Quantitative Skills Resources
The links below are provided as quick resources to help with some of the most common quantitative skills encountered in the Reed Curriculum.
Quantitative Skills Specialist Coaching AreasThe Quantitative Skills Specialist is generally available for quantitative skills coaching on any of the topics listed below.
- Succeeding in Quantitative Subjects - note taking, study methods, exam preparation
- Pre-Algebra - Fractions, Percentages and Decimals
- Algebra - Exponents, Complex Fractions, Solving Equations
- Logarithms and Log Graphs
- Graphing Equations and Interpreting Graphs
- Translating Word Problems Into Equations
- Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets
- Lab Skills - Scientific Notation, the Metric System, Significant Figures, Dimensional Analysis
Handouts from Reed's Quantitative Skills Workshops
- Dimensional Analysis, Scientific Notation, and Significant Figures. These techniques are used across disciplines, but especially in the lab sciences.
- Logarithms. What are logarithms? How are they used? And why should you care?
- Why We Should Love Logarithms. This Nature article claims that humans naturally think about numbers logarithmically.
- Word Problems, Percentages, and Direct/Inverse Variation. Tools for translating common English phrases into mathematical notation are widely applicable when tackling word problems. In particular, they can help with interpreting some statements about percentages and about quantities that vary directly or inversely with one another.
- More with Percentages. Distinguishing between percentage changes and percentage point changes.
- Linear Equations and Graphing Etiquette. A review of slope, y-intercepts, and some basic best practices for producing graphs.
- Excel Basics Tutorial. Covers a variety of introductory Excel topics: setting up a spreadsheet, first steps for formatting a data set, sorting data, applying formulas, and making graphs.
- LaTeX Basics Tutorial. Covers the basics of creating a technical, clean-looking document for your math classes, science classes, or thesis.
Other Tutorials and Reference Materials
- Khan Academy has a wide variety of short math tutorial videos and interactive exercises that have the benefit of covering very specific topics, which allows you to focus on learning exactly what you need.
- Better Explained uses an "intuition-first approach" to teach a variety of mathematical topics. This is a great place to go for a big-picture understanding of specific math concepts.
- Cal Newport's Study Hacks Blog includes many posts on time management, study skills, and test-taking skills, primarily aimed at students in quantitative and technical disciplines.
- Lamar University has posted some well-formatted and concise cheat sheets here. I've linked directly to a few of my favorites below.
- Algebra Cheat Sheet. This handout includes a long list of mathematical rules you may have learned and forgotten over the years (exponents, fractions, factoring, quadratic formula, etc.). Since you probably don't need all of this information for your current coursework, try highlighting any rules that you do look up so that you can find them more easily next time.
- Trigonometry Cheat Sheet. Rules and formulas for working with triangles, the unit circle, sine waves, and trig identities.
- Common Derivatives and Integrals. Formulas for common shortcuts of differentiation and integration.
- Biology 101/102 Bio Binder (Green Book). The Intro Biology course binder contains a wealth of quantitative skills resources, including help with JMP, the metric system, algebra, graphing, dilutions, fractions, decimals, and percents. A digital copy of the green book is available on Reed's Courses AFS server. Instructions for accessing this server are available here.
- CLUE for Reed by Cooper and Klymkowsky This PDF is viewable only if logged into Google Suite using Reed credentials.
- Summation Notation. A quick handout from Columbia University, defining the notation and offering a few very basic worked examples.
Working with Data
- Data at Reed. Reed's Data at Reed team includes staff from the library, the ETC, and the DoJo. We work as a team to help students with many steps in their data-intensive projects, including data discovery, management, analysis, and citation. The Data Resources page includes short guides for working with R, Stata, and Excel. If you have a data-related question and are not sure who to contact, drop the team a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll make sure that you’re routed to the right person.