Hi, friends! I’m starting a new series on study techniques for different types of classes. The tips on today’s post are tailored to math classes. There will be a new “Clever Study Techniques” post every Monday. I hope you find these tips useful!
If you ask a group of students what their least favorite subject is, most of them will choose math. People struggle with math because math requires a unique study method. You can’t study for a math class the same way you’d study for an English or Sociology class. The trick to succeeding in a math class is studying the right way. Here are some study tips that have helped me succeed in math classes over the years.
(Note: these tips can also work for physics and chemistry classes because math is a big part of those subjects.)Having trouble with math class? Here are some tips to help you study and do well in your math… Click To Tweet
Understand the formulas and rules.
Understanding the formulas is half the battle in math. If you can, memorize it! Be able to explain what each term represents. (For example: the old algebra equation y=mx+b. What do “y”, “m”, “x”, and “b” represent? In what situation would you use this formula?)…
Reverse engineer solved problems.
Reverse engineering solved problems allows you to really understand the problem. The main questions you try to answer when you reverse engineer a solved problem are: “How?” and “Why?”. HOW did your professor get that answer? WHY did the textbook authors use that formula? Look through the solved example problems throughout the chapter and ask yourself these questions. Once you understand how problems are solved, you’ll be better equipped when it comes time for you to develop a strategy to solve a similar problem.
Solve practice problems.
You succeed in math by PRACTICING. Solve as many practice problems as you can. Solving practice problems correctly will help you improve your accuracy. Plus, after solving a few similar problems, you’ll feel more comfortable solving those types of problems. The problems in the back of the book, old homework assignments and quizzes, and any practice tests your professor gives you are great practice problems to solve.
Practice in test-like conditions
I mentioned the importance of practice problems in the previous point, but it’s a good idea to take it a step further and practice in test-like conditions. If you know you’ll have a time limit, then time yourself as you’re taking the practice test. If you won’t have access to a formula sheet, then take your practice test without looking at any formulas. (On the flip side, if you have a formula sheet, then use the same sheet you’ll have during the test as you’re studying.)
Visit the math lab.
Most schools have a math lab, where students can come to ask math tutors for help. The tutor will explain the concept to you step by step and make sure you understand it. Personally, I’ve had only positive experiences with my school’s math lab. The tutors knew what they were talking about, and they explained it in a way that made it easy to understand.
Students struggle with math, physics, and chemistry because they don’t know how to study for it. When you understand the formulas, reverse engineer solved problems, and solve practice problems (especially under test conditions), you’ll get the hang of math and have an easier time with assignments and tests.
Check out other posts from the Clever Study Techniques Series:
- Clever Study Techniques for Your Literature Class
- Clever Study Techniques for Your Biology Class
- Clever Study Techniques for Your Foreign Language Class
How do you study for math classes?