Cynthia Arem, Ph.D.

Pima Community College

To succeed in math it is
important tohave effective study strategies. Here are some excellent tips for you to try. |

**1. If math is difficult for you,
audit the course first.
You will get most from the course if you take notes, do your homework,
ask
the teacher questions, study for it and take all the tests. You will
have
no pressure of being graded.**

**2. Before registering for math,
research which teacher
would be best for you. Ask other students which teachers they liked and
why. Visit prospective teachers during their office hours; ask about
their
teaching methods and if you could sit in one session of their course.
Be
sure to select a teacher who: **

**Explains concepts clearly****Welcomes questions****Willingly helps students outside of class****Gives fair tests****Provides helpful handouts to complement your class notes.**

**3. Attend all classes and take full
class notes. Research
has shown that successful students never cut class and usually take
down
at least 64% of what is discussed in class. Failing students write half
as much and often miss class. Remember, missing even one class can put
you behind in the course by at least two classes. Do you know why?**

**4. Consider attending more than one
section of the
course. By hearing a difficult concept explained a second time you may
understand it much better.**

**5. Make it a practice to read over
the topic or chapter
before going to your math class. This will give you a much better
understanding
of what is being discussed in class and as a result you will learn more
from
lecture.**

**6. Organize your notes into one large
spiral or loose-leaf
notebook devoted only to math. Use the first half for class notes and
the
second half for homework. Take a complete set of class notes and add
any
helpful clarifications to your notes that you hear in class. Mentally
follow
all explanations and try to understand the concepts and principles.
Then
write down the main points, steps in explanations, definitions,
examples,
solutions or proofs.**

**7. Dates each day's class notes.
Write the topic or
chapter heading on top of the page. Leave a 2" margin on the left
side for comments. Use only one side of a page, leaving the back for
additional
examples, notes and clarifications.**

**8. Label both your notes and your
textbook using categories
such as: (a) definition of... , (b) theorem..., (c) example or
discussion
of examples, (d) description of a procedure for solving a problem type,
(e) a proof of a theorem or a derivation of a formula, (f) a list of
procedure
steps, and (g) formulas or equations.**

**9. It is important to stay current.
Do not allow yourself
to fall behind or the entire course will become an effort and a
struggle
for you.**

**10. Review immediately after class
and again eight
hours later. Fill in all the missing words or incomplete explanations.
Recite important concepts in your own words. Research shows that most
of
the information is lost within the first 20 to 60 minutes after
learning.
However, if you review immediately after class and again within the
same
day, and then do weekly and monthly reviews, the information you have
learned
will remain in long term memory.**

**11. Ask questions. Always remember
you have the right
to ask questions before, during and after class. Never avoid asking a
question
out of fear of looking stupid. Do not allow a question to go
unanswered.
Get help fast.**

**12. Create questions for yourself
when you study and
then answer them. Be persistent.**

**13. When you feel "lost" ask your
teacher
to explain the first step that you did not understand; then question
any
later steps that you still do not follow. When you cannot see the
overall
picture of what the teacher is doing, ask questions. See your
instructor
during office hours and visit the math learning center for help. Notice
when you are beginning to get into trouble and seek assistance
immediately.**

**4. To get the most benefit from a
help session:**

**Use question marks to identify confusing material in your notes or textbook.****Write down specific questions you will ask.****Later review what you have learned by "saying" and "doing."**

**Ask your instructor or tutor if you
could explain to
them what you have** **just
learned and if you could demonstrate your knowledge
by doing** **a new problem.**

**15. Always remember the "say and do"
principle.
Research shows that we remember only 10% of what we read, 20% of what
we
see, but a full 90% of what we say and do. So, whenever possible say
and
do.**

**16. Work out lots of sample problems.
Practice, practice,
practice. Do assigned problems and lots more. Make up your own
problems.
Get sample problems from other books. Work with a classmate and explain
aloud what you are learning and how to solve problems. Remember the
more
you "say and do" the more you will be able to recall what you're
learning. You must always be actively involved in the learning process.**

**17. The best time to do your homework
is the same day
it is assigned. This will help reinforce what you have just learned.
Estimate
the right answers before you work the problems out. Substitute your
answers
back into the problem. Redo the problem in a different way to see if
your
answer still matches.**

**18. Read and study all your textbook
explanations of
each type of problem. Whenever possible use additional textbooks and
study
guides as resources. Each book will discuss your topic differently and
offer different examples. This is an excellent way to clarify difficult
concepts and to give you more practice problems.**

**19. Work with a review or course
outline book that
applies to your math course. They provide many worked-out examples and
summary collections of problems and answers which are useful for
preparing
for tests. Always work out a problem first before reading how the
author
solved it. Examples of course outline books include: Schaum's, AMSCO,
Barron's,
Barnes and Nobles.**

**20. Identify the different types of
problems you are
learning. Note the elements of each. By identifying the different types
of problems, you are more likely to be able to isolate difficult areas
in
which you need more practice or help.**

**21. Describe in your own words the
similarities and
differences between the different types of problems you are learning.
Do
this aloud with someone else. By understanding the structure of each
type
of problem you will be able to select the appropriate method or formula
for solving it.**

**22. Know and understand your math
terminology. This
is one of the keys to success in any field. Use 3" by 5" review
cards to study math's own unique vocabulary. Put the term on one side
and
the definition on the other. Carry these cards with you everywhere and
review them at odd moments throughout the day. You will not even feel
like you
are studying.**

**23. Never attempt to memorize a
formula (or rule, proof,
or procedure) until you have attempted to understand it first. This
understanding
will help you recreate a formula (or procedure, etc.) if your recall
falters
in any way. Make sure you can illustrate the definitions, theorems and
the use of the symbols. You may want to use 3" by 5" cards to
help you memorize some formulas for convenience and quick recall.**

**24. Write up summary sheets of math
terminology and
formulas and review them often.**

**25. Successful math students study
math two hours per
day at least 5 days a week. In addition, they work out 10 new problems
and five review problems during each study session.**

**26. If math is your most difficult
subject, make sure
to study it before all other subjects. Do not leave it until the end.
You
must study math when you re most alert and fresh. It will go better for
you and you will recall more. Research also shows that you will retain
more
information if you take 5 to 10 minute study breaks every 20 to 40
minutes.**

**27. Act as if you have
control of your level of success
in math. Act as if you are really enjoying it. Eventually, your habit
of
pretending and resulting success will make your feelings match your
behavior.
**

The math study skills tips on this page
were taken from
"Conquering Math Anxiety, a Self Help Workbook" (Brooks/Cole 2010) by
Cynthia Arem

________________________________________

For great tips on how to succeed on math tests go to __ Math
Test-Taking Skills
__For tips on how to read a math textbook go to

**
For more information on study skills click here: ****Study Skills Websites****
**Pima Community College