The Asian Secret to getting the A

A shot of an asian student studying on his laptopLet’s face it, Asians as a majority tend to do better in Mathematics than other American ethnic groups.  Racism aside, the facts show it.

For the past 20 years (and probably more), Asian-Americans have consistently outperformed all other ethnic groups in mathematics on the SAT.  Any scientist worth their salt would immediately recognize a pattern – something’s up.  Saving you the trouble of having to go through all the research studies, books, and papers about it, I have compiled this 5-point Math-Blasting list and how you too can have the “Asian secret” to getting the A.

1. Start Practicing your fractions – To count to 100, children of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean parents have to memorize less than half the number of phrases that English-speaking children must know.  This means they can count to 40 when they’re 4 years old, while we can only count to 15.  Not only that, but the concept of fractions is inherently built-in to the language.  So how can you emulate this?  Start practicing fractions.  Countless number of mathematical concepts build on this – decimals, scientific notation, percentages, comparison, geometry, balancing equations, and the list goes on.  If you can strengthen this concept, it will help your math skills indefinitely.

2. Start caring about your education – Many Asian immigrants and other ethnicities traveled to the United States to receive higher education and, in turn, many Asian parents are well-educated.  People tend to put their money where their values are, so it’s safe to say that Asian culture values education and teachers.  “But my family doesn’t value education.”  Walt Disney’s company failed twice before becoming the biggest entertainment giant.  Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before finding the right way to create a lightbulb. The point is, you can either let your environment and circumstances dictate who far you get in life, or you can take control and create your own destiny.

3. Follow Steve Jobs’ example – Steve said, “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Numerous studies have proven this concept to be true – the expectations that you and others place on yourself sets the bar for how high you can go.  Set the bar high, my friend. Determine to be excellent.

4. If you need help, get help – Studies show that Asian families seem more ready to hire a tutor if their child is struggling in school.  This definitely plays into their cultural value for education, but you don’t have to be left out.  Humility is tough for anybody, especially teens, but the sooner you realize you don’t have all the answers, the more quickly you’ll rise above your peers.  Check out Khan Academy for some great videos on various concepts if you’re struggling!

5. Create your own Stereotype – The poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be, and he will become as he can and should be.”  Perhaps the reason Asian-Americans statistically outperform other ethnicities is the expectation we have placed on them.  Raise the expectation you have put on yourself.  Change your stereotype.  Like Steve Jobs, make your environment one where excellence is expected.

Remember, work harder AND smarter!


Stay Smart.

Dominick, Director of Launch Academy, 2011 DaVinci Scholar, and University Guest Lecturer

Recommended Posts
Contact Us

We're running around, changing education. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap!