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How to Study for a Math Exam

posted Nov 9, 2014, 10:30 PM by Theeradech Mookum

Part 1 of 4: Classes

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    Attend class every day. Listen and pay attention to the material. Math is typically more visual than other subjects due to the equations and problem solving.
    • Jot down any example problems from the session/class. When you review your notes later on, you will have a better knowledge of the specific lesson that was taught, rather than relying on your textbook.
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    Ask your teacher any questions that you might have before the day of the exam. The teacher might not tell you specifically what is going to be on the exam, but he or she may give you helpful guidance if you don't understand. Not only will they show you how to do the problem, but a teacher who has seen you before and knows who you are will be more willing to help you in the future (or maybe even cut you a little slack if your grade is borderline).
    • Highlight any questions you are unsure of and take them to your teacher who will always be happy to help you with the problem.

Part 2 of 4: Studying

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    Read the text. Make sure you read all of the text and not just the examples. Textbooks often include proofs of the formulas that they expect you to know; this is useful for truly understanding the material and why it works.
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    Do homework problems. Most classes have assigned, or at least suggested, problems that the teacher feels are most useful. A lot of exam problems are extremely similar to homework problems; sometimes they are even exactly the same.
    • Keep your homework papers. File the check papers and homework sheets in a plastic wallet or binder. Use them when revising.
    • Do as many problems as you can so that you can get as much practice as possible and become familiar with the different problem set ups.
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    Try to find out various ways to tackle a certain problem. For example, with systems of equations, you can solve them by either substitution, elimination, or graphing. Graphing is best used when you can utilize a calculator (e.g TI-84+ or TI-83) as you are more likely to get the correct answer. However, if you can't use one, then either use substitution or elimination based on the question (some are solved easier by x method than y), or determine which way is easier for you to do. This is better than becoming adept at one method, which may let you down when the time comes to take a test.
    • It is often useful to understand how a formula is derived rather than just memorizing it. Things will make more sense, and it is often easier to remember just a few simple formulas and how to derive more complicated ones from them.

Part 3 of 4: Revising

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    Start studying 2 months before the exam. Do not wait till the last minute. As for the day before the exam, do not be stressed and just relax. Clear your mind when you sleep and you will definitely do well.
    • Study as much as possible the day before the test, but allow yourself time for other activities, too.
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    Try to find other problems that are similar to those that were assigned for homework. Take this opportunity to finish off an entire page if the assigned homework was a portion of that (for example, if the homework was to do the odd-numbered problems, do the even ones too).
    • Find or download workbooks in the area and level of math you're revising. Try the questions; doing this will give you extra knowledge, and you may face that problem next day.
    • Ask your teacher if your math book has an online website. Sometimes online textbooks can help by providing quizzes and additional instructional material.
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    Join a study group. Different people see concepts in different ways. Something that you have difficulty understanding may come easily to a study partner. Having his/her perspective on a concept may help you to comprehend it.
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    Have someone make up problems for you to work out. Get them to draw out similar examples from your textbook or ideas from online sources and reveal the answers to you if you're finished or seriously stuck on them. Don't try to create your own study sheet since you're not challenging yourself enough.
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    Know that teachers will go back into the past. Even if you're studying for a chapter or two, they may "polish" your skills and come up with math problems that you studied a while back or at the beginning of the term.
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    Sleep for 7-9 hours to keep your mind fresh and perform calculations mentally.

Part 4 of 4: During the test

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    Relax. Start by doing the easiest problems first. That way, you can have more time focusing on the harder problems.