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How To Study Mathematics

Studying from the Text

  • Read word for word.
  • When you come to a definition, try to think of some examples.
  • Try to say the definition in your own words
  • Work through examples step-by-step.

  • Do the homework regularly. Use pencil and eraser.
    If you get stuck:
    1. Find an example like the problem you are working.
    2. Reread the section.
    3. Skip the problem and go on to others.
    4. Take a short break.

  • Check your answers as you go through the assignment.
    1. You may need to do more than the assignment.
    2. Sometimes answers in the book are wrong. Don't work an unreasonable amount of time trying to match the book's answer.

Getting the Most Out of the Class

  • Come to class prepared.
    1. Know which homework problems you have questions about and what the questions are.
    2. Read the next couple of sections in the book.
    3. Study your notes from the previous class . . . if you have any questions, be ready to ask them.

  • Take notes in class.
    1. Date your class notes.
    2. Write down examples that are not in the book.
    3. Write what the instructor is saying as well as what he is writing on the board.
    4. Write down procedures for solving problems.
  • If you are falling behind the class, see your instructor. Go prepared to ask specific questions.

Studying for an Exam

  • Be sure you know what material the test will cover.
    1. Begin studying before the night prior to the exam.
    2. Make a list of all definitions, formulas, and new terms.
    3. Identify the different types of problems and know the procedure for solving each type.
    4. Be physically ready.

  • Taking an exam
    1. Arrive on time or a few minutes early and review your notes.
    2. Take several sharpened pencils and a good eraser.
    3. Briefly glance through the entire test.
    4. Write your answers neatly and show your work.
    5. Do all the problems you know how to do first.
    6. Work steadily and carefully.

Planning your Week

  • Make a weekly study schedule.
    1. Give a specific minimum amount of study time for each course.
    2. Expect approximately 2 hours of homework for each hour of class.
    3. Be organized.
    4. Use your study time efficiently.
    5. Review your study schedule, if you need to, after 2-3 weeks of class.

  • To prepare for a major exam, a term paper, or a project:
    1. Revise your study schedule.
    2. Do not sacrifice all your courses for any one course.
    3. Return to your old schedule as soon as possible after exam or term paper.

Need more help?
See your instructor first! If you need more help than your instructor can give, the Center for Academic Success may have the help that you need.


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