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**Presented by: Louise Robichaux**

Math Study Skills Presented by: Louise Robichaux

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**Math Study Skills Inventory**

Rate your achievement of the following statements by placing a 3 for almost always, 2 for sometimes, and 1 for almost never. If you have never even thought about doing what the statement says, put a 0. Selecting a math class _______ 1. I schedule my math class at a time when I am mentally sharp. _______ 2. When I register for a math class, I choose the best instructor for me. _______ 3. If I have a choice, I select a math class that meets three or four days a week instead of one or two. _______ 4. I schedule the next math class as soon as possible after I have completed the current course. _______ 5. I am sure that I have signed up for the correct level math course. Time and place for studying math _______ 6. I study math every day. _______ 7. I try to get my math homework immediately after math class. _______ 8. I have a specific time to study math. _______ 9. I have a specific place with few distractions to study math. ______ 10. I seek help with my math homework in the lab/tutoring center. ______ 11. I am careful to keep up to date with math homework. ______ 12. I study math at least 8 to 10 hours a week.

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**Study strategies for math class**

______ 13. I read my textbook before I come to class. ______ 14. If I have trouble understanding the text, I find an alternate text. ______ 15. I take notes in math class. ______ 16. I am careful to copy all the steps of math problems in my notes. ______ 17. I ask questions when I am confused. ______ 18. I go to the instructor or lab/tutoring center when I am confused. ______ 19. I try to determine exactly when I got confused and exactly what confused me. ______ 20. I review my notes and text before beginning homework. ______ 21. I work problems until I understand them, not just until I get the right answer for homework. ______ 22. I use flashcards for formulas and vocabulary. ______ 23. I develop memory techniques to remember math concepts.

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Math tests ______ 24. I preview the test before I begin. ______ 25. Before I begin the test, I make notes on things such as formulas that I might need. ______ 26. I begin with the easy questions first. ______ 27. I take the full amount of time allotted for the test. ______ 28. I carefully check or rework as many problems that I have time to before I turn in my test. ______ 29. When tests are returned, I keep a log of the types of mistakes I make on tests: concept errors, application errors, or careless errors. ______ 30. I keep up to date so that I don't have to cram the night before a test. Anxiety ______ 31. I believe that I can succeed in math class. ______ 32. I have study partners in my math class. ______ 33. I take practice tests. ______ 34. I know several good relaxation techniques. ______ TOTAL SCORE

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Scoring: Total the scores from all 34 statements. If your score is , give yourself an A. You are using the study skill you need in order to be successful in math. If your score is , give yourself a B. You are using good math study skills. Choose a few strategies to work on each day, and you are well on your way to an A. If your score is , give yourself a C. Your study skills are average. If you want an A, choose one or two strategies in each category to work on until you are using most of the strategies described above. If you score is below 70, you are probably having a difficult time in math class. Math may not be your trouble! More than likely, your main problem is the study strategies you are using (or not using). Make yourself do the things on the list above.

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**Studying Math Studying math is different from studying other subjects:**

Math is learned by doing problems. Warning: Each class builds on the previous classes. Material is comprehensive. Encouragement: Each section builds on the previous, thus making a constant review of key concepts providing for less memorization.

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**Keys to conquering math:**

Learn math frequently and in small chunks. Do homework at your most alert time of the day. Ask questions, see your instructor to clear up uncertainties. Seek tutoring help early during the semester. Form a study group that meets once or twice a week.

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Mastering Homework When working homework, determine which procedural step first caused your difficulty. For example, rather than saying “I’m lost,” ask “Could you please explain step 3” or “I don’t understand step 3. Would you explain it in a different way?” Example: Find the error: Problem: 2x + 3 = 5 Step 1: 2x = 8 Step 2: x = 4 Make corrections: Step 1: 2x = 2 Step 2: x = 1 Be specific so that you can pinpoint exactly where your difficulty began, thus making the instructor/tutor more effective in helping you. Focus on your area of difficulty.

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**Tips on Problem Solving (Do’s and Don’ts)**

Do write out all steps when working problems as if you were taking a test. Don’t just scratch out a few lines and check the answer in the back of the book. If the answer if wrong, rework the problem. Don’t just do some “mental gymnastics” to convince yourself that you could get the correct answer.

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Math is fun!

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**Active Study vs. Passive Study**

Be actively involved in managing the learning process: Take responsibility for studying, recognizing what you know and don’t know. Then seek help in what you don’t know. Attend class every day, and take complete notes. Instructors formulate test questions based on material and examples covered in class as well as those in the text. Be an active participant in class. Attempt to work some problems in the text before they are covered in class. Ask questions in class! Poor question: “I don’t understand this section.” Good question: “I don’t understand why f(x + h) doesn’t equal f(x) + f(h).” Poor question: “How do you do #15?” Good question: “Can you show me how to set up #15?” Visit the instructor during office hours to clear up questions. Good study habits throughout the semester make it easier to study for tests.

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**Problem Solving (Homework and Tests)**

Problem types: 1. Problems testing memorization (drill). Ex: formulas 2. Problems testing skills (drill). Ex: exponents 3. Problems requiring application of skills to familiar situations. Ex: Using factoring to solve an equation. 4. Problems requiring application of skills to unfamiliar situations. Ex: Using factoring to solve a word problem. 5. Problems requiring you to extend the skills then apply to an unfamiliar situation.

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**Studying for a Math Test**

Do homework when it is assigned. Math cannot be crammed into a couple of days. As you do homework, make lists of formulas and techniques. Ask questions as they arise. Go over each homework section you previously worked, checking that you can still do the homework problems (actually work the problems again). Try to explain out loud how to solve the problem (create verbal instructions). Work problems from review sections at the end of chapters.

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Taking a Math Test First look over the entire test, identifying problems you know how to do. Read directions carefully. Example: 1) Simplify, factor, evaluate, solve,…all have different meanings. 2) Rounding off decimals. Start with the problems that you know you can do. This builds confidence and means you won’t miss sure points. Be aware of time. Work quickly but legibly. If you get stuck on a problem, move on to another one. Show all work, so the instructor can see how much you do know. Verify your answers. Does the answer make sense? If you finish early, check every problem (rework). Use all time available.

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Works Cited Arem, Cynthia. Conquering Math Anxiety. California: Brooks/Cole, Hopper, Carolyn H. The Study Skills Workbook. 18 Aug < “Success in Mathematics.” Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Saint Louis University. 18 Aug <

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