Math Study Tips

Studying math is different from other subjects. Here are some tips that might help you be successful on math tests.

  • Math is not a spectator sport! You will not be successful if you just watch others do the problems. Basketball players don’t improve their shooting by watching others shoot the ball; they improve through constant practice.
  • Practice doing problems until you can do them without any help whatsoever.
  • Mimic the test environment: you should be able to do all the assigned homework, worked examples in the text, and lecture examples. If you cannot do these problems, then you are not ready for the test.
  • Read the textbook. The theory and worked examples are written at a level for students to understand. However, the reading is slow going, and you should have a pencil and paper handy.
  • Rewrite the notes from each lecture. I often put lecture material on tests. You should make sure that you understand everything that was done in class; otherwise, visit me during office hours.
  • Study math with other students. It often helps to explain ideas to each other.
  • Don’t just do the homework assignment quickly. Savor the problems, and practice them until they become easy.
  • If you are confused about the theory and techniques, seek help immediately. Don’t fall behind in math courses; it is too difficult to recover.
  • Don’t depend on tutors and solution manuals. You will not learn by watching others do the problems; you must do them alone, just like on the tests! If you have a tutor, tell her to watch you do the problems.
  • Tests: Look over the entire test before beginning and do the easy questions first. If time permits, check your answers.