Succeeding in math
The following are suggestions from our tutors on things you can do to set yourself up for success
Is it ironic that the list is a long one?
Nah. That just means there's a lot of ways you can help yourself out.
Steps you can take to succeed in a math class
- Don't be afraid of math. Keep a positive attitude: it won’t bite you!
- Come to every class, come on time, and come prepared. If you miss a class you WILL be behind. Find out what you missed, and contact a tutor if necessary.
- Participate in class. (Learning should never be a passive activity. Make it worth your time--you owe yourself that.) Read through the material before class, and make it a point to ask your instructor a question--even if it's just to confirm that you've got a concept right. Your mind will start chewing on the material before class, even if you don't realize it, and you'll retain it better. The more you participate in class, the more efficient you'll be outside of class. (Make it free of distractions like texting, list-making, or social concerns--think of it as your "me time" instead!)
- Please, use the tutors and online lab if you need them! There are helpful, friendly people available that want to help you.
- For independent practice (i.e., homework), do it as soon as you possibly can. The longer you put it off, the longer it will take you. Studies show that if you wait more than 8 hours, most is lost! Furthermore, the sooner you do it, the more you retain...which means that cramming for the test can be more like a brush-up session than a learn-it-all-now marathon. (Hey, your time is valuable...so do things that help you conserve it!)
- Do not multitask! It will negatively impact the learning process and at least triple the effort you will need to invest to succeed. Have a designated, clear, distraction-free area to do your assignments. You don't want to start frustrated, you don't want any of your hard work to get lost in the clutter, and you certainly don't need a reason to put it off!
- Do all your assignments. They are NOT busy work. They give you essential practice in new skills.
- Keep a list of those irritating problems at the top of your HW paper and ask about every one in class. Write the correct solution from the board, but don't let it go at that. Try the problem again independently. If you still can't do it, contact a tutor: they will be happy to do the problem with you as many times as it takes to help you master it!
- Use a “buddy system”: Do the problems, then check with your partner to see if your answers agree. Help each other. (Nothing helps you learn a concept better than explaining it to someone else.)
- Learn how your book is organized. Each objective in each section of every chapter builds as you go. You cannot build a house starting with the roof. You have to work from the bottom toward the top. Don’t skip ahead!
- Some books contain answers for some of the practice problems. If your book does this, check to make sure you are doing the problems correctly.
- Many books have review and practice test resources in the book somewhere. Take advantage of these; do them before your exam.
- Go over the practice test questions that you miss with a tutor.
- Use your calculator, especially to check your work!
- Be aware of where you stand in the class. Learn how to use BlackBoard to check for announcements and to check your grades. Keep everything, and keep track of your points and total possible points.
- Learn your instructor's office hours, and take advantage as you need it!
- Contact your campus adviser to arrange for disability-related accommodations.