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How to Study Math

Sometimes good study habits can be the key to overcoming math anxiety. Some students do not realize how important studying skills are.  The following material contains tips on how to study mathematics at home and in class.  It discusses how to prepare for tests, how to take tests, and how to use your time studying the most efficient way.

1.  How to Study in Class

  •  Be ready for the lecture: Have the homework done. Look through the chapter that will be discussed next, it helps to be more comfortable with the new material.
  • Have everything you might need for the math class ready: pencil, eraser, graph paper, calculator, textbook, and your notebook.
  •  Ask questions every time you don’t understand something. Do not wait until later, new material is usually based on the previous chapters.

2.  How to Prepare for Test

     The best way to prepare for the test is to do the homework when it is assigned. Practice every day; do not try to learn everything in one night before the test date.

  • Writing the summary of the main concepts and formulas helps a lot. Make a cheat-sheet even though you will not use it on a test.
  •  Ask your teacher questions if you do not understand or remember something. Try to do it ahead of time; there might be many students who need help right before the test.
  •  Solve every type of problem you had in the homework or test review problem set.
  • Get plenty of rest before the test. Don’t study all night. Get lots of sleep instead.


3.   How to Take a Test

  • Look over the entire test too get a sense of its length. Try to identify those problems you definitely know how to do right away, and those you expect to have to think about.
  • Do the problems in the order that suits you! Start with the problems that you know for sure you can do. This builds confidence and means you don't miss any sure points just because you run out of time. Then try the problems you think you can figure out; then finally try the ones you are least sure about.
  • Time is of the essence --work as quickly and continuously as you can while still writing legibly and showing all of your work. If you get stuck on a problem, move on to another can come back later.
  • Work by the clock. On a 50 minute, 100-point test, you have about 5 minutes for a 10-point   question. Starting with the easy questions will probably put you ahead of the clock. When you work on a harder problem, spend the allotted time (e.g., 5 minutes) on that question, and if you have not almost finished it, go on to another problem. Do not spend 20 minutes on a problem, which will yield few or no points when there are other problems still to try. 
  • Show all your work: make it as easy as possible for the Instructor to see how much you do know. Try to write a well-reasoned solution. The instructor might assign partial credit based on the work you show.
  • Never waste time erasing! Just draw a line through the work you want ignored and move on. Not only does erasing waste precious time, but you may discover later that you erased something useful (and/or maybe worth partial credit if you cannot complete the problem).
  • In a multiple-step problem outline the steps before actually working the problem.
  • Do not give up on a several-part problem just because you ca not do the first part. Attempt the other part(s) - if the actual solution depends on the first part, at least explain how you would do it.
  • Make sure you read the questions carefully, and do all parts of each problem.
  • Verify your answers - does each answer make sense given the context of the problem?
  • If you finish early, check every problem (that means rework everything from scratch.