Every subject has its own particular way. Math is mostly numerical, not verbal and requires logical thinking; it has its own way to be studied. Before touching on significant points of studying a math test, lets look at some of the fundamentals of “learning.”
Learning is not an instant experience; it is a procedure. Learning is a process not an event. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and learning anything (or everything) isn’t going to happen in a day either. You cannot expect to learn everything in one day, at night, before the test. It is important and necessary to learn day-by-day. Good time management plays a considerable role in learning. When you manage your time, and begin test preparation well in advance, you will notice the subjects are easier than you thought, or feared, and you will take the test without the stress of a sleepless body and an anxious mind.
Memorizing is a temporary step of learning if information is not comprehended and applied afterwards. Memorize just the basics and understand the meaning; then apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate. These are the hierarchical layout of cognitive learning: Of course, there are some basic properties that you need to memorize in the beginning, since you cannot prove the facts every time you solve a math test. For example; the inner angles of a triangle sum up to 180°. If you do not know this, you may not be able to solve triangle problems. And, more importantly, if you do not practice, you will certainly forget this property. Practice helps information take root in your brain. Applying the same property on various types of questions extends the roots.
For example, if you see a triangle, you can analyze the question by means of the property. In a question, if you see a hexagon, you can split it into triangles and use the property, called synthesizing followed by evaluation. If all these steps are followed, the property is completely learned and has its place in your long term memory.
A useful method in providing consistent learning is using similarities between the information and events, images, shapes, … etc. For example, assume that you have difficulty remembering the formula xa/yb = xay-b = 1/x-ayb in mind. You can associate this to an elevator: The exponents changing location (nominator/denominator) need to change exponent sign, similarly, people going up need to push the up button and if they decide to go down, they need to push the down button; so they need to change the button. Also; writing the formula in large letters and stick it on a surface that is frequently visible helps memorizing it by using visual intelligence. The more senses (visual, musical, auditory, logical, …) the material addresses to, the more permanent it is.
Attend to all classes. Knowledge is not replaceable by others, and every brain is unique. You cannot learn math from your classmate’s notes; take your own notes in your own understanding of the material. What you understand, or don’t understand, and how you understand it is different to everyone else. Highlight the important points in your own way. Remember math and all other courses are mostly learned at school -practice comes afterwards at home.
Find your own way of learning. Every person learns and studies differently. Some take notes, some do not like writing; listening is the major way of embracing information for them, and some watch. It is important to detect the way that is more useful for you. Coloring important points also helps. Due to selective perception; we see the attractive words, signs before the rest. While studying math, make a list; first, determine the subjects you feel inadequate on and focus on them initially.
Learning style quiz
Never gloss over a something that you do not fully understand. Information is built on previous learning in a hierarchical order. If you have question marks about a mathematical property, and don’t understand is completely, you cannot solve problems using that property. You need to have a strong background to succeed in math. You need to know your basic math inside out to do algebra. And you need to know your algebra inside out to do calculus. If you do not know exponents, you cannot solve logarithms. If you don’t understand something, get help from your teachers, reread course materials, resolve examples, discuss with friends or hire a private tutor. Never skip over something that you don’t understand – it will come back to haunt you!
Practice makes perfect! Yes – it really does! Working through math problems in your own way is essential. Looking over examples is a good first step – but only that. The example solutions shown in the textbook show you have to solve a problem, next you have have to do it yourself. Do not miss to do your assignments. You see different types of examples and acquire different outlooks when facing math problems. Math is fun because usually there are many ways to reach the solution. Find alternative ways to solve a problem which anchors the learning deeper. Find similar and different problems, discuss with friends, ask each other questions. Observing other people’s way of thinking, and solving problems will help both of you improves your minds.
Succeeding in math is a mental action. However, do not disregard physical and psychological effects. Always think positive and never give up; no success is gained without effort. Of course you will waste time solving problems which you will find easy, and you will struggle with difficult problems. In the end, you will be one step further ahead. And after more time spent practicing, you will be another step ahead.
Reward yourself after intense studies. This will keep your motivation high. The reward may be a chocolate bar, playing a game for 20 minutes, or taking a walk in the park. It is very essential to have a good night’s sleep before taking a math test. Eating habits directly affect success. Keep away from fast food as much as you can, eat a light meal before a test. At last but not least, keep your inner motivation very high. Believe in yourself; you will certainly get the good result of your planned, efficient studies.
Updated: June 5th, 2017