Tips for Students

Math/Science Tips for Students

Here are some tips that will help students improve their performance in math and science:

  1. Read the textbook the night before your class, and take notes while you read. This approach will enable you to understand far more of the teacher’s lecture than if you arrive for class with no knowledge of the new material. Few students do this, but those that do will have a huge advantage.
  2. In the course of reading the textbook you will likely come across one or more points that you don’t understand. Don’t spend more than 5 minutes stuck on any particular point. Doing so will waste time and tire your mind. Instead, move on and finish the section. Sometimes the confusing point will be explained and resolved in the next sentence or two, or in the next paragraph. But even if it isn’t, you still should continue on. By doing so you’ll be able to finish your assignment in the minimum amount of time. You may think that, if you don’t understand a particular point, you won’t understand anything that follows. But most of the time this is not true. Keep moving, and you’ll cover more ground in less time.
  3. Sit in the front-center of the class. It’s easier to pay attention, and harder for your mind to wander, when you’re sitting in front of the teacher.
  4. Stay focused. Listen carefully to your teacher for the full hour, even though the subject may not be your favorite.
  5. Take notes furiously. Try to write down everything you can. Develop your own set of abbreviations to increase your note-taking speed. Some words or phrases are used repeatedly in math/science. You should have abbreviations for them. For example, you can use “s.t.” for “such that”, “ex” for “example”, and “f” for “function”.

To prepare for a test:

  1. Make a list of the theorems, formulas, and definitions in the chapter, and memorize them.
  2. If there’s a review sheet or chapter test, be sure you know how to do all of its problems.
  3. Read through your lecture notes. Teachers tend to base their tests on the problems covered in their lectures.

Go through the chapter in the textbook, section by section. Inspect each section for the different types of problems presented. Some problem types may not have been assigned or covered in the lectures. Those you can probably ignore. For the problem types that were assigned, pick a few of each and try to solve them. When you can do all of the different types of problems, you’re ready.