The bedrock of great things is often lain in small beginnings, just as the foundations of a tower are sunk into the ground, hidden from sight but ever supporting the edifice. This truth applies in many of life’s endeavors, including the studies undertaken in high school mathematics. In the course of this academic work, young students build the foundation upon which their future interaction with mathematical problems will depend. Whether the student in question is preparing to enter the workforce directly after high school or is going to go on to studies culminating in many years of medical school, these important classes will set the tone for much of his or her future interactions with mathematics.

An example might help to illustrate this fact. In college, students can go for years without taking a single mathematics course. This is often the case for those who are not majoring in a field such as business, mathematics, or one of the sciences. Such students may take a first college algebra course at the beginning of their undergraduate studies, but that can terminate their work in the field of mathematics. However, at the end of their undergraduate studies, they may perhaps wish to apply to graduate school, which will require the taking of the GRE. ETS, the company that administers this exam, knows that many students have potentially not taken a mathematics course in years. Therefore, they duly adjust the difficulty of the exam to recognize this fact. Still, it still can be quite difficult to work through such mathematical problems after years of not using these skills. While this remains difficult no matter what the circumstances, students who took seriously their high school mathematics studies most often have the strong foundations needed for quickly and ably rebuilding the skills needed for success on the GRE.

Of course, the use of high school mathematics extends far beyond the details of graduate school applications. Whether students are taking the academic track of mathematics studies or the track of applied mathematics, these skills will be quite useful in a number of ways in future life. Obviously, academic mathematics will be most useful for further studies in college. Providing the skills needed for success in college-level function analysis and calculus, these mathematics courses will play a pivotal role in preparing students for the rigors of their undergraduate studies. In the case of applied mathematics, it is perhaps more obvious (or at least more concrete) to see how such studies are of use. These courses bear immediate fruit in the many vocational fields that numerous students plan to pursue directly following their course of high school studies.

No matter what the future plans of high school students, however, the advanced applications and techniques taught in high school mathematics are critical to success in a wide variety of ways. If students do not have a firm foundation in the concepts taught during this period of their studies, they will always be relearning the details of their mathematical knowledge, causing significant detriment to the future studies and applications made of this mathematical learning. Therefore, it is quite advisable to take seriously the tasks at hand in these courses today!

If you’re having trouble understanding certain topics covered in your high school math course, our high school math help page can assist you in navigating the obstacles that stand between current confusion and complete understanding. No matter whether you are struggling with a narrow concept or a broad range of related material, you can easily navigate our high school math help page to locate the topic or topics at hand. Each help topic links to solved practice problems that display the correct answers and include full explanations of how each question can be solved. Reading through some of these practice problems can give you a solid point at which to begin adjusting your conceptual understanding or approach to a specific problem type. Afterward, if you want to tackle some problems on your own, our high school math practice tests and diagnostic tests can help you do so while giving you feedback about your current level of content mastery. Spending some extra time making sure that you fully understand each high school math topic as it is presented in class can help you lay the groundwork for future endeavors, and the high school math resources on our Learning Tools site can help you do just this!