Studying for Math

We are commonly asked to assist with study skills (don’t worry, that’s a natural part of tutoring). One of the problems we notice among our students is that they study the same way for all of their classes.

If you had a geography test how would you study? How about a biology test?

Most answers would include at least one of these:

  • flash cards
  • quizlet
  • reread the chapter
  • look at the notes

All are valid studying techniques, but none of these alone will cut it in math class. The missing piece here is PRACTICE!

Doing math is the best way to learn it, but not all problems are created equally. Follow these 4 steps for effective math study skills:

Do not do a web search for math problems… Did you know that operations on fractions comes up in the logarithms unit of Algebra 2? Did you know that students learn about histograms in second grade and AP Statistics? See where I’m going here? There are waaaay more applications of the topics you are learning than you realize. A web search will land you too much content and likely some confusion.

Only practice with questions that come with answers… If you messed up a homework assignment (big time) but didn’t take the time to correct it or even write down the answers, it is useless as a study tool. That means good study habits happen all along the way, not just when it’s test time. You need to complete (and correct) your math homework — on time, every time.

Use the examples your teacher provided… Why did your teacher give those particular examples in class? Because your teacher thought they were important examples! If you write down the example problems in your notes, you are creating your teacher’s best study guide!

Find a study buddy… Notice we did not say to find a study BFF! A study buddy is someone in your class that you can *at least* tolerate. You don’t need to be friends with this person, just comfortable enough to reach out via text or social media when you need homework help or have a question about the class. This is essential to success, so don’t skip this step! Some students make connecting even less personal by creating a group chat for everyone in the class, that works just as well.