Studying math is different from studying other subjects.
Make it about doing problems
Allot daily time for math homework
Practice! Assign yourself any problems not formerly assigned
Get help often!
Visit math department tutors and SSC study groups even if you don’t need help.
Confirm not only that you have the correct answer but also that the process for solving the problem is correct as that is often work the same or more in points than the answer itself.
Attend class every day.
Take notes on different “types” of problems to recognize the problem setup.
Experiment with problem format
Can you calculate the equation if presented in a word problem form?
Participate in class and let the teacher know your problem areas.
Remember if you are having the problem, others probably are, but are not saying it. Consider this from the teacher’s perspective... everything is going well if students don’t have questions.
Work slightly ahead in the book so that you recognize problem formats when the teacher presents them during lecture. Then, use the lecture to “fill-in-the blanks” where you had questions from the reading.
Write complete answers to homework, as if you were taking a test in order to ingrain habits such as listing unit labels, which is a frequent way students lose points.
Go to office hours and ask questions. This helps instructors invest in you as well as helps them gauge overall class understanding.
Math is also about understanding and using terminology.
Force yourself to speak the language and allow that corrections by the instructor and peers provide a more nuanced understanding of the term
Every class builds on previous classes, so don’t get behind in any concept or chapter.
Build on previous concepts by understanding how new concepts link to past ones.
Break down multi-step problems into smaller parts.
This strategy can also work on tests. If there is a step you can’t perform — you may earn partial credit for the work you did.
Put yourself in test-like conditions to help understand how stress is triggered.
Repeated exposure will build confidence that you’ve handled the stress before.
Try designating certain amounts of time to certain problem types and then move on when time expires to insure that you are covering the bulk of questions
Explore different test taking strategies.
Answer easy first to build confidence vs. tackling hardest first as an outline of all needed formulas
Answer all questions, even if the answer only results in the process, this may garner partial credit.
When studying/reviewing, have a question page with direct questions that will allow you to get the best answers. Rather than, "How do you do #4? Try, "How do I set up #4?"
Common Math Problem Types
Problems testing skills (drill)
Problems where you apply skills to familiar situations (template problems)
Problems where you apply skills to unfamiliar situations
Problems requiring that you extend the skills or theory
Multi-step problems combing one or more of the above
Tips on Word Problems & Problem Solving
Use Pólya's four-step process:
Step 1 – Uunderstand the problem, read the whole problem
Step 2 – Identify which formula(s), technique(s), or process(es) will solve the problem
Step 3 – Do the calculation
Step 4 – Review the solution — does it work, is it reasonable?
Use diagrams, charts or tables to illustrate the problem
Use one or more variables
Look for a pattern
Make a list of guesses and test
Solve individual parts and put together for a solution
Look for a formula
Solving Applied Problems
Convert the problem to an equation
Identify the goal of the problem
If a quantity is not a fixed number, make it a variable