Top 10 math help sites

[27 Apr 2011]

Here are some of the best places to ask your math questions, each at zero cost. Do you have a favorite that I’ve missed?

Answered by experts

1. Ask Dr. Math has been going since 1994 and has a wealth of answers to a broad range of readers’ questions. It’s searchable, as are all the recommendations below.

Community driven

The answers in each of the following forums are provided by members of the forum. The quality of the answers varies – caveat emptor!

The list below is roughly in order of answer quality, but if course, it depends on each particular question.

2. Physics forums – math category around 30,000 questions. There’s also a section specifically for homework questions. You need to show your own work before anyone will answer you – and rightly so. The rules for Physics Forums (including a list of banned topics) has helped to maintain its quality.

3. My Math Forum – around 15,000 questions with answers so far.

4. AskMe Help Desk (math category) This one allows for math notation in questions and answers.

5. Askville (math category) (by Amazon).

6. Yahoo answers (Click on “Science & Mathematics”, then “Mathematics”).

7. Answerbag (math category). Around 5000 questions in clearly defined sub-categroies.

8. AOL Answers (math category)

9. OpenStudy (math category) This one is quite new (and was down last time I checked, so I removed the link). Their slogan is “Make the World Your Study Group”. The interface is very chat-like and you can see answers appearing to questions in real time. This one is free to look at, but there is a membership fee for asking questions.

10. Wolfram|Alpha. This is not a forum – it’s a “computational knowledge engine”. Many forum questions I saw can easily be solved using Wolfram|Alpha, for example “Convert 6 inches to cm.” or “Factor r^6 – 3r^4 +3r^2 -1″. And the answer will be correct!


Disclaimer and suggestion

With most of these sites, you can ask your homework question and if you are lucky, someone will answer it for you. (Some sites will only answer you if you show some working first, to indicate you are not being lazy, you are a genuine student, and you are actually stuck in the middle of the question.)

If you are even luckier, the answer provided will be correct and will have some good explanation to go with it.

Now, you can just copy the answer given into your homework assignment and get marks for it – but what have you learned?

Some of the answers I’ve seen on these sites are plain incorrect (some people want to be sociable, rather than right) and the risk is, you would copy the answer and get it wrong.

My suggestion then, is to do several other similar questions from your text book to make sure you really know how to do it after getting help from a forum. In this way, you’ll actually be able to do that kind of question when it comes out in a test, and more importantly, you will be building your knowledge and skills for future learning.

Any more?

Do you have a recommendation for a good forum beyond the ones I’ve listed?

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14 Comments on “Top 10 math help sites”

  1. Maria Droujkova says:

    Thank you for aggregating!

    Art of Problem Solving ~90k – if you have a question that’s actually interesting
    http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Forum/index.php?

    XKCD forum 4.7k – ditto
    http://forums.xkcd.com/viewforum.php?f=17&sid=41af211ebcf452fd7a4b3abd36ac7d4f

    Mathoverflow – if you have a research-level question (strictly enforced)
    http://mathoverflow.net/

    StackOverflow Math Exchange – also grown-up level, but more general (“for professionals studying and using math at any level”)
    http://math.stackexchange.com/

  2. Raj says:

    Hi,

    i think online education sites are great tool for kids that help them in their study. I also found one site http://eduarrow.com that provide free video tutorials for all subjects. I think it help kids to learn topic that they miss in class or feel shy to ask teacher in class.

  3. Murray says:

    Thanks, Raj. My list includes specifically forums where users can ask questions, but Eduarrow appears to be tutorials only.

  4. David Binner says:

    Hello, Mr. Bourne.

    Informative post! Including the comments, I learned about several forums I hadn’t known about previously.

    Here are a couple more I visit:

    S.O.S. Mathematics
    http://www.sosmath.com/
    In addition to the forums, the site contains many useful math references.

    Math is Fun Forums
    http://www.mathsisfun.com/forum/index.php

    Math Help Forum
    http://www.mathhelpforum.com/

    I also visited some of the math sites you mentioned in other posts, and I noticed some of them have forums too, for example,

    Math Goodies
    http://www.mathgoodies.com/forums/

    and

    Purplemath
    http://www.purplemath.com/learning/index.php

  5. Murray says:

    Hi David and thanks for the extra forum information.

    Through your blog I found your math javascript library. Impressive stuff!

  6. David Binner says:

    Here’s one more:

    Free Math Help
    http://freemathhelp.com/forum

  7. Colleen Young says:

    How about Ask Nrich?

    or The Student Room?

    You mentioned WolframAlpha – something I show all my students.
    I have a series of slideshows on WolframAlpha to help students learn the syntax

  8. Murray says:

    @Colleen: Thanks for the extra resources. I like The Student Room where they ban people from giving full answers (while letting the person who asked the question figure it out for themselves). Exactly how it should be done!

    Your Wolfram|Alpha slides are valuable, too. All the best.

  9. Sudharaka says:

    Dear Mr. Bourne,

    I was reading your post and thought you might have missed out on a very important math help site which is relatively new but has a lot to offer.

    The name of the site is "Math Help Boards" and the following is the url of its homepage:

    http://www.mathhelpboards.com/forum/

    Our site gives free math help without any paid subscriptions and there are many knowledgeable members from undergraduate students to professors.

    I invite you to have a look at this site and consider the possibility of adding it to your math help sites list.
    Please don’t hesitate to reply to my email address if you have any queries.

    Thank you for your time,
    Kind Regards,
    Sudharaka.

  10. Murray says:

    @Sudharaka: Thanks for the resource. All the best with it!

  11. Edzai says:

    You can check out http://www.mathsgenius.co.za a free online math help portal/forum

  12. Paul says:

    Another free resource related to math is Algebra-Calculus site.

  13. Murray says:

    @Paul: You have an error in the question in Example 2 on this page.

  14. Paul says:

    @Murray:Hello.
    Thanks for finding typo.
    Fixed.

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