How hard is it to do discrete math?

How Hard Is It To Do Discrete Math?

How Hard Is It To Do Discrete Math?

discrete math

Discrete math is a branch of mathematics that deals with discrete objects, as opposed to continuous objects. It includes topics such as logic, set theory, graph theory, and combinatorics. Discrete math is widely used in computer science and other fields, making it an essential subject for students pursuing degrees in these areas. However, many students find this subject to be quite challenging, with some struggling to grasp the concepts and solve problems. So how hard is it to do discrete math? Let’s find out.

FAQs About Discrete Math

What Makes Discrete Math Abstract?

One of the main reasons why discrete math can be difficult is its abstract nature. Discrete objects are often represented by symbols and graphs rather than visual, real-world examples. This makes the concepts more challenging to grasp, especially for students who are used to thinking in concrete terms. For example, understanding the concept of infinity in discrete math is more abstract than understanding the length of a physical object. Thus, students may find themselves struggling to connect the abstract concepts to real-world applications, which can make it harder to master the subject.

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abstract math

The abstract nature of discrete math also requires a different way of thinking. It’s not just about memorizing equations and solving problems but also about understanding the underlying concepts and applying them to different scenarios. This takes time and practice, and some students may struggle to adjust their thinking methodology to the abstract nature of discrete math.

Why Is Unfamiliar Notation Used in Discrete Math?

Another reason why students may find discrete math difficult is the use of unfamiliar mathematical notation. Discrete math uses a variety of symbols and notation that may be unfamiliar to students who have not taken a math course beyond algebra. For example, the symbol ∃ represents “for all,” while the symbol ∅ represents “there exists.” Similarly, notation such as capital sigma (Σ) and product symbol (∏) may be new to students.

math notation

Mastering the notation used in discrete math takes time and practice. This can be a challenge for students who are used to solving problems using familiar notation and methods. However, it is essential to learn the notation in order to be able to understand and solve problems in discrete math.

Why Do You Need to Master Multiple Problem-Solving Strategies in Discrete Math?

Discrete math requires the mastery of multiple problem-solving strategies. Unlike algebra, where there is often a single method for solving a problem, discrete math involves multiple strategies that can be applied to a single problem. For example, one problem in graph theory may be solved using mathematical induction, while another problem requires the use of a tree diagram. This can make it challenging for students to know which strategy to use when solving a particular problem.

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problem-solving strategies

It’s essential to understand the different problem-solving strategies in discrete math and when to apply them. This requires a deep understanding of the concepts and the ability to apply them in various contexts. Thus, mastering multiple problem-solving strategies can be a challenging but necessary part of learning discrete math.

What Are Some Tips for Success in Discrete Math?

While discrete math can be a challenging subject, there are several tips that can help students succeed:

  • Practice, practice, practice. Discrete math requires a lot of practice to master. Solving problems regularly can help students understand the concepts and develop problem-solving skills.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re struggling with a concept or problem, seek help from your professor, teaching assistant, or classmates.
  • Master the notation. Understanding the notation used in discrete math is essential to solving problems and understanding the concepts.
  • Explore real-world applications. Even though discrete math is abstract, it has many real-world applications. Exploring these applications can help students understand the relevance of the subject and motivate them to learn more.
  • Break down problems. Discrete math problems can be complex and overwhelming. Breaking them down into smaller parts can make them easier to understand and solve.
  • Review regularly. Discrete math concepts build on each other, so it’s essential to review regularly to ensure a deep understanding of the material.


Overall, discrete math is a challenging subject due to its abstract nature, unfamiliar notation, and the need to master multiple problem-solving strategies. However, with practice and the right mindset, students can overcome these challenges and excel in the subject. By understanding the underlying concepts, mastering the notation, and applying problem-solving strategies, students can develop a deep understanding of the subject and its real-world applications.

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Website Description
Math Is Fun: Discrete Math A comprehensive guide to discrete math that covers topics such as logic, proofs, sets, functions, and more.
Khan Academy: Discrete Math A collection of video lessons and practice problems covering discrete math topics such as combinatorics, graph theory, and cryptography.
MIT OpenCourseWare: Mathematics for Computer Science A series of video lectures by MIT professor Tom Leighton covering discrete math topics relevant to computer science and engineering.

discrete math

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