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13 December 2022

‘When I started university, mathematical concepts scared me’: Maths Mentor Katie shares how she improved her skills

Feeling a little confused or intimidated by maths in your unit work and assessments? We asked Deakin student and Maths Mentor Katie Pemberton to tell us a little about herself and her top tips for succeeding with maths subjects.

Katie PembertonHello everyone, my name is Katie and I am a Deakin Maths Mentor. I am currently studying to attain my Bachelor of Psychological Science. My aspiration is to someday become a child protection practitioner or a child psychologist.  

Becoming a Deakin Maths Mentor meant a lot to me as maths is not one of my strongest skills. When I started university, mathematical concepts scared me. Luckily, I had fantastic unit chairs in my statistics units who guided me towards enhancing my knowledge and confidence in statistics. This led me to wanting to help students increase their statistical knowledge as well as their confidence. 

The most common conundrums we see are students second-guessing their abilities to carry out equations and understand statistical concepts. As Maths Mentors, we are taught to implement social learning whereby as a mentor we guide students to where they may find the answer, rather than telling them answers directly. We allow students the opportunity to share their understandings with us so we may recommend they show us their unit content or we may guide them to further resources if needed. Maths Mentors may also share any additional insights that could help a student understand content in more depth.  

Some tips for enhancing maths skills? Attend all classes and seminars as well as do all other tasks within your unit, ask questions (as no question is a silly question!), and if you are stuck, join a Maths Mentor session or send us an email. If you decide to contact a Maths Mentor, please make sure you have questions and resources on hand in regard to your enquiry. Any Maths Mentor will help to the best of their ability to ensure you understand the content to the best of your ability. Each Maths Mentor has their own skillset so if a Maths Mentor in one session may not be able to help you, they will be able to guide you to another mentor or resources that will be useful for you.  

There is also a Maths Mentor Resource Centre available. This includes additional resources not found within your unit sites for many maths-related units. You can also access the Foundation Maths Program which includes numeracy, statistics, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry modules to help you grasp basic concepts in each of these topics. If you do not have much confidence when it comes to maths, I recommend looking at this program or the resources to help you understand the starting points of different mathematical concepts.  

Being a Maths Mentor is very rewarding as I get to witness students’ confidence grow as they grasp mathematical concepts. The main aim as a Maths Mentor is to help students enhance their maths knowledge and gain confidence when working with maths.

Thanks for reading! I hope to see you in a Maths Mentor session someday.   

Need some help? Get in touch!

If you want to chat to someone about your maths concerns, attend one of our online drop-ins hosted by a Maths Mentor like Katie! You don’t need an appointment, just bring your maths questions. You can share your screen, talk or text with the mentor. You can also get in touch via email and access all the useful resources on the Maths Support Resource Centre at any time.

Please note the Maths Mentor drop-ins won’t run during the University closedown period (Thursday 22 December to Wednesday 4 January) and will resume again in Week 8 for the remainder of Trimester 3.

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