Organization: It may sound cliché, but organization plays a key part in the success of a math class. Math is constantly building upon previous topics. A math class may go weeks without referencing a previous lesson, and then bring back that topic. Students may forget and having an organized notebook with all of your notes can be beneficial for the student’s success. Additionally, homework assignments, class work, and miscellaneous papers may have examples and problems that are similar to quizzes/tests.
Note taking: An extremely important aspect of high school math classes is legible and thorough note taking. Class is when you’re going to be getting the most in-depth instruction on the topic/lesson. During this time, students need to be taking notes that are legible. As a teacher, I have helped students several times and asked them to get out their notes for the lesson. When they get them out, they cannot read them! So, it is only natural that they will have a struggle when they cannot read their own handwriting. Make sure your notes are able to be easily read.
Questions: Do not be afraid of your peers or teacher when asking a question. If you don’t know something, simply raise your hand for help. It is impossible for teachers to know during the lesson whether you understand a topic. Chances are, if one student doesn’t understand something, there will be others in the classroom who have the same challenge or question.
Homework: Always, always, always do your homework. A correlation exists between grades and those who do homework. For many classes, homework is an effort grade, so these are points you cannot afford to miss. Additionally, this is when you can practice and find out what you know and what you struggle with. Many classes post answers on their websites, or give problems from the book with answers in the back. Check your work to see if you understand the lesson, then use that information.
Resources: All core subjects have tutoring one day a week (Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry). Many teachers keep websites up-to-date with the most recent notes and homework. Furthermore, practice quizzes, study guides, and other tools may be posted that can be instrumental in the success of the student. Khan Academy is another free tool that can be used to help with missed lessons or simple remediation.
Study: Studying for a math test is often described as confusing or impossible. How exactly does one study? Here are a few things to keep in mind when studying:
Complete your study guide and then check your work. In class, we often do not plug answers back in every time to see if they are correct or not, but it is possible. When you finish your test, instead of turning it in, go back and check every answer by plugging into the equation to see if it gives you the right answer.
Know your math vocabulary. It is easy to memorize a process, but to be successful one must understand the mechanics behind the process. Once you understand the mechanics, the solving is actually simple. You can then apply the mechanics to a variety of problems that may appear on tests/quizzes.
Basic Math: So much of high school math involves a thorough understanding of simple mathematics and operations. If you’ve become reliant on your calculator, you need to break this habit quickly. Do your homework without a calculator and then check it with a calculator. Or, perhaps in class you don’t use a calculator to help get back in the understanding of basic arithmetic.