How to Pass a Finite Math Course

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Unlike calculus, finite mathematics works outside the realm of continuity. Finite math typically involves real-world problems limited to discrete data or information. Computers work with this type of discrete data all the time. Passing a finite math course requires the ability to understand mathematical modeling techniques and an aptitude for efficiently working with numbers and calculations. Because finite math is strongly linked to real life, it can help you in a variety of fields such as computer sciences, business or even physical sciences.

    Purchase a scientific calculator with statistical functions, permutation/combination calculation capability and full graphic capability. In addition, make sure you have a manual for the calculator that includes keystroke operations and instructions. For example, get a Texas Instruments TI-82 or TI-83 graphic calculator, which typically is heavily incorporated into a finite math course and will help you solve difficult problems in less time.

    Read through finite mathematics concepts in books such as those listed in the Resources section. Look for books that include several homework exercises with explanations of answers. Also, consider books that offer supplementary CDs or online links to instructional videos for math problem examples.

    Study the basics of matrices, matrix addition and matrix multiplication. Master matrix inverses and how to use a matrix inverse to solve a system of equations. In addition, go over graphing linear inequalities and setting up linear programming problems. Also, practice distinguishing present and future values in practical applications as well as counting large finite sets.

    Review in detail what the Markov chain is. The Markov chain involves analyzing a series of events and the tendency of one event to be followed by another. Learn how to distinguish a Markov chain from an arbitrary random process. Study multi-step transition possibilities as well. In addition, learn how to construct probability models and how to tell the difference between the relative frequency model and the uniform probability model.

    Ask your educational institution if it offers free finite math help. For example, schools such as Florida International University provide free online help to students on nights and weekends, as well as tutoring help during the day in its learning center.

    Also, go to websites such as, which offers online tutorials of several finite math concepts and even game versions of the tutorials to make learning finite math more engaging.


About the Author

YaShekia King, of Indianapolis, began writing professionally in 2003. Her work has appeared in several publications including the "South Bend Tribune" and "Clouds Across the Stars," an international book. She also is a licensed Realtor and clinical certified dental assistant. King holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ball State University.

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