The maths. That subject that you either hate or love. There is no middle ground. When the time of the exam comes, many are left blank, others cannot remember the logic behind certain developments, some even make basic mistakes that subtract the necessary points to pass.
Most students find it one of the most difficult subjects to pass. This aversion may be motivated by the need to learn and understand the operators and symbols that make up the language of mathematics. Or because of the fear acquired towards this subject over the years. We do not know.
What we do know is that it is a subject in which, if you put in the effort, great progress can be made quickly. And that when before you start better. So, to help you in your mission to pass math exams, we are going to propose you a series of tricks with which you will end up being infallible.
How to prepare for a math test:
Like everything in life, Mathematics exams require prior preparation. Arriving at the exam with good preparation will improve your results considerably. And this is where most people fail. Spending more hours is not always synonymous with getting better grades. The key is precisely to invest the right time in the most intelligent way possible. To do so, we are going to give you a series of tips that if you are not applying them already, you should try.
Work on math day by day
This advice is the one you will hear the most, and it is applicable to all subjects. But it is especially useful in the field of numbers since it is a progressive subject. Where knowledge is built from a few bases and then expanded. This is why you are going to notice positive results from the first moment. And you will also generate a snowball effect that will make your results continue to improve as the course progresses, even dedicating the same time.
What we suggest is that you try to block two or three gaps in your week to carry out the tasks or redo the exercises proposed in class. The duration of these sessions should be adjusted to your needs and your rhythm. About 30 to 45 minutes per block should be sufficient. If possible on the same day of classes, because in this way you will be able to reinforce what you have learned and arrive with a solid knowledge base for the next class.
Use the summary card method
The summary sheet method has already been explained at length in another article. So we are not going to go into detail about this very powerful study tool. What we are going to do is talk to you about how to get the most out of it when preparing for a math exam. Follow these tips when preparing your math summary sheets:
- Synthesize the statements of the theorems or the mathematical developments that are the object of study in symbolic notation, abstain from the numbers, and simply pay attention to the logic behind
- Make graphical representations or drawings whenever you need it
- Use as few written sentences as possible, ideally, you should only write the theorem statements and the titles of each section in words
Write down the mistakes you make
It is said that those who do not know their history are condemned to repeat it. Well, the same thing happens in the studies. When you make a mistake when solving an exercise, we recommend that you write it down on a sheet of paper. There are two equally valid ways to implement this type of advice in your study sessions.
The first one is based on writing down the number of the exercise in which you made some kind of mistake. It’s about you coming back to him in the near future and facing him again. This emphasizes the specific exercise in which you made the mistake.
The second way to run this tip also adds the error categorization. In this way, more focus is placed on the type of failure and not on the specific exercise in which you made the failure. This can be used to make a statistics class. You may find that your problem is not exactly what you are studying, but that you make a lot of mistakes when working with the signs of the expressions.
Select and master the tools available to you
Many times math tests involve the use of tools such as a calculator or other tools. Invest a few euros to renovate that old ruler or protractor. Buy yourself a calculator that suits your needs, neither too complex nor too simple. And also, familiarize yourself with these tools and practice with the same tools with which you will go to the exam. Brand new calculator on the day of the test is all a very bad idea.
In the specific case of calculators, it is essential to learn to perform the operations that you will need at the time of the exam and to make correct use of the calculator’s internal memories to lose as little time as possible. For example, when studying trigonometry you should be able to switch the calculator from degrees mode to radians mode, and vice versa.
Regarding the selection of calculators. Currently, most of them already offer the possibility of entering expressions with parentheses and all kinds of details, as if you were writing them on paper. Which makes working with them much more intuitive than before. Even the cheapest ones already offer a double line, a command line, and a result line. Except for very specific cases, engineering can be approved with a calculator for less than € 30.
How to take a math test:
Exam day has come. And if you have followed the previous tips, you should already know the agenda by heart. Even so, there are some good practices that you should introduce into your habits to optimize results and get the most out of all the hours of study you have invested. Here are the three tips to follow on test day if you want to do your best on a math test:
Review the summary sheet during the previous minutes
In the summary tab, you will be able to find and review each of the key concepts of the syllabus on which you are going to examine. And by reviewing it during the hours or minutes before the exam you will be able to refresh and bring all those basic concepts to the fore. But do it calmly and slowly, you better not mix concepts when it comes to the truth.
Read the exam, prioritize and organize yourself
Mathematics exams are usually made up of a series of independent questions. Versing each one of them on one of the concepts on the agenda. Therefore, it is recommended that you spend the first 3 or 4 minutes of the exam to find out what concept each of the questions is related to and estimate its difficulty.
Thus, when solving the questions it is not necessary that you solve them in the order indicated in the statement. But you can let yourself be carried away by your preferences. The optimum is usually to prioritize the questions based on their difficulty and the points with which you will be rewarded for it.
If you have practiced enough before the exam, you will know how to estimate the time you need for each type of exercise. So now that the duration is limited, the best you can do is divide the available time realistically. And if any of the issues take longer than expected and you feel stuck, it is best to keep a cool head and move on to the next one. You will return to that question if you have time to spare.
In math, you can make a tiny mistake at the beginning of the exercise and drag it to the end without realizing it. That is why it is very useful to keep track of the mistakes you make during practice sessions at home. In this way, knowing what you should look at and what points you should review, do a review of all the exercises before delivering the exam. You will minimize the risk of encountering surprises when it is returned to you corrected.
In addition, there are many types of exercises that, if you have some imagination, can be easily checked with the help of a calculator, or by following an alternative approach. So if you have time to spare and you have doubts, check those exercises in which you think you may have made a mistake.