Arbital math levels

Read­ers come to Ar­bital pages with differ­ent lev­els of math­e­mat­i­cal back­ground. This page gives guidelines for writ­ing pages for some of the most com­mon au­di­ences, with more de­tails on the in­di­vi­d­ual pages.

Math 0

Math 0 read­ers have lit­tle to no knowl­edge of math­e­mat­i­cal no­ta­tion or con­cepts out­side of ba­sic ar­ith­metic. Use wordy ex­pla­na­tions rather than con­cise no­ta­tion, and cush­ion any use of let­ter vari­ables with images or care­ful de­scrip­tions. In gen­eral, try to write pages with as few req­ui­sites as you can for this level.

Okay to ex­pect: In­for­mal ideas of num­ber, ad­di­tion, sub­trac­tion, mul­ti­pli­ca­tion, maybe di­vi­sion.

Avoid where pos­si­ble: Alge­bra, any for­mula that could look re­motely scary, mov­ing too fast.

Math 1

Math 1 read­ers are “good at math” in a col­lo­quial sense. They have some knowl­edge of alge­bra and ge­om­e­try, which they can use to solve prob­lems and ba­sic puz­zles. A U.S. ju­nior high grad­u­ate may be a math 1 reader.

If you think it would help in­tu­itions form faster, don’t stop us­ing images just be­cause you can ex­plain a con­cept through no­ta­tion at this level.

Okay: Ba­sic use of vari­ables, very ba­sic and en­tirely hand-held for­mu­las, ex­po­nen­ti­a­tion, square root, bodmas

Avoid: Non-triv­ial for­mu­las (un­less they’re a cen­ter­piece and you have para­graphs de­con­struct­ing it), ad­vanced no­ta­tion,

Math 2

Math 2 read­ers have a strong un­der­stand­ing of at least one branch of math­e­mat­ics, of­ten due to hav­ing a pro­fes­sional role in­volv­ing math­e­mat­i­cally struc­tured thought (e.g. pro­gram­mer, en­g­ineer) or ad­vanced ed­u­ca­tion. They have a well-in­te­grated model of ba­sic math­e­mat­i­cal con­cepts, ex­pe­rience with at least some mod­er­ately ad­vanced ideas, and a frame­work for in­te­grat­ing new con­cepts.

Math 3

Read­ers at the Math 3 level have knowl­edge of re­search-level math­e­mat­ics, and have worked with for­mal math­e­mat­i­cal con­cepts and proofs. They are fa­mil­iar with ax­io­matic deriva­tions of sets and ab­stract struc­tures.

Profi­ciency at the Math 3 level cor­re­sponds roughly to the math ed­u­ca­tion level of a uni­ver­sity stu­dent with an un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree in math­e­mat­ics or higher.