Are you an undergrad mathematics student who could use some tips and tricks on how to succeed? Well, you’re at the right address! We sat down with our authors, who are all professional mathematicians, and we came up with a list of study tips. Whether or not you use education technology to assist your learning; as long as you follow these tips for studying math, you’re bound for academic greatness!
How to Study Mathematics
- Not unlike studying a language, math can only be mastered by doing problems and exercises. This means you need to keep up with your (homework) exercises and continue practicing. In mathematics, it’s not so much about the answer (though that is of course important too), but about the steps you take to reach that answer!
- The best way to study for a mathematics exam is practicing using the homework problems. In almost every case, they’re very similar to the problems that you will see on your exam.
- It always feels good when you see an easy problem and you know how to answer it. But the problem is doing the harder questions. And these are the exercises which will probably show up on the exam! It’s therefore important to keep a list of all the hard problems you find while doing homework. These are the ones you need to practice when studying for the exam. Make sure that when it’s time for the test, you can tackle these completely (i.e. complete solutions with all the steps to the right answer) without looking at the answer sheet.
How to be a Good Student
- Be active during classes. If there’s something you don’t immediately understand, ask questions. Remember that you’re there to learn and it’s your professor’s job to teach! Besides, in a large undergrad math class, you’re probably not the only one with that question.
- Take ownership of your knowledge. If there’s something you don’t quite understand, ask for help. For example, go to your professor’s office hours to ask for some extra guidance. Educators always love to see students interested in the subject as well as their own learning. They will always be willing to help out!
- Take your time when you’re studying. College courses tend to go fast, and they build on each other. This means that if you don’t understand certain concepts, you will suffer in the long run. So focus on doing your homework well, not fast!
- Are you familiar with Pólya’s four-step process? It’s a great way to tackle mathematics problems, and it goes as follows:
- If you come across an applied mathematics problem, see if you can turn the words into mathematics. Can you reword it in such a way that it becomes math? You want to think about variables and the relationships they have with each other, so try to find equations that describe these relationships.
- Having trouble in understanding a problem? It works best to fiddle around with it. It might take time, but trying out different strategies and have it pay off in the end feels great!
- There’s always an order to the exercises in your (digital) textbook. So start with the easy ones and then move your way up to the harder exercises. Did you come across one that is too hard? Keep at it for a little bit as mentioned above, but go back to an easier one if it doesn’t work. It might help you get a little more grip on the material.
- Reading theory and you came across a paragraph that you don’t quite understand? Try to read ahead a little more. This will help you understand the flow of the explanation and where it’s going. This will help when you re-read the paragraph you had trouble with!
Taking a Math Test
- If possible, look over the entire test before you start. You want to know how long it is, what problems you think are easy and which ones you think are going to be hard. This will help plan and allot time to each question.
- No one ever said you needed to start with the first question and do the final one last. You can create your own order. It’s advisable to do the relatively simple questions first. You don’t want to run out of time and miss out on easy points.
- Stuck on a problem? No worries, just skip it and come back to it later.
- Even if you didn’t get the right answer, make sure to show the steps you took in trying. Show the professor what you do know, and you will probably get partial credit.
Well. that was it. We hope these tips for studying math will help!
Good luck and go break a leg!
Let’s talk again soon,