For best results in your math class, you need to develop a plan of study and stick to it. It's best if you can develop your plan before your math course begins, but it's never too late! Here are some activities we suggest you include in your plan.
- Make sure you have the prerequisites for the class you are taking.
- Select a section of the class which is offered at a time you are most alert (if possible).
- Devote a great deal of time and energy to the class from the first day.
- Attend every class.
- Sit front and center in the classroom.
- Take good class notes.
- Date your notes and include chapter and section references to your textbook for each topic.
- Leave a 2-inch margin on the left side of each page so that you can add examples, comments, and clarifications when you go back over your notes.
- Write down everything your instructor writes and as much as you can of what s/he says.
- Keep writing even when you don't understand what is being said. After class talk to the teacher about the material you don't understand and revise your notes.
- Review and revise your notes as soon as possible after class--certainly within 24 hours.
- Study related textbook sections. Examine worked examples, cover them up, and rework them.
- Do homework problems as soon as possible--certainly before the next class period. Make sure to do problems of all difficulty levels.
- Ask your instructor or a tutor questions about any notes, text material, or problems you don't understand.
- Make a separate study plan for math tests. Start preparing at least one week before the test.
Math Study Skills Inventory
(Taken from Conquering Math Anxiety by Cynthia Arem)
This inventory will help you assess the effectiveness of your math study skills. Read each of the statements carefully and determine how frequently each applies to you. Enter the correct point score for that item on the line. (Usually=3, Sometimes=2, and Rarely=1)
- ____I attend all my math classes.
- ____I read my math assignments before attending class.
- ____In class, I mentally follow all explanations, trying to understand concepts and principles.
- ____In class, I write down main points, steps in explanations, definitions, examples, solutions, and proofs.
- ____I review my class notes as soon after class as possible.
- ____I review my notes again six to eight hours later, or definitely the same day.
- ____I do weekly and monthly reviews of all my class and textbook notes.
- ____In reviewing, I use all methods, such as reciting aloud, writing, picturing the material, etc.
- ____I study math before other subjects, and when I am most alert.
- ____I take small breaks every 20 to 40 minutes when I study math.
- ____I work to complete my difficult math assignments in several small blocks of time
- ____I reward myself for having studied and concentrated.
- ____I survey my assigned math readings before I tackle them in depth.
- ____When I read, I say aloud and write out important points.
- ____I underline, outline, or label the key procedures, concepts, and formulas in my text.
- ____I take notes on my text and review them often.
- ____I complete all assignments and keep up with my math class.
- ____I study math two hours per day, at least five days a week.
- ____I work on at least ten new problems and five review problems during each study session.
- ____I work to “overlearn” and thoroughly master my material.
- ____I retest myself often to fix ideas in memory.
- ____I work to understand all formulas, terms, rules, and principles before I memorize them.
- ____I use a variety of checking procedures when solving math problems.
MY GRAND TOTAL IS:_______.
If your score is above 68 points, you have excellent math study skills.
If your score is between 54 and 68 points, you have fair study skills, but you need to improve.
If you score is below 54 points, you have poor math study skills and you need help fast!