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Center for Academic Support Home Page: Math Tips

Home page for the Center for Academic Support, Denver Campus

Scared of Math?

Good news - many of us are!  The links below can help with your math study skills and allow you to become more comfortable with learning math.

Math Study Tips

Math Tip #1 - Study Everyday!  Some people need to study and review math EVERY day.  That's just the way it goes.  If you only study on class days and are not doing well in math, you may need to study the same material on a daily basis.  Try it and see what happens.

Math Tip #2 - Rework your notes so that you understand them.  Your notes may not make sense after class.  Rewrite your notes and use colored pens and highlighters to help you make better sense of it all.

Math Tip #3 - Re-write the problem BIGGER and use COLORIf you have a problem with switching or mixing numbers and symbols, try re-writing the problem bigger.  Highlight the symbols and variables in different colors.  If you do not understand the problem correctly, you cannot solve the problem correctly.

Math Tip #4 - Understand the key terms and vocabulary.  Understanding the key terms and vocabulary will help you understand the concepts in math.  It's a mistake to focus on just the numbers -- you need to know what the words mean!  Your instructors use these terms in the lectures and when they go over the homework.  They may say, "Write this down in standard form."  You will be able to do this if you know what "standard form" means.

Math Tip #5 - Read the chapter and notes BEFORE you go to class.  Check your syllabus and do the reading BEFORE you go to class.  Don't forget to check the public folders for notes and read those BEFORE you go to class.  Don't worry if you don't understand it.  But just being familiar with the topic will help you understand the class lecture much better.  You'll understand more in class and learn faster.

Math Tip #6 - Take notes even if you understand the lecture.  Ever ask yourself, "How come I get it in class, but I don't understand it when I do my homework?"  A good lecture may have you thinking that the topic is easily understood.  That may be the case.  However, math is often a series of steps and choices that may not be easy to remember.  You may remember how to start a problem, but find it hard to recall how to finish the problem.  Capture that in-class understanding by taking good notes!  When you do your homework, you can refresh your memory and help yourself remember ALL the steps and reasons to complete the problems.

Math Tip #7 - Understand the concepts by seeing how things inter-relate.  Math is easier to understand if you see how things relate to each other.  Pay attention when your instructor solves a problem in different ways.  It's good to understand why we can write 15% as .15 or 15/100.  It's good to understand why multiplying by the reciprocal gives you the same result as dividing by the original.  Here's a good example on why we need to know vocabulary.  Can you explain RECIPROCAL?

Math Tip #8 - Sit near the front of the class.  Sit where you can see and hear better. You may also want to sit by yourself so you are not distracted by your friends!  Math Tip #8 was contributed by Jared, who finds it easier to participate and pay attention in class.

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