Are you someone who freaks out over math tests? Do you absolutely despise numbers? Does the thought of math make you want to cry?
Well, I can’t blame you for answering ‘yes’ to any of those questions. I’ll admit, math can be pretty awful! It was the bane of my existence all throughout school. But you know what? At one point, something magical happened and math became fun!
Now, I don’t expect the same to happen to everyone. But I can tell you that I never gave up and tried really hard to do well at math.
So here I am, ready to share my life changing secrets with you. Rest assured, if you follow the tips below, you too will see improvements in your mathematical abilities!
Be Clear about the Concepts
Always read your textbook and make notes before you dive into the numbers. Even if the sum is easier to execute, you’ll surely get stuck at some point if you don’t understand the concept.
Memorizing steps is never a good solution. Your basic understanding of the topic needs to be strong for you to solve those sums.
Sure, the simple sums are easy. But what happens when the questions get more complicated?
You’ll have to think back on the concepts and use them in different ways to tackle the problem. This is where people often get stuck in exams. When you don’t know the concepts well, you can’t handle those tricky questions.
Keep Practicing at Home
Math is something you’ve got to learn actively. And practicing is the only way you’ll really improve.
No amount of reading and note taking will help you completely. You need to solve the problems straightforwardly. So, even if it seems monotonous, keep practicing. Once you solve several of the same kinds of sums, you’ll know the topic really well.
Moreover, not all sums are the same. If you have an exam ahead, it’s best to practice every type of sum and try out a few different methods. This way you’ll be well prepared and confident.
Go from Simple to Complex
In math, most topics are interlinked. You start off with the simple sums and everything builds into more complicated problems.
That’s why it’s very important you know your basic calculations. Some people tend to skip ahead and start from the difficult chapters. But if you’re not restricted by time, avoid going so fast.
You should continue practicing the old sums while you learn new ones. It’s actually very easy to forget what you did before. So, going through old material will always be beneficial.
Knowing your basics will also save you a lot more time in the long run. Even if you’ve got all the previous chapters down, make sure to practice a few of the old sums now.
Don’t Skip Steps
When practicing, we’re often tempted to do a few steps in our head. Yet you should always try to write down every single step – even the simple ones.
Most tests do have a mandatory “showing your steps” instruction. This is also where most kids lose their marks. So, practice writing everything at home. You’ll be less likely to forget in your exam.
By writing down all the steps, you’ll have a better understanding of the problem. And in most exams, and regardless if the answer is right in the end, you actually get partial marks for doing the steps right.
What’s more, this helps you easily identify where you went wrong.
Address Your Mistakes Right Away
Solving sums without addressing your mistakes is pointless. So, while you’re practicing, check if your answers are correct.
Don’t leave the task of checking for later. Most kids do a whole exercise and then check the solutions. If you cross-check first, you’ll be saving a lot of time.
It’s also pretty common to get stuck with a sum. In these cases, it’s normal to want to skip ahead. But whatever problem you are facing, mark it down and solve it as soon as possible.
Never give up on a sum because there’s always a solution. And if you don’t address what you’re doing wrong, it will definitely come back in the future to haunt you!
Make an Effort in Class
When you whine and groan about math, ask yourself this question: How much effort are you really putting in during class?
Math classes are when you should be most attentive. But if you find yourself zoning out, this clearly means you’re doing something wrong.
Before every class, read the chapter ahead. Then during class, try to follow what your teacher says. Do the sums while your teacher does them on the board. Trust me, this will help you learn a lot faster.
Write down your notes and explanations for each step. And if you do lose focus, make sure to ask your teacher to repeat!
Take Help from Others
Math isn’t a walk in the park. It’s actually very difficult for quite a lot of people. So, there’s absolutely no shame in asking for help.
Teachers are always there to assist you. The only way you’ll learn is by developing curiosity and asking questions. If you’re too shy in class, ask for extra time and show them your problems. And if you’re really struggling, consider external tutoring.
It’s also wise to join a study group. Just make sure the people you study with are serious. Even teaching someone else a sum you know will help you out and increase your confidence.
Group studying is actually helpful because it makes math more fun. It also helps to keep you accountable and on schedule.
Be Well Equipped
When practicing math, make sure you have everything you need. Don’t be one of those people who draw their shapes with pens. Stock up on your stationery!
Make sure your pencils are sharpened. Also, purchase a quality graphing calculator and algebra set. And don’t forget to use a ruler for your margins!
These things may seem trivial, but they’re really important. Even if you’re just practicing at home, being neat and organized matters.
And being able to use your protractor at home will make it less complicated during the exam. It will also give you a boost in confidence to know you have everything at hand that you need.
Work in a Distraction-Free Environment
In general, studying isn’t a very appealing activity. And when it comes to numbers, you’re bound to struggle with your willpower.
For math, in particular, you need a lot more concentration than any other subject. So, the environment you study should be free of distractions.
This means no TV or YouTube running on the background! But you can have some relaxing music on if that helps. Keep snacks and water around as well, so you can take mini breaks.
Also, try to pick hours when you’re the most efficient. Early mornings are a good time to practice when your head is clear of all other thoughts.
Know when to Take a Break
When you’re practicing math, it’s very easy to get lost in a world of numbers. Sometimes there are sums you just can’t seem to solve.
This might be due to an obvious concept you simply cannot grasp. Or perhaps you just can’t concentrate and you’re making really silly mistakes. If you do reach a point like this, take a break!
It’s never wise to spend hours on the same sum. It’s not right to practice math continuously either. Trust me, there is actually such a thing as math overdrive!
During these times, take a breather and attempt the sum again after a while. You’re more likely to solve the sum and spot your mistakes with a fresh mindset.
Take your Time
Don’t rush over your sums. Always give yourself enough time to understand. Once you’re confident about a topic, move onto a new one.
Of course, you should also start preparing early on for a test. Even if you’re doing homework, don’t leave it until the last minute.
You can’t cram math into your brain like other theoretical subjects. And you definitely cannot learn everything overnight!
Understanding math is a long process, which starts on the very first day of your class. Always keep that in mind, or you’ll regret it later.
Math isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. Agreed that it’s a tad tedious, but it isn’t a nightmare from hell either. It’s just a bunch of numbers, and certainly not as bad as you think!
When you sit down to practice, pump yourself up and tell yourself you can do it. Working on something with a negative notion from the very beginning will certainly impact your learning ability.
Take a moment to pat yourself on the back for the little victories as well. If you’ve solved a sum you’ve been working on for a long time, or if you finished a chapter, it’s definitely a reason to celebrate!
This article is contributed by Anthony. A true fan of reading comics and books and an expert in the world of mathematical geekdom. Check out more of his works at GraphingCalcHub.com.
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