Many students nowadays struggle with Mathematics for several reasons, including low motivation due to anxiety, a poor understanding of basic concepts, falling behind in a unit... If you identify yourself as one of these people and feel like you need to strengthen your maths skills, you’ve come to the right place. Whether your goal is to advance in maths, gain some mathematical skills, or improve your grade, here are five tips for you.
1. Train your memory and brain by doing maths exercises regularly.
One of the most essential tips to follow in order to succeed in Maths is to practice questions and exercises every day. Practice is the key to mastering maths. Routine practice helps students become quicker, maintain accuracy and be familiar with solving basic operations, making them procedurally fluent. By becoming a procedural student, you are likely to solve more complex tasks and solve problems in a shorter time. The most effective way to reinforce a new mathematical idea is by doing several exercises related to the topic until your brain is trained and comfortable with these types of questions. Therefore when you see these problems in a test or homework, your brain will know exactly what to do. A recent study done in the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NITNU) at Trondheim, states that you need to practice it if you want to be good at maths. There’s no such thing as being marvellous in maths because it’s a skill you were simply born with. It’s crucial to practise every single topic of maths to become successful.
2. When studying, make sure to record step-by-step of your solutions.
Making annotations in your notebook is pivotal for all subjects in order to have a deeper understanding of the topic, maths being no exception. Recording all the steps to your solution helps you better comprehend the reasoning behind the problem’s answer. Maths is a very complex subject with many different interworking areas. Although you may come to think you fully understand a particular concept, you will likely forget it until your assignments. Thus, writing down all of your previous working outs' will guide you to follow the needed procedures when revising for your exams. Additionally, for a better approach to improving your skills, it’s highly recommended to make your notes on paper, as it has been proven to be more efficient.
3. Use your class time wisely.
When it comes to using our time wisely during the classroom, most of us think that in a no brainer: pay attention during the explanation, don't get distracted and ask questions. However, it's easier said than done. Although you might find double maths on a Friday incredibly boring, you have to find some motivation to get through it. Class time is significant as it gives you an opportunity to seek clarification on anything you don't comprehend a particular problem when understanding the content early. Using your teacher is crucial to your learning; they are one of your best resources. When saying: "I'll write this down later", "This isn't so important", "This is easy, I don't need to pay attention", it will only set you up for a greater struggle later on. I highly recommend doing all exercises given in class during your maths period and solving any doubts you have.
4. Never start revising the night before your exam.
Despite it being essential to use the last bit of your time to revise your notes before taking an exam, you should never start studying the night before. In theory, the closer to the exam you start revising, the more information you will be able to remember in the short term and perform well. However, in practice, it doesn’t work like this. Cramming the evening before your test will make you stressed, as you will be worried about not remembering all the information you need to know and covering all the topics, leading to a greater chance of failure. When studying at the last minute, you’ll have no lasting connections to the knowledge, and you won’t develop any deep understanding of the content. Therefore, it's best to organise yourself at least one week before the exam and decide what topic you cover each day. By doing so, you’ll ensure you’re well prepared for the test, will less likely be stressful and will have a more outstanding performance.\
5. Study in a calm environment.
Studying in a quieter environment has been proven to help you achieve your academic goals more efficiently and within less time. Maths can be a very stressful and nerve-racking subject to study; thus, the better the ability to shut off all exterior distractions, the more you will produce substantially higher quality work. The main reason for this is that noise essentially diverts the mental resources of the introvert's brain responsible for memory recall and problem-solving and distracts them. From solving equations to analyzing different functions, it’s essential to work in an environment without noise as our brains will process information quicker. I guarantee that you will quickly notice the difference in your ability to understand a problem when studying in a calm and agitated environment.
Learning maths can be very challenging; there is no formula to succeed in the subject; however, these tips will undoubtedly help you acquire better grades and better understand and enjoy the topic. Don't be frustrated if you're applying all of these tips and your grade isn't increasing, don't give up; it takes time and practice to succeed in maths. Mathematical skills don't appear from day to night.
Suggested websites to help you improve your math skills:
Suggested youtube channels to help you improve your math skills:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEWpbFLzoYGPfuWUMFPSaoA (science & maths)
https://www.youtube.com/user/mathtutordvd/videos (science & maths)