Last Updated on August 28, 2023
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How To Study for Math
Before I get into the tips for how to study math let me first say that everyone studies differently and there is no one right way to study for a math class. There are a lot of tips in this document and there is a pretty good chance that you will not agree with all of them or find that you can’t do all of them due to time constraints. There is nothing wrong with that. We all study differently and all that anyone can ask of us is that we do the best that we can. It is my intent with these tips to help you do the best that you can given the time that you’ve got to work with.
Now, I figure that there are two groups of people here reading this document, those that are happy with their grade, but are interested in what I’ve got to say and those that are not happy with their grade and want some ideas on how to improve. Here are a couple of quick comments for each of these groups.
If you have a study routine that you are happy with and you are getting the grade you want from your math class you may find this an interesting read. There is, of course, no reason to change your study habits if you’ve been successful with them in the past. However, you might benefit from a comparison of your study habits to the tips presented here.
If you are not happy with your grade in your math class and you are looking for ways to improve your grade there are a couple of general comments that I need to get out of the way before proceeding with the tips. Most people who are doing poorly in a math class fall into three main categories.
The first category consists of the largest group of students and these are students that just do not have good study habits and/or don’t really understand how to study for a math class. Students in this category should find these tips helpful and while you may not be able to follow all of them hopefully you will be able to follow enough of them to improve your study skills.
The next category is the people who spend hours each day studying and still don’t do well. Most of the people in this category suffer from inefficient study habits and hopefully this set of notes will help you to study more efficiently and not waste time.
The final category is those people who simply aren’t spending enough time studying. Students are in this category for a variety of reasons. Some students have job and/or family commitments that prevent them from spending the time needed to be successful in a math class. To be honest there isn’t a whole lot that I can do for you if that is your case other than hopefully you will become a more efficient in your studies after you are through reading this. The vast majority of the students in this category unfortunately, don’t realize that they are in this category. Many don’t realize how much time you need to spend on studying in order to be successful in a math class. Hopefully reading this document will help you to realize that you do need to study more. Many simply aren’t willing to make the time to study as there are other things in their lives that are more important to them. While that is a decision that you will have to make, realize that eventually you will have to take the time if you want to pass your math course.
Now, with all of that out of the way let’s get into the tips. I’ve tried to break down the hints and advice here into specific areas such as general study tips, doing homework, studying for exams, etc. However, there are three broad, general areas that all of these tips will fall into.
Math is Not a Spectator Sport
You cannot learn mathematics by just going to class and watching the instructor lecture and work problems. In order to learn mathematics you must be actively involved in the learning process. You’ve got to attend class and pay attention while in class. You’ve got to take a good set of notes. You’ve got to work homework problems, even if the instructor doesn’t assign any. You’ve got to study on a regular schedule, not just the night before exams. In other words you need to be involved in the learning process.
The reality is that most people really need to work to pass a math class, and in general they need to work harder at math classes than they do with their other classes. If all that you’re willing to do is spend a couple of hours studying before each exam then you will find that passing most math classes will be very difficult.
If you aren’t willing to be actively involved in the process of learning mathematics, both inside and outside of the class room, then you will have trouble passing any math class.
Work to Understand the Principles
You can pass a history class by simply memorizing a set of dates, names and events. You will find, however, that in order to pass a math class you will need to do more than just memorize a set of formulas. While there is certainly a fair amount of memorization of formulas in a math class you need to do more. You need to understand how to USE the formulas and that is often far different from just memorizing them.
Some formulas have restrictions on them that you need to know in order to correctly use them. For instance, in order to use the quadratic formula you must have the quadratic in standard form first. You need to remember this or you will often get the wrong answer!
Other formulas are very general and require you to identify the parts in the problem that correspond to parts in the formula. If you don’t understand how the formula works and the principle behind it, it can often be very difficult to use the formula. For example, in a calculus course it’s not terribly difficult to memorize the formula for integration by parts for integrals. However, if you don’t understand how to actually use the formula and identify the appropriate parts of the integral you will find the memorized formula worthless.
Mathematics is Cumulative
You’ve always got to remember that mathematics courses are cumulative. Almost everything you do in a math class will depend on subjects that you’ve previously learned. This goes beyond just knowing the previous sections in your current class to needing to remember material from previous classes.
You will find a college algebra class to be very difficult without the knowledge that you learned in your high school algebra class. You can’t do a calculus class without first taking (and understanding) an Algebra and a Trigonometry class.
how to study mathematics easily
Maths It isn’t as scary or difficult as it sounds. For many, it’s a subject they absolutely dread. However, it’s the one subject that will help you even after school is over! It’s also widely used in other subjects like Physics and Chemistry. The best thing about Maths is that, once you get the hang of it, it can be your most scoring subject. It’s not impossible, in fact it’s easier than it looks.
Here are some tips to tackle Maths like an expert!
Practice as much as you can
Maths is a hands on subject. You can’t just ‘learn’ chapters, you have to understand concepts and then keep practicing. It’s ideal to start practicing right from day 1. That way, you will be well practiced by the time the exam arrives. When you’re studying content heavy subjects, you can slip in a bit of Maths practice, so it doesn’t get overwhelming.
Start by solving examples
Don’t start by solving complex problems. If you have just understood the chapter, solving hard sums will give you the wrong answer and discourage you. It might even make you hate Maths some more. Instead, start simple. Solve the examples in your textbook. Make sure you don’t look at the answer before hand. Once you have solved it, compare it to the textbook solution, or the reference book you are using. See if all your steps are correct, not just the main answer. Once you get all the steps right, you are ready to tackle the simpler problems. Once you have mastered those, you can move on to the difficult ones.
Clear all your doubts
It’s easy to get stuck at a doubt in Maths. Don’t let your doubts build, get them cleared as soon as they occur. The sooner you get your doubts resolved, the sooner you get better at those topics. Ask your class teacher, friends or online on an app.
Note down all formulae
When you see something enough, it registers in your memory, even if it’s unconscious. This why some people prefer to stick diagrams or formulae on their study table or in their room. Make flash cards of all the formulae in your textbook and decorate your room with them, at-least until the exam is over!
Understand the derivation
You might think the derivation isn’t as important from the exam point of view, but it’s critical for understanding. You can’t always learn a formula, you need to understand the logic behind it. For example, you need to know why speed is a function of distance and time, instead of simply learning the formula and replacing it with numbers. If you rote learn, there are chances you might forget it during the exam, but if your concepts are clear, it will always be easy to remember.
Don’t lose touch with the basics
Your basics are everything in Maths. Even if you’re studying for JEE, you need to have a strong foundation of class 9 through class 12. Most chapters in Maths build on previous ones. If your foundation isn’t as strong as you’d like, then keep going back and practicing sums from select chapters in previous years. Always know your basics.Use these tips and see your weak subject turn into your strength! It’s time to make friends with Maths, because that friendship is going to last a while.
A new research study has found that students perform better in math classes held in the morning than those held in the afternoon.
Pope’s study found a significant difference in math scores for students who took the subject earlier in the day as compared to students who took it toward the end of the day.
“If a student took a math class at the beginning of the day in the first or second period compared to the end of the day, the fifth or sixth period, they performed significantly better on their math GPA and their math test scores,” said Pope, a graduate student in economics at the University of Chicago.
Students who took math in the first or second period scored an average of 309.8 on the math portion of the California Standards Test, or CST, while students who took math in the last two periods scored an average of 304.5.
Those with early morning math classes averaged a 2.02 grade point average in math, while those who took the subject late in the day averaged a 1.91 grade point average in math.
The study involved nearly 2 million 6th through 11th grade students in the Los Angeles Unified School District who went to schools with six class periods. Pope examined the students’ class schedules, grades, and state exam scores from 2003 through 2009.
Pope’s study also found that students who took English during the first or second period had higher grades in English than those who took the subject during the fifth or sixth period. But taking the class earlier in the day did not affect their standardized test scores.
So where does this all fit in with the research showing adolescents perform better when the school day begins later?
Pope says his work doesn’t contradict that.
“These students, whether they went to school at 8 or 9, it shows that they decreased their performance throughout the school day,” said Pope. “It doesn’t say anything about whether school start times should go up or down.”
Recommendations for Schools
Pope says schools may want to adjust their schedules to make sure as many students are taking math in the morning as possible.
For example, he suggests swapping a course that doesn’t seem to be affected by scheduling late in the day with a math course.
“If PE was later in the day and math was earlier in the day, then you could see these benefits with math without really having any negative effects on PE,” said Pope.
He also says administrators may want to schedule whichever courses they deem most important in the mornings whether that be math or something else because overall students seem to be more productive when they first get to school.
Pope theorizes that as the school day wears on students are just getting tired.
Or, is it that teachers are losing steam?
He says he plans to study that next.
“Right now, it’s unclear whether it’s the teachers that are getting tired throughout the day or whether it’s the students,” said Pope. “It would be nice to be able to separate that.”