posted on Jun, 7 2006 @ 12:06 PM
A lot of the math you learn beyond basic algebra and geometry isn't used directly. Some of it goes to help build skills you'll need if you want to
pursue a math-heavy field like engineering, the hard sciences, or computers. For the rest, the real value shows up if your teacher made you, even if
only briefly, learn how to do the calculations by hand. For that it's not so much the specific formulas that are important, but learning how to
create and use a formula that will benefit you later in life. Figuring out ratios if you need to quickly adjust a recipe and don't have a calculator
handy, for example, determining tips, even doing your taxes. It's not so much that you should be able to remember the quadratic equation (I'll
admit that, 14 years out of high school that beloved formula is long gone from my memory), but that you should be at least reasonably comfortable with
numbers.
That last is really important when you're looking into things like home or car loans. Compound interest is a tricky beast, and lenders will use all
sorts of tricks to make their offers look good. If you're not comfortable enough with math to do a quick check of their numbers and see if it looks
reasonably close to what it should be, you have to trust the lender's word that you're getting a good deal. And for every good lender out there,
there's 3 or 4 predatory ones.
So, work on being comfortable with math, learn a few tricks you can use to impress people later (tips, for example: take 10% of the bill, halve it,
then add the two numbers together to get your 15%. I can usually beat the people that have to dig their tip calculator out of their pocket to figure
them. It's just a party trick, really, but I'm an IT guy and need all the tricks to impress girls I can get
)