(header insp @acadehmic)
Compared to other subjects, math is sometimes very daunting because most of the content isn’t memorization, it’s understanding and applying
Figure out what type of learner you are: this sometimes doesn’t seem very important, especially for math, but it’ll really help with understanding concepts. There are 4 types of learners: auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and reading/writing. Focus your studying efforts on you type of learning and it will really help with the level of ease that you learn and study with
Pay attention: should go without saying, but there’s really no way to learn easily if you don’t pay attention the first time the material is being taught to you. Engage yourself in class by asking questions and taking good notes. If your teacher allows it, recording your lessons can be helpful for auditory learners.
Take good notes: one of the best ways to engage yourself in class is to take good notes. In math you will always want to write in pencil (seriously, don’t do math in pen-whenever I try it takes 4 years off of my life). Trying to do your math notes in pen in class will just make it so much harder for you. Also, make sure to write down any practice problems your teacher does. Write out step by step instructions for the first few problems if you think you’ll forget the process.
Make sure you understand: not understanding mathematical concepts is deadly, especially in higher level math classes. It’s not enough to be able to plug in numbers when told exactly how to do it, but you need to understand how you got to the solution. Learning this can be tricky, so you might need to go to a teacher or a tutor or a friend if you really can’t grasp it.
- Memorize what you need to: this means formulas, proofs, laws, anything that you just need to know.
- Make review sheets: I find doing this so helpful in understanding concepts. I just make a quick outline of the section with a brief rundown of how to solve each type of problem. I like to do this while looking at my textbook, but making review sheets from memory is a really great way to study. These can be as in depth as basically redoing your notes or as basic as something you jot down quickly on a notecard.
How to study: studying for math is actually not that hard compared to other subjects. To study, all you need to do is do practice problems (a lot of them). Your textbook probably provides a lot of extra problems (and hopefully a key with the answers) for you. Once you understand the concepts this is the only really useful way to study.
- Note what you got wrong: after you’ve done some practice problems, write down every single thing you did wrong and why. It might seem like overkill but not only does it prevent you from making the same mistakes, it helps you understand why you made them. The goal is to have all the previous mistakes you made eliminated when you do more problems.
Study a little bit every day: this is the holy grail of math tips!!! Studying a little bit every day will relieve so much stress off your shoulders when it’s the day before a test and you don’t even know what it’s on. Do 15 minutes of problems a day and you will be so much stronger in math, I can almost guarantee. (This 15 minutes can be time spent doing math homework, you don’t always have to do extra!)
- Keep practicing topics even after you move on: this is actually something I never do and I regret it every! single! time! The worst case scenario is that you completely forget something that you’ve learned before, which is decidedly not a good thing. Make sure that doesn’t happen to you by not stopping practicing something after you move on. because trust me: in math, nothing ever goes away for good.
Some more stuff
Know how to use your calculator: graphing calculators are truly a lifesaver. and knowing how to properly and efficiently use them will save so much time and stress. From not knowing how to do trig functions to incorrectly putting in scientific notation, not using a calculator correctly can also be a huge pain. Thant’s why it’s super important to know how to use it when you need to.
Look at online resources: if you don’t understand your teacher or you just need a bit of extra help quickly, looking online is your best bet. Some great math websites and apps are:
- khan academy
- art of problem solving
- mit opencourseware:
Ask for help if you need it: going to your teacher for one-on-one help can be really helpful if you’re struggling. Tutors as well can be really beneficial when you’re having trouble. There’s no shame in having a tutor or getting extra help; do what you have to do to get the grade you want