How to Study for a Math Exam

Practice makes perfect when it comes to math – that’s why your teacher assigns so many tedious homework problems! Many people try to study for math by simply memorizing formulas and equations the way they would memorize facts and dates. While knowing formulas and equations is important, the best way to learn them is by using them. Start studying early, do your homework, and ask your teacher for help if you run into any issues. Avoid cramming, try not to get stressed out, and make sure to get rest and eat well just before the test.

EditSteps

EditPreparing for the Test

  1. Look over your class notes. After school, look over the notes you took in class that day for 15 to 20 minutes. As a test approaches, review your notes for the entire unit or chapter more thoroughly. Pay special attention to the example problems the teacher provided in class, since these will help break down how a given procedure or formula works.[1]
    Study for a Math Exam Step 1 Version 2.jpg
  2. Do problems similar to those that were assigned for homework. Suppose you were assigned odd numbers for homework because the even numbers’ answers are in the back of the book. Work on those even-numbered problems, then check your answers to see where your strengths and weaknesses are.[2]
    Study for a Math Exam Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • Ask your teacher if your math book has an online website. Sometimes online textbooks can help by providing quizzes and additional instructional material.
  3. Join a study group. Different people see concepts in different ways. Something that you have difficulty understanding may come easily to a study partner. If everyone in the group is confused about something, ask the teacher for help.[3]
    Study for a Math Exam Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • You could meet once or twice a week in person, talk over the phone, or chat online.
  4. Have someone make up practice problems for you. If you’re in a study group, you can create and exchange practice tests for each other. Ask a family member or someone in your class to work on practice examples together. If your textbook has a website, see if you can download practice exams.[4]
    Study for a Math Exam Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • Give yourself a time limit when taking a practice test to simulate the real thing.
  5. Reward yourself for studying hard. You deserve a break after a few hours of intense studying! Figure out some way to treat yourself after studying hard to help motivate yourself.[5]
    Study for a Math Exam Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    • For example, you could have a candy bar, go on a bike ride, play a game for 20 minutes, or do something other low-key activity you enjoy.
  6. Rest and eat well just before the exam. Try not to be stressed as the exam approaches. Get a good night’s sleep the night before the exam. Have a full breakfast that morning and, if the test is later in the day, a good lunch.[6]
    Study for a Math Exam Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • Try having a light, healthy snack, like almonds, before the test to give your brain a little more fuel.

EditGoing to Your Classes

  1. Attend class every day. Showing up to class is half the battle, so listen and pay attention to the material. Seeing your teacher break down a problem on the board is key, since math is typically more visual than other subjects due to the equations and problem solving.[7]
    Study for a Math Exam Step 7.jpg
    • Jot down any example problems from the session/class. When you review your notes later on, you will have a better feel for the specific lesson that was taught, rather than relying on your textbook.
  2. Ask your teacher any questions you have before the exam. The teacher might not tell you specifically what is going to be on the exam, but they might give you helpful guidance if you don’t understand. Asking questions about material that confuses you will also show the teacher you care about doing well in the class.[8]
    Study for a Math Exam Step 8.jpg
    • Each night after school, look over your notes. Highlight any questions you have and take them to your teacher for further explanation.
  3. Read the text. Make sure you read all of the assigned text and not just the examples. Textbooks often include proofs of the formulas that will help you understand the lesson much more thoroughly. Further, if you do the assigned reading, you’ll be better prepared for each class, so you’ll be able to actively participate.[9]
    Study for a Math Exam Step 9.jpg
    • Actively participating, or raising your hand to respond to and ask questions, will help your grade in the long run.

EditStudying Every Day

  1. Start studying as early as possible. Start preparing for the test on day one of the unit. Each night after class, look over your notes from that session. Cramming the night before will just overwhelm you.[10]
    Study for a Math Exam Step 10.jpg
    • If you give yourself time to study gradually, you’ll have a better shot at mastering the material. In addition, you’ll be able to identify weak spots and, if necessary, get extra help.
  2. Do your homework problems. Most classes have assigned, or at least suggested, problems that the teacher feels are most useful. Exam problems are often similar to homework problems, so doing your daily homework is like taking a little practice test each day.[11]
    Study for a Math Exam Step 11.jpg
    • If your textbook provides answers in the back of the book, use them only to check your work. If you choose to use them, try not to peek until after you’ve finished the assignment!
    • Do all the work for each equation, and keep your homework papers. Use them to study as the test approaches. Never just copy someone else’s homework.
  3. Get to know how a formula works. It’s typically more useful to understand how a formula is derived than simply memorizing it. Memorization is a good first step, but getting a feel for why a formula works by doing plenty of practice problems will increase your shot at passing with flying colors.[12]
    Study for a Math Exam Step 12.jpg
    • For example, you could simply memorize the sum of a triangle’s interior angles, which always add up to 180 degrees. However, if you really get a feel for that formula, you could use it to solve other problems, like figuring out an unknown angle in a hexagon.

EditTips

  • During the test, you’ll have a time limit, so you should start with the easier problems, and end with the harder ones.
  • As soon as you get your test, write as many formulas and equations down on the back of the test if you think you will forget.
  • Don’t waste your time erasing mistakes. To save time, put a line through or scratch out any work you don’t want your teacher to consider.[13]
  • Do the easier questions first.
  • Refer important questions first,if you don’t have enough time for your test.

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EditSources and Citations

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