How to Study for a Math Test: A practical action plan that will help you

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When I was a student and teachers would say, "Study for your math test!" I would think, "How do I 'study' for a math test?" I now realize that 'study' is the wrong verb. You really need to 'practice' for a math test.

Math tests not only require you to KNOW material, they require you to know HOW TO DO something with that material. This shift requires a shift in your preparation. Unlike other tests, there is no way to prepare for a math test the night before. At that point, you either know the material or you don't, but there is no faking.

First, it is important to understand common reasons students loose points on math tests. They include:

1) Not reading the directions! (This is a big one!)

2) Not writing neatly. (i.e. Mistaking a digit in the tens place for one that should be in the hundreds place.)

3) Not understanding the math vocabulary.

4) Not doing their homework regularly to get appropriate practice.

5) Not knowing their basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and/or division facts fluently.

Simply being aware that each of these factors can impact your grade is half of your battle, but as you probably guessed, there is more you can do.

** Action Plan **

Step 1: Know your basic math facts! There are hundreds of math games on the internet to help you practice your facts. They are the foundation of math and will continue to hold you back if you cannot answer each of them (0-10) in a split-second.

Step 2: As you do your homework, remind yourself that you are actually 'studying' for your next math test. Circle all problems that you do not know how to do and ask for help in class the next day. As you correct your homework in class, circle all problems you did wrong and take notes about how to do them
correctly.

Step 3: Three nights before your test, study your math vocabulary and do 10-15 practice problems using "wrong" answers from your homework. Repeat the next night with different homework problems.

Step 4: The night before the test, review those lovely vocabulary words and do one problem from each night's homework.

Step 5: When you first receive the test, write down any formulas or definitions you are afraid you might forget.

Step 6: Read the directions! Twice.

Step 7: Write neatly. Keep your numbers in the correct place-value.

Step 8: When you are stuck, do as much as you can (you may get partial credit), then skip the problem and move on. Come back to it if you have time.

Step 9: After your test is graded, make sure you understand any mistakes and how to correct them. If you do not understand the material now, you will continue to have problems in following chapters.

** In Conclusion **

Math can be challenging because everything you learn builds on knowledge you should have learned before. If you miss something, it will catch up with you. However, if you:

* Learn your math facts,

* Treat your homework like it is test practice and learn from your mistakes,

* Take time to learn math vocabulary,

-and-

* Read the directions...

...it will not be long before your math test scores will soar!

About the Author:

Susan Kruger is the author of "SOAR Study Skills; A Simple and Efficient System for Earning Better Grades in Less Time". Get Susan's FREE Homework Rx Toolkit, featuring "25 Ways to Make Homework Easier...Tonight!", at her website: http://soarstudyskills.com

Copyright: 2006, All Rights Reserved

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