Studying for a mathematics exam requires a different kind of study to any other subject. A student cannot simply memorise formulae and equations, while looking at ‘example questions’. While it is very important to know the formulas and equations, it is more important to know how to use them. This is the unique aspect with studying for a mathematic exam, you must practice and “do math” compared to other subjects there is more of a doing and practicing aspect.
Always ensure the students are going to be prepared for an exam by finding out the date and contents of the exam as early as possible. Ensure the student has spoken to the teacher about any particular areas they should focus on studying- the teacher sometimes might provide useful hints. Once it is known what is going to be on the exam, the student can begin to properly prepare for the exam by following some guidelines.
Creating a studying environment + planning
The student should be sitting in an area, free from distraction when studying. It’s really important to have minimal distractions from the study they’re about to embark upon. A clean, clutter-free desk helps the student to organise themselves to study. Once they have a clean area for study, help the student to draw up a plan for their time when studying. Planning and preparedness can go a long way to ensuring a student achieves high results from high-quality studying habits and they get the most out of each hour of study.
Understanding the theory and concepts
Ensure the students have read all the text provided on the topics in the exam. Ensure your students have read how the problem works and why it works, compared to quickly looking at the examples! Textbooks include proofs of the formulae they’re expected to know; which greatly helps with understanding why the formulas are used. Textbooks sometimes provide information about the practical use of the concept as well, if not, they can always ask you or their teacher.
Do the work
Prepare the student to be doing study on the areas by reading about the topic area, making notes on the area, including examples and formulas used. Then make sure the student is doing practice questions similar to the homework questions. After the student has revised with some homework-style questions, give the student some more exam-style questions (which are going to be worded, problem-solving questions).
Go through the method again with the student to ensure they understand all the components of the topic area. Check to make sure your student is using the theories, rules and formulas correctly and that they understand how the concepts produce the correct answer. Ask the student to explain each step of their working out to see if there are any weak-parts to their explanation, and deal with these.
Polishing up math skills
Sometimes a student might find a particular area more challenging than need be due to a weak knowledge of the previously completed areas. It is always effective to look at topics covered a term ago, or even year ago, to ensure the student understands the logical sequence between the old topics and the new ones.