College Math Study Tips and Strategies

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The Correct Mindset for College Math

You must understand underlying concepts to succeed in college-level mathematics classes. Many students solely focus on memorizing formulas. Multiple steps often must be completed to solve problems listed on tests. It’s difficult to solve these problems without understanding basic concepts. Students willing to constantly practice can master college-level math.

How to Study in a Math Class
  • Review concepts learned in previous math classes before beginning a new one
  • Don’t put off homework and avoid missing class. Most classes are easy at the beginning of the semester since teachers take time to review concepts from previous classes
  • Read the textbook and review previous lecture notes before lectures
  • Set multiple hours aside each week to study
  • Copy examples instructors write on the whiteboard into your notes. List the step-by-step process required to solve these problems
  • Complete practice problems listed in the textbook
  • Memorize formulas
  • Get assistance when needed from your teacher or a peer tutor
Math Homework
  • Complete homework assignments immediately after class since lecture concepts will remain fresh in your mind. Set time aside each day to work on math homework. Students often make the mistake of procrastinating math homework until the weekend
  • Review lecture notes and work through example problems from class
  • Organize study groups with classmates
  • Receive help from peer tutors
  • Don’t move onto a new set of problems until you fully comprehend the ones you’re currently working on
  • Complete all assigned homework problems and complete extra ones if time permits
  • Thoroughly read word problems. Students often miss word problems on tests because they neglect to carefully read instructions
  • Draw visual aids and diagrams to understand confusing or complicated word problems
Studying for Math Tests
  • Study hard throughout the semester. Many students become over confident after earning high grades on easy tests
  • Thoroughly understand underlying concepts since word problems are often presented confusingly to test understanding
  • Participate in review sessions organized by teachers or classmates
  • Memorize mathematical formulas
  • Work through problems missed on quizzes
  • Prepare for tests by studying textbook practice tests, reviewing lecture notes, and working through various types of problems. If possible, obtain practice tests from previous years
  • Since most tests are timed, practice timed problems
Taking Math Tests
  • Do not neglect sleep the night before test day. Grogginess affects mental processing
  • Write formulas in test margins immediately after receiving the test. Complete simple problems first to save time for more difficult ones
  • Don’t become discouraged while working through difficult problems. Follow the step-by-step process you practiced while studying. Always show your work since professors often give partial credit
What to Do After a Math Test

Review missed problems once your test is returned to you. Re-work through missed problems since final exams are typically comprehensive.