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Mr Chen's anecdotes.


I get it. Math is frustrating. Math from secondary school or junior high onwards no longer revolves around simple modes of operation. It is no longer about finding how much 1 plus 1 is but rather, about finding x.

The meme before all memes

And it is especially frustrating when it concerns algebra because your scientific calculator is unable to expand, simplify, factorize or solve for you. Even if it did, the lack of workings would have your teacher requesting to see you in her office later.

This creates a sense of desperation in students. Personally, as a tutor, the answer is not the most important but the thought process is. However, I also understand students’ eagerness to learn and check their answers. Hence, I have found 3 online calculators that you can use for free at your disposal.

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What I like about it:

Most of us would have heard of Microsoft. They are one of the forefronts in operating systems for PC. Not only that, but they also provide a free online calculator that is easily accessible now.

The interface is incredibly sleek and clean which makes the user experience calming and serene. (Precisely what you need when you’re desperate to complete your homework the night before.) In addition, they also have clearly defined tabs for each category of math that you would need help in.

Instead of just having a calculator bluntly placed in front of your screen, you can specifically click on the area of math that you need help in. Once you’ve clicked the tab, you will be brought to a page where they provide examples of questions that you can key in. Such a feature ensures times efficiency as a user can be well-versed in the calculator with minimal hassle.

Furthermore, upon submitting your question request, they provide a step-by-step solution with explanations provided. Students who are stuck will then be able to compare their own answers versus the answers provided by the calculator. This would help students identify where they have gone wrong or understand why they could not proceed to the subsequent step.

I wish they had this when I was in secondary school

What I don’t like about it:

The calculator is not a panacea. For most topics, the online calculator is appropriate. However, the Microsoft Math Solver falls short in the trigonometry aspect. Unlike the other tabs which are easy to use, the calculator can be rather confusing for beginners when it comes to solving trigonometry equations. Furthermore, the answers could have been loaded in a shorter amount of time. Users can feel the waiting time while the calculator processes your questions.

Overall verdict: 4/5

What I like about it:

Symbolab online calculator upon first impression provides the most child-friendly interface. The cute cartoons and simple design create a sense of comfort. It feels welcoming especially to younger users. Younger users are less likely to be deterred even if the calculator may not be as easy to use and would likely spend time understanding how to use it.

Among the options introduced in this article, this calculator serves and operates based on the most fundamental idea. A calculator.

What I don’t like about it:

Indeed, it is only a calculator. In other words, compared to its counterparts, they do not provide step-by-step solutions or explanations unless specifically requested by clicking on tabs. Examples and some guides are only provided upon clicking on the "solution" tab.

Furthermore, there is no clear direction for a user. Users would need time to experiment with the website in order to find the specific category of math they are looking to solve using the calculator. The home landing page might mistakenly lead users to think the calculator is unable to help them given the simplistic design of the page.

Overall verdict: 3/5

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What I like about it:

Mathway online calculator provides the most unique experience among the three. Many websites today have an online help chat. Users are able to pose questions and a bot would interpret the question as best they can and reply with an answer. This is precisely the experience you get from Mathway online calculator.

Users are presented with a calculator and a chat box above. A mathematical equation is keyed in and upon clicking send, a prompt would appear, suggesting the various results you might expect from the equation. A response is then provided. If the answer is deemed unsatisfactory by the user, the user can enter the same equation again but select a different option when prompted. In other words, users are encouraged to explore the different dynamics of an equation.

Your "AskJamie" for Math

What I don’t like about it:

Unlike the other online calculators, to fully reap the benefits of this calculator, you are required to sign up. Even though it’s free, the requirement of sign-ups would cause users to hassle and potentially turn them away to other alternatives.

Furthermore, the prompt feature might irritate, distract and confuse users who are just seeking straightforward answers. For example, upon sending a request to solve a pair of the simultaneous equation, the prompt would show you more than 15 options of their interpretation of the question. This might intimidate the younger users who are just looking for the most elementary method for solving a given question.

Overall verdict: 3.5/5

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They are merely quick fixes only

These calculators are just quick fixes and short-term in nature. It helps you solve questions and complete your homework such that you can avoid tongue-lashing or detention. We all know your true ability will be put to the test in a written assessment where you would not have access to any of the aforementioned calculators.

For some, the explanations provided by the step-by-step solution of online calculators are sufficient. Whereas most need a private mentor in the form of a home private tutor to connect the dots for them. Tutors at VANTAGE TUTOR are not only knowledgeable, but we also form a relationship such that every session is a back-and-forth discussion. Such discussions promote cognitive dissonance and learning.

Our students' results speak for themselves

Our tutors are well-versed in Math, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology all the way through to A levels. Hesitate no more, click here to get in touch with us today!

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