10 Math Study Tips That Will Make You a Better Student

In some courses, all it takes to pass an exam is note taking, memorization, and recall. However, exceeding in a math class takes a different type of effort. You cannot simply show up for a lecture and watch your instructor “talk” about math. You learn it by doing: paying attention in class, actively studying, and working through problems – even when your instructor hasn’t assigned you any. If you find yourself struggling to do well in your math class, then read these math study tips to find out how you can become a better math student.

Remember That Math Is Cumulative 

Math courses follow a natural progression – each one builds upon the knowledge you’ve gained and mastered from the previous course. If you are finding it tough to follow new concepts in class, pull out your old math notes and review previous material to refresh yourself. Be sure that you meet the prerequisites before signing up for a class.

Review Notes The Night Before Class 

Hate when a teacher calls on you and you’ve forgotten how to solve a specific problem? Avoid this moment by reviewing your math notes nightly. This will help you determine which concepts or questions you’d like to go over in class the next day.

Do Homework…Even When It’s Not Assigned

The thought of doing homework every night may seem annoying, but if you want to succeed in math, it is important that you continuously practice and master the problem-solving methods. Use your textbook or online guides to work through math problems on a weekly basis – even when you have no homework assigned.

Use The Supplements That Come With Your Textbook

Textbook publishers have enriched modern publications with extra material (such as CD-ROMs or online modules) that can be used to help students gain extra practice in math. Some of these materials may also include a solution or explanation guide, which can help you with working through math problems on your own.

Read Ahead To Stay Ahead

If you want to lessen your in-class workload or the time you spend on homework, use your free time after school or on the weekends to read ahead to the chapters and concepts that will be covered the next time you are in class.

Review Old Tests and Classroom Examples

The work you do in class, for homework, and on quizzes can offer clues to what your midterm or final exam will look like. Use your old tests and classwork to create a personal study guide for your upcoming exam. Look at the way your teacher frames questions – this is probably how they will appear on your test.

Learn to Work By the Clock

This is a popular study tip for people taking timed exams; especially standardized tests. If you only have 40 minutes for a 100-point test, then you can optimally spend 4 minutes on each 10-point question. Get information about how long the test will be and which types of questions will be on it. Then plan to attack the easier questions first, leaving yourself enough time to spend on the more challenging ones.

Maximize Your Resources to Get Help

If you’re having a hard time understanding concepts in class, then be sure to get help outside of class. Ask your friends to create a study group and visit your instructor’s office hours to go over tough problems one-on-one. Attend study and review sessions when your instructor announces them, or hire a private tutor if you need one.

Talk To Yourself

When you are reviewing problems for an exam, try to explain out loud what strategy and methods you used to get your solutions. These verbal declarations will come in handy during a test when you need to recall the steps you should take to find a solution. Get additional practice by trying this tactic with a friend.

Use Study Guides For Extra Practice

Are your textbook or class notes not helping you understand what you should be learning in class? Use study guides for standardized exams, such as the ACT, SAT, or DSST, to brush up on old material. Study guides usually come equipped with thorough explanations of how to solve a sample problem, and you can often find free ones online.

What do you do to perform well in class? Share your tips in the comment section below.

photo credit: Gates Foundation

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