How to Be Successful in Math Class
In order to be successful in any mathematics class you must be involved in the learning process. It is a fact that very few students can learn mathematics by just going to class and watching the teacher work example problems. The reality is that most people really need to work to do well in a math class, and many need to work harder at math classes than they do with their other classes. The harsh reality is that if math doesn’t come natural to you or if you aren’t willing to be actively involved in the process of learning mathematics, both inside and outside of the classroom, then you will have trouble succeeding in any math class. One thing that you must remember is that mathematics is cumulative. This means that almost everything you do in math class will depend on what you have learned previously in other math classes. So getting behind in one math class makes things worse in future math classes.
Here are some tips for math success…
ü Come to school/class on a regular basis. You can’t learn if you aren’t there.
ü Come to class on time, prepared with all materials (pencils, paper, textbook, workbook(s), and calculator) and ready to learn. Learning is your job! One day your knowledge will earn you money. The more you learn…the more you earn!
ü Listen and pay attention in class. Paying attention means that you are actively involved while the teacher is demonstrating math concepts and problems. Work them on your paper as the teacher does them on the board. Participate by doing guided practice problems that your teacher gives you to try.
ü Take good notes and review them later. Notes are to help you study and learn not to sit in a notebook never to be heard from again.
ü Ask questions in class if you don’t understand. Chances are there is someone else who has the same question.
ü Listen when other students ask questions. Chances are you may have the same question.
ü Always review your notes after class. These notes should be used to assist you with your assignment.
ü Always do your assignments! Teachers don’t assign problems for you to do to make your life miserable or because they like to grade papers. They assign problems for you to do so that you can practice and learn how to do these types of problems. It is even okay to do extra practice problems to gain a better understanding of the math concepts.
ü Practice, Practice, Practice. As the old saying goes…practice makes perfect. In order to get better at anything, especially mathematics, you must practice it.
ü Persevere. You will not automatically or instantly understand every concept you do in math the first time trying it. You must keep trying until you do.
ü Always keep returned papers, tests, quizzes, etc. Use these to review. Rework the problems you missed in order to see why you missed them. You can learn from your own mistakes.
ü Try to avoid careless errors in computations. Always check back over your work.
ü Use your textbook and other resources for help. We live in the information age; there are numerous websites on the Internet to get extra help. Even your textbook has a help website—use it. (See Additional Resources)
ü Ask for help if you need it. Ask the teacher in class or after class to help you. Get a study buddy or a friend to assist you. If necessary, you may need to get a personal tutor.
ü Read and follow all directions for working the problems.
ü Show all your work for the problems. Your teacher cannot tell you what you did wrong if there is nothing for him/her to see. Show your work!
ü Check and recheck your work!
ü Do your work neatly.
ü Keep your notebook and materials organized.
ü Always do your assignments promptly. If you must be absent, always call a friend or the homework hotline to get the assignment you missed and do it then. There is no need to wait to do your missed assignments. This will just put you farther behind.
ü When you go to class, get your materials out and ready. Use your time wisely.
ü Always study for tests and quizzes. Don’t wait until the night before to start studying. Start as soon as you know that you will have a test or quiz. Or even better, study each new concept each day.
ü Find a quiet place to study free of distractions at home.
ü Make use of your class time. If the teacher gives you time in class to do assignments, use that time. This is the perfect time to get help as you need it because the teacher is there to assist you.
ü If your teacher gives you any extra credit opportunities…DO THEM!
ü Always try your hardest!
ü Communicate with your teacher. Know his/her expectations.
ü Most importantly…YOU MUST HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE! If you think you stick at math and that you can’t do it, chances are you will convince yourself of this. Even if your parents or other family members cannot do the math you are doing in class, this doesn’t mean that you can’t. If you believe…you will achieve. It is all about having a positive attitude. Attitude is everything!