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7 Ways to Conquer Math

1. Write neatly

As silly as this sounds, writing legibly is very important when doing your math homework. I don't know how many times I've had to kick myself because I got a problem wrong just because I accidentally thought one of my 4's was a 9, or one of my 3's was an 8. Remember, in math one silly mistake at the beginning of a problem can mess the whole thing up. Make sure you are not rushing through it.

2. Take your homework seriously

In my opinion, the most important subject to do your homework in is math. In other subjects, homework might seem like busywork. However, in math, homework is the best way to learn the material. Math teachers give homework because the best way to learn math is actually doing the problems. So if you're getting homework answers from another classmate, or not doing your homework at all, then it is likely you will not know what you are doing come test time. Stay on top of your homework, and try your best not to procrastinate.

3. Double check everything

The great thing about math is that you can usually check to see if you get the answer right before someone with the answer key tells you that you got it right. For example, if you were to solve the problem x2 -9 = 0, you would find that x = 3 & x = -3. Instead of quickly going to the next problem, you can plug 3 & -3 back into the original equation and find that the solution would be 0. Now you're certain that you got that problem correct. Also, most textbooks have answers in the back of the book. So, when you're doing your homework, check those answers every once in a while to make sure you are on the right track.

4. Do extra practice

A lot of times just doing the homework isn't enough to know the material in and out. If you are only assigned one problem per section, it may behoove you to do some extra problems to get a better understanding of the subject. A great way to study for your test is to redo previous homework problems, or better yet do other problems in that section so that you will be ready for everything on the test.

5. Search for outside help

Once you get into upper level math courses you come to a point where you realize you can't do it all by yourself. Even if you can't get your teacher or a tutor to help you, there are still lots of ways you can find help. There are numerous videos on YouTube that will walk you step-by-step on how to do various kinds of problems. There are also great educational sites such as Khan Academy that offer great tips and videos on all kinds of subjects, not just math. It is easier now more than ever to find help, so make sure you take advantage of it.

6. Remember the formulas

A lot of math problems involve plugging numbers into formulas before calculating, so it is important to know what the formulas are, and when to use what formula when studying for a test. If you are fortunate enough to get to use a cheat sheet, make sure you devote a good chunk of it to writing down all the formulas you will need for the test. Otherwise, make sure you emphasize memorizing the formulas in your studies.

7. Block out enough time for quick breaks

Even for the smartest kids in the class, math can be stressful. It is important that you are not waiting until the last minute to do all your homework and study for the test. Make sure you are staying on top of things and not procrastinating. This way you have time to do a couple problems, take a quick break to get a snack or something to give your brain a rest, do some more problems, and then call it a night. If you find yourself doing math problems for five hours straight the night before the test, you are going to regret it.
Tyler G
Applied Mathematics major at Fontbonne
Fontbonne University
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