How to Succeed in Math Class

Christina Salsberry, Editor

Ah, math class: telling us more about how the world works through numbers and letters. Some students love it, and some students hate it. Whether or not they like it, almost everyone has to take it.

If you think that some kids just happen to be “good” at math, and that others are fated to never be “good” at it, think again. If you improve your study techniques, you are likely to see a change in how much you know and how comfortable you feel with the subject. Below are some tips and tricks to help you succeed in your math class this year.

Tip #1: Pay attention and take notes in class.

Yes, this is obvious, but that does not make it any less important. Paying attention will help you to understand the material. If you take quality notes, then you will know how you are supposed to get to the right answer. Falling asleep and staring into space will not help you to get an A on your exams.

Most advanced math courses use information learned in the more basic math courses. Make sure you understand the smaller concepts, because if you do not, then you probably will have a hard time understanding larger concepts. If you have forgotten older concepts, look them up so that you can remember them next time you need them.

Tip #2: Complete practice problems.

Make sure that you’re not only getting the right answer when you do practice problems, but that you know how to get the right answer. If you have any questions, try asking friends or classmates who have taken or are taking that same class. Most teachers allow you to come in before or after school to ask questions, as well.

If you complete your homework but still feel unsure of how to solve those types of questions, do more of those same kinds of problems. Sometimes, these can be practice problems from your math textbook. You can also find great practice problems (and videos explaining how to do the problems) on Khan Academy.

White boards are a great study tool. You can do equations on them and easily erase the work afterwards, which saves you from wasting paper.

Tip #3: Do not be afraid to ask for help.

If you are ever unsure of a concept in class, raise your hand and ask about it! Your teacher will likely be glad to explain it to you. As previously mentioned, most teachers are available after school, so do not hesitate to go and ask for help.

Not only that, but our school offers free math tutoring after school. Feel free to stop by for math help, brought to you by our school’s Mu Alpha Theta club.

Tip #4: Write down formulas at the beginning of tests and quizzes.

If you are taking a test and have formulas freshly memorized, write them down so that you do not accidentally forget them during the test. If you try to keep them in your head, you might forget one (or part of one) as you go through the questions. Forgetting a formula could cost you points, which could be the difference between getting a decent grade and getting the grade that you want.

Tip #5: Make friends in class.

Making friends in any of your classes is a great idea, as they can help you to study for upcoming tests or provide you with notes from any days that you had to miss class.

If you do not know anyone in your class, this is a great opportunity to make new friends! Ask people if they want to work on homework together, or if they want to form a study group for an upcoming assessment.

Tip #6: Avoid missing class.

Sometimes, you might have to miss class for an important reason, and that is fine. However, try not to miss class too often. Getting notes from a friend can be fine, but it is not always as beneficial to your learning as having the teacher instruct you on how to solve a problem.