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Strategies for Success in Math Classes

by Jennifer Allman

For some students, math class can be a source of stress. What's worse is that when a struggling student falls behind, it becomes increasingly difficult to catch up, as most math lessons build off the previous ones. Math can require a great deal of hard work, study and help from outside sources. However, plenty of strategies will help you get on track and stay with the rest of the class.

Read the material before the lesson. Most teachers have a syllabus that tells you which chapters will be covered in an upcoming class. Reading the material ahead of time is advantageous because the classroom will not be the first time you are seeing the material. Write down any questions you may have after reading the book and record the answers as you learn them during class.

Ask questions during class. If any of the questions you recorded before class are not answered, or if new questions arise, ask for clarification. Do not be embarrassed. There is no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to learning, and you are likely not the only person with this question. Make sure you take notes so that you remember these answers later.

Keep up with your homework. No one enjoys doing homework, but like anything else, practice is the best way to learn math. Refer to the text and your notes if you aren't sure how to solve a problem. If you get any questions wrong, try to do the problem again as this will help you understand where you went wrong.

Form a study group or seek out a tutor. For some, math is best learned in groups. By talking out the problems, you may be able to fully understand how they are solved. You may find that some members of your group have strengths in certain areas while you have an understanding in others. By working together, you can combine your strengths and teach each other. In addition, a tutor can provide one-on-one teaching and additional homework that will help you understand the basics and then grow into more difficult problems.

Create flashcards to help study for tests. Many of us learned our numbers with flashcards, so there is no reason why you shouldn't still use this effective method. Create one or two flashcards containing each math concept and vary the difficulty level. Shuffle the cards and test yourself without referencing your textbook. Simulating the exam experience will both prepare you and reduce your anxiety for the test.

About the Author

Jen has been a professional writer since 2002 in the education nonprofit industry. Her work has been featured in the New Jersey SEEDS Annual Report, as well as several Centenary College publications, including "Centenary in the News" and the "Trustee Times." In 2009, Jen earned a Master of Arts degree in leadership and public administration from Centenary College.

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