Your brain will perform at its top capacity when you study thoroughly, over time. Cramming doesn’t work! Brains need time for all those facts and concepts to sink in.
Here’s how to start the school year out with strong math scores:
How to Prepare for a Math Test
- Start studying at least three days before the test. Begin early and do some studying each day. The time in-between study sessions allows your brain to think and absorb. You’ll wind up needing less total study time, you’ll do better, and you’ll avoid a ton of anxiety.
- Learn all the vocabulary and concepts. Go through your class notes and your textbook (even if your teacher doesn’t use it!), and put each vocab term and important concept on separate index cards or Quizlet. Then practice repeatedly (several times per day) until you’ve got them mastered.
- Re-do difficult homework and quiz problems. Go through your quizzes and homework and highlight the problems you found difficult. Then, rework each problem on fresh paper, peeking at the steps only when necessary. Keep redoing these problems until you can do them perfectly, all by yourself. (It’s extremely important to re-work hard problems with pencil and paper, NOT to merely look them over).
- Meet with your teacher if you need help. And don’t wait until the morning of the test; get help ASAP!
- Do ALL the review exercises suggested by your teacher. Don’t skip the easy ones; doing easy problems helps you build fluency and confidence.
- Do some extra practice, above and beyond what your teacher assigned. First, do the chapter review in the text, and check your answers, and if you made mistakes, figure out what you did wrong and then redo the problem, in writing!
- Khan Academy, Varsity Tutors, and IXL are also great sources for more practice problems. Important note: Extra practice is useless without an answer key or an auto-scoring system like those found on these online programs; you DO NOT want to do tons of extra problems incorrectly!
Studying thoroughly for a math test may seem like a lot of work, but you’ll be thrilled at how good it feels to be well-prepared and confident…and wait until you see your great test scores!
Doing tasks with diligence and care, in school and in life, not only produces better results but boosts self-esteem. Doing high-quality work is one of the best ways to feel good about yourself.
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