Is Studying for a Math Test Overwhelming?

Two reminders this week! One it is not too late to join our young adult group: Adulting for Young Adults. If you are or know anyone who is a young adult in the Bay Area (we will be meeting in San Francisco) who perhaps had some interesting and unexpected swerves this group might just be for you! Click here for more information.

Also, are you an educator or a parent or maybe both? Curious about the foundations of my work? Gretchen Wegner (my mentor and colleague) is offering the Art of Inspiring Students for this Fall. t is informative, practical, fun and interactive! I invite you to take a look here.

And now to the topic of the day…

Is studying for a math test overwhelming?

Do you struggle with knowing what and how to study for an upcoming test?

One of my students has an upcoming history quiz and calculus test. I asked him which he was feeling more insecure about and he said “Calculus.”

When I asked him, “why?” he said, “Well, because when I do the homework it seems like I got it, but then on tests…I just don’t know.” 

Okay, maybe that’s just me.

Pause here for a moment with a (echem) possibly hypothetical scenario here: have you ever sung a song confidently in the shower (or hummed it to yourself) and then decided to sing it at a karaoke party realizing that actually you don’t know the words at all?

But here’s the point: the only way to know if you (or I) know the words to the song before getting to the karaoke party is to actually put practice the words at home (right?).

So similarly, the best way to practice for a test that is to test yourself on the material. Here is a simple way to do that:

  1. Pull out you completed homework. 
  2. Find the problems you answered incorrectly.
  3. Do the problem[s] again or ones similar to it with your notes in front of you even if you only missed one step.
  4. Do the problem again without your notes.

*A note about step three: It’s really important to both do the problem with your notes in front of you to make sure you that you are doing the steps correctly and to do it even if you only missed a step [as was the case with my student] because you want train the brain to catch the mistake and correct it.

I’ll be back next week for another math tip. In the meantime if you have any tips or suggestions for how to study for math that have worked for you…or you have any embarrassing karaoke stories that you’d like to share I would love to hear from you!

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