cases we have,

= f xgx

= f x±gx

applicable only on quotient of two functions and

not on product, sum or difference of two functions.

derivative of x n

(xn) = n.xn-1

A very common mistake in differential calculus is

made by students by using the above result

incorrectly. The students tend to forget that the

above result is used only when the base number x

is a variable and the exponent n is a constant

(scalar) and not the vice versa and in any other

similarly looking functions.

For example:

(x5) = 5.x5-1 = 5.x4 is alright, but, (xx) =x.xx-1=

xx is wrong as exponent x is a variable. The correct

way of solving problems like this is as follows:

Let y = xx,

logey = log e xx

logey = x.log e x

(logey) = (x.log e x)

= x. +log e x.1

= 1+log e x

= y.(1+log e x)

(xx) = xx.(1+log e x)

Similarly,

(ex) = x.ex-1 and (ax) = x.ax-1, are totally

wrong as in these examples, the exponent x is a

variable and the base numbers e and a are

constants.The correct formulae for derivative of

these functions are:

(ex) = ex and (ax) = ax.logea

Therefore,

(5x) = 5x.loge 5

Important Note: When base is a variable and

exponent is a constant use the formula (xn) =

n.xn-1 but when base is a constant and exponent is a

variable use the formula (ax) = ax.loge a. There is

a separate formula for (ex) where e is a constant

but it is a special constant and so separate from a

as used in (ax). We will learn the difference

between ax and exin coming chapters.

incorrectly

We know that,

find derivative of product of two functions as :

wrong.

product of two functions is:

or, [f xg x] =f x g xg x f x

incorrectly

We know that,

find derivative of quotient of two functions as :

wrong.

The correct formula for finding derivative of

product of two functions is:

f gx

f xgxg xf xg x

[gx f xf x g xg x

vii. Ignoring constants in

Integration

We know that integration is the inverse process

that of finding a derivative.

Thus if we have,

(sin x) = cos x,

we will also have,ʃcos x dx = sin x.

is cos x, then, integration of cos x with respect of x

will be sin x.

But,

(sin x) = (sin x + 2) = (sin x -10)…. and so

on = cos x,

That gives,

ʃcos x dx = sin x or sin x + 2or sin x -10, which

shows that integration of a function may yield

infinite values. So, it will be more appropriate to

write, ʃcos x dx = sin x + c, where c is any

arbitrary constant.

tendency to drop the constant while finding the

integration of some function which is not correct.

Thus, ʃcos x dx = sin xis wrong and students

should write it as ʃcos x dx = sin x+ c as there are

infinite values of integration of a function.

Integration

We had seen in the last topic that while writing the

answer for integration of a function, we need to

add a constant with the answer to make the perfect

sense. However, sometimes, students use two

constants in the same question, which is not a good

practice. For example:In the following question,

step we had two constants –acos a and C1. In the

last step, the resultant of both has been named as C

and thus in the final solution, only one constant has

been used.

ʃx n dx

Students often forget that there is a restriction on

this integration formula, so the formula along with

the restriction is under:

x n1

x dx c , provide n ≠-1

n

n 1

in the following case:

x 11 x0

ʃ1/x. dx = x -1dx c c

11 0

is as follows:

ʃ1/x. dx = log e x +c

integrating ʃ1/x dx

We had seen in previous topic that,

ʃ1/x. dx = log e x +c

However, most of the students have a tendency to

forget the sign of absolute value ( modulus)

attached with x in the formula, which is very much

required.

not be required in some cases such as :

x

2x

dx log e x 2 7 c log e x 2 7 c

2

7

use of absolute value sign with it is of no meaning,

but consider the following case,

2x

x 2

7

dx log e x 2 7 c

negative depending upon the value of x so the use

of absolute value sign is necessary.

advised to use sign of absolute value in all cases

wherever, the formula of ʃ 1/x. dx = log e x + c is

used.

We know that,

ʃ1/x. dx = log e x +c

incorrect ways as will be evident from following

examples:

ʃ1/x2. dx = log e x 2 +c

when numerator is 1 and denominator is x or linear

expression of x only as follows:

ʃ1/(x+2). dx = log e x 2 +c

1

ʃ1/(2x+3). dx = log e 2 x 3 + c

2

incorrectly

We know that,

ʃ [f(x) g (x) ] dx = ʃ f(x) dx ʃ g (x) dx

find integration of product of two functions as :

ʃ [f(x) g (x) ] dx= ʃ f(x) dx ʃ g (x) dx ,which is

wrong.

two functions is known as Integration by parts and

it‟s formula is given by:

ʃ [f(x) g (x) ] dx

x as second function and integrating by parts, we

obtain

incorrectly

We know that,

ʃ [f(x) g (x) ] dx = ʃ f(x) dx ʃ g (x) dx

but students often try to apply the same analogy to

find integration of quotient of two functions as :

ʃ [f(x) g (x) ] dx= ʃ f(x) dx ʃ g (x) dx ,which is

wrong.

of quotient of two functions and the methods of

finding integration in such cases vary from case to

case basis. For example:

integration:

While attempting questions of definite integration

by way of substitution, sometimes limits are not

changed to match the new variables and that makes

an error. For example, following solution is

incorrect as while substituting x2+1 as t, the new

values of limits have not been replaced :

The correct solution will be as under:

Here a and e both are constants and that is why the

confusion exist. The constant e is a unique

constant given by, e ≈ 2.71828.... It is calculated

by using the following series:

Here a is any constant and it may include e as well:

As (ax) = ax.logea,

= ax.logea.

functions

We know that for a parametric function,x = f (t)

and y = f (t), derivative of y w.r.t. x is given by the

formula,

=

the formula for getting double derivative as

follows:

Example:

If y = t2 and x = t3.Find .

Incorrect Solution:

dy/dt = 2t and =2

dx/dt = 3 t2 and = 6t

Therefore,

= =

Correct Solution:

Therefore,

= = =

Now,

= ( )= ( )= ( )

= ( ) = =

xvii. Confusion Over Relation and a

Function

Cartesian product of two sets A and B is defined

as:

A X B = { (x, y) : x ∈ A and y ∈ B}

Thus, if A = { 1, 2} and B = {3 , 4}

A X B = { (1 , 3), (1, 4), (2 , 3), (2, 4)}

R = { (1, 3), (2, 3)} ⊂ A X B and hence is a

relation.

A function is a special relation in which first

elements of the ordered pairs in it are never

repeated.

relation and its first element is not repeated and

hence it is a function also. However, R2 = { (1, 3),

(1, 4)} ⊂ A X B and hence is a relation but its first

element 1 is repeated twice and hence it is not a

function.

but all relations are not functions.

Function

In exponents, x-1or reciprocal of x is written as 1/x,

which is perfectly fine.

function as:

xix. f (x + y) = f(x) + f (y)

Students often assume that in notation of function f

(x) stands for f.x and thus apply distributive on

functions incorrectly as follows:

f (x + y) = f(x) + f (y), which is not true.

Then, f (x + y) = log (x + y) ≠ log x + log y

Similarly,Thus if f(x) = x2

Then, f (x + y) = (x + y)2 ≠ x2 + y2

Again, f (c. x) = c. f (x) is a wrong notion.

Then, f (cx) = log (cx) ≠ c.log x

Similarly,Thus if f(x) = x2

Then, f (cx ) = (cx)2 ≠ c.x2

10

Other Silly Mistakes

i. Writing 0 in Place of a Null Matrix

called a Null Matrix and it is denoted by the

symbol O.

a Matrix. Students should not that a matrix is a

rectangular arrangement of number and hence it is

not a number.

A + (-A) = 0 (incorrect)

A + (-A) = O (correct)

See the following calculation in respect of

Matrices A, B

A. B = A => B = A/A = 1

The above calculation is wrong on two counts.

First, the operation of division is not allowed for

matrices and second, as matrices are not numbers,

they cannot be cancelled out as numbers.

A. B = A

I.B = I (∵A-1 A = I)

B = I (∵I.B = B)

diagonal elements are 1 and remaining elements

are zero).

Commutative

As Matrices are denoted by capital English

alphabets like A, B, C etc, students treat them at

par with Algebraic variables and assume that

matrix multiplication is Commutative.

In Arithmetic, 2 . 3 = 3. 2 (true)

However for two matrices A and B,

A . B = B. A (not necessarily true)

Example -1

Let A =( )and I =( )

Here A . I = ( )=( )

And similarly, I. A =( )

∴The product of two matrices is always

commutative when one of them is an identity

matrix.

Example -2

Let A =( )and O =( )

Here A . O = ( ) = O.A

∴The product of two matrices is always

commutative when one of them is a Null matrix.

Example -3

Let A =( )and B =( )

Here A .B ≠B.A

Example -4

Let A =( )and B =( )

Here A . B = B.A=( )

product of two matrices may or may not be

commutative.

In Algebra, x.(y.z) = (x.y).z ( true)

However for three matrices A, B and C;

only when B . C and A. B exist as per the

necessary condition for multiplication of two

matrices i.e. number of columns in matrix B

should be equal to number of rows in matrix C and

number of Column in matrix a should be equal to

number of rows in matrix B.

when at least one of the matrix is O

A. B = O is true when A = O

A. B = O is true when B = O

null matrix. See the example given on next page:

Let A =( )and B =( )

A . B =( )=( )

Hence, the product of two matrices can be null

matrix even if none of the matrices is a null matrix.

Matrices

As explained on previous pages, students apply

laws of algebra on matrices. However, applying

identities of algebra on matrices is totally

incorrect.

We know that,

( a + b)2 = a2 + b2 + 2a.b, holds good for Algebra.

( A + B ) 2 = ( A + B ) . (A + B)

= A. A + A .B + B. A + B . B

=A2+ A . B + B. A + B2

not be equal to B. A and thus for matrices,

when A. B = B. A i.e. the matrices are

commutative.

In view of the above discussion, students are

advised not to use algebraic identities on matrices

without knowing the conditions involved.

vector

Sometimes, 0 is used to represent null vector

whose symbol is ⃑ .

Thus,

. ⃑ = 0 is correct as it is a scalar product of two

vectors in which answer is a scalar.

However,

x ⃑ = 0is incorrect as it is a vector product of

two vectors in which answer is a vector. It should

be written as x ⃑ =⃑ .

vectors

We had seen in previous topics why algebraic

identities cannot be applied on matrices. However,

as the scalar product of two vectors is commutative

and is a scalar, the algebraic identities hold good

for vector scalar product. Thus, it is not wrong to

say that:

( ± ⃑ ) 2 = 2 + ⃑ 2± 2 ⃑

However, students should note that,

( ±⃑ ) x ( ±⃑ ) ≠ ( ±⃑ ) 2

and as such algebraic identities cannot be applied

on cross-product of vectors.

In Set Theory and Probability, the symbols

∪(Union of two sets) and ∩ (Intersection of two

sets) are used to denote the meaning of “Or” and

“And” respectively.

denotes Probability ( Event A or Event B) and

Probability (Event A and Event B) respectively.

of “Or” whereas the meaning of “Nor” is “End”.

represented by the symbol P(Ac ∩ Bc) and not

P(Ac∪Bc) as usually understood by the students.

x. Confusion over “Experiment” and

“Event”

Students are often confused in two terms

“Experiment” and “Event” in Probability.

in anticipation of a result, whereas Events are

outcomes or results or observations of the event.

For Example:

or tail are events.

number, getting odd number, getting prime number

etc are different events related to this experiment.

Section Formula: For two end points of line

segment A(x1, y1) and B (x2, y2), the coordinates of

the point P(x, y) that divides the given line

segment in the ratio m : n internally is given by:

( )

Ifpoint P(x, y) divides the given line segment in

the ratio m: n externally, then its coordinates is

given by:

( )

under:

A-----------------P-----------------B

Where AP : PB = m : n

of external division works as follows:

A-----------------B-----------------P

the formula).

Combination

There is another very common confusion among

students and that is difference between

Permutation and Combination.

Permutation and Combination are two closely

related concepts. The basic meaning of

Permutation is “Arrangement” and that of

combination is “ Selection”.

„Selecting several objects out of a large group‟.

how many ways we can chose two persons out of

them?

number of ways are three (AB, BC, CA). In

Combination, order of objects is of no importance.

Thus AB and BA convey the same meaning.

“Arranging several objects in different orders out

of a large group”.

getting ready to take a photo for their annual

gathering. In how many ways they can sit for the

photograph?

are ABC,ACB,BAC,BCA,CAB and CBA. In

Permutations, order of objects have its significance

and hence AB and BA are considered as different

Permutations.

xiii. 0! = 0

Explanation-1

from 1 to n.

Therefore, n! = 1.2.3.4………(n-1).n

Then:

1! = 1

2! = 1.2 = 2

3! = 1.2.3 = 6

4! = 1.2.3.4 = 24

and so on.

We get 1! = 1.0!

This yields, 0! = 1

Explanation-2

The idea of the factorial is used to compute the

number of permutations of arranging a set of n

objects:

names of Permutations

the

objects (n!)

(n)

1 (A) 1 {A}

2 (A,B) 2 {(A,B), (B,A)}

3 (A,B,C) 6 {(A,B,C), (A,C,B),

(B,A,C), (B,C,A),

(C,A,B), (C,B,A)}

0 1 { }

Therefore,

in only one way, so 0! = 1.

Explanation-3

We know that,

n

Cr describes number of ways of selecting r

persons out of n persons.

n

Cr = n! / r! (n - r)! ------ (1)

From (1), we have,

n

Cn = n! / n! (n - n)! = 1/ 0! ----- (2)

selecting n persons out of n persons is 1. ---- (3)

1/ 0! = 1

This yields, 0! = 1

Surface of a 3-D object means, outer or inner part

of any object, we can touch or see or both. In other

words, any part of the object, which is in contact

with air, may be termed as Surface of that object.

Area

There is no difference between these two terms.

The term Surface Area means Total Surface area

of the object.

Perimeter may be defined as length of outer

boundary of a 2-D figure.

Circumference, on the other hand, may be defined

as length of outer curved boundary of a 2-D figure.

hence we may say that its perimeter is equal to its

circumference.

trouble for students in some cases as explained in

the following example:

circle?

may end up getting the answer of both as π.r or π.r

+ 2r.

definition will get the answers as follows:

xvii.Volume = Capacity

Students are always confused about these two

terms and use them interchangeably for each other,

which is not correct. Both these terms have a

specific meaning and should be used accordingly.

radius is 7 cm and whose height is 20 cm.

= π.r2.h

= 3080 cubic cm

is the amount of 3-D space occupied by that object

whereas Capacity is the maximum quantum of

material (solid, liquid or gas) which can be hold by

that object.

example of a hollow cylindrical glass as shown in

the diagram shown on next page. The Outer radius

of the Glass is R and inner radius is r. The height

of the glass is h.

material required to make it = Volume of outer

Cylinder – Volume of inner Cylinder = π.R2.h

π.r2.h = π.( R2 - r2).h

Quantity of water held by the glass = Volume of

inner cylinder = π.r2.h

different.

pre-page.

= π.r2.h =

= 3080 cubic cm

If you freeze the water in a cylindrical glass and

take it out. It will look like a solid cylinder and

hence volume of water will be that of volume of a

solid cylinder i.e. π.r2.h.

number

We know that | | represents absolute value of a

number. For example:

| | = 7 ;| | = 0 ; | | = 5

| | = x, if x ≥ 0 and | | = - x, if x < 0

| |. They are of the view that if| | always return

the positive value as the answer then how | | = - x.

| |=7

| | = - (-5) = 5

as the answer and hence its definition is

| | = x, if x ≥ 0

And for a negative number, it returns the negation

of that negative number i.e. again a positive

number and hence its definition is:

| | = - x, if x < 0

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

capacity in the Government of India. Despite the

pressing bureaucratic compulsions he has to

negotiate with on a daily basis, he pursues his keen

interest in the field of Mathematics and has done a

lot of research on various techniques and concepts

on quick Mathematics. This book is the result of

his extensive research in this field for the last 25

years. He himself qualified in thirteen All India

Level Competitive Examinations, some of which

are reckoned as the toughest and the most

gruesome, alongside his research and writing

work.

Rajesh also writes fiction and creative non-fiction.

He also has a penchant for teaching mathematics

and is a very popular teacher for his creative and

entertaining ways of presenting the subject. His

previous book “Be a Human Calculator”was very

popular among students due to its observation

based techniques for doing quicker calculations.

This is his fourth book.

with his wife and son.

A WORD OF THANKS

Thank You for reading this book! If you enjoyed

this book or found it useful, I‟d be very grateful if

you‟d post a short review at Amazon. Your

support really will make a difference as I read all

the reviews personally so that I can get your

feedback and make this book even better.

RAJESH SARSWAT

BY THE SAME AUTHOR

You would also like to read another book

authored by me titled“BE A HUMAN

CALCULATOR”. The book is about observation

based calculation tricks for improving calculation

speed of the students. The book will not only help

the students to do calculations at a faster speed but

will also help them reducing their calculation

errors by improving their interest and creativity in

mathematics

CONTENT

BE A HUMAN CALCULATOR

1. Some Basic Techniques

2. Addition

3. Subtraction

4. Multiplication

5. Divisibility

6. Percentage

7. Division

8. Squaring Techniques

9. Cubing Techniques

10. Square Root

11. Cube Root

12. Fractions and Decimals

13. LCM and HCF

14. Checking Your Answer

Algebra

16. Long Division or Synthetic Division

17. Factorization of Polynomials

18. Solving Equations

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