Many kids find it hard to earn As and Bs in math classes. Especially in high school, as competition grows and the teacher seems to fly through the text book, kids can use extra support. But anyone can choose to ace math – even if today’s grade says otherwise. So look out algebra, geometry, and calculus. Here are five essential tips to learn math like an Einstein.
1. Have a positive attitude.
Your attitude toward math is 100% in your control. If you find math tough, make that motivate you, not discourage you. Mental effort should feel hard. That’s exactly how we build up our math brains. Great math students embrace mental challenges first grade go math. They love to grapple with new ideas, even make mistakes. Try to see your confusion as a normal early stage of learning. When you persevere with enthusiasm and don’t quit, you end up with mastery!
2. Pay close attention to nuances.
Basketball players learn to read any defensive setup. They understand nuances that guide their chosen response – and help them score. In math, attention to detail will guide your correct problem-solving response. Strengthen this ability. Make sure you always understand why the step you are taking is called for to solve any particular problem. Avoid applying a procedure without a good mental roadmap of where you are and where you’re going. A smart way to test yourself is to talk through a problem-solving sequence out loud.
3. Define your goals.
Do you want to raise a C to an A in algebra, ace the geometry final, or stay competitive in AP calculus? Set clear and specific math goals for yourself. You’ll be more motivated, engaged and focused if you articulate a specific outcome and work toward it. Enlist the help of your teacher, classmates, parents, or a good local math tutor to help you stay on track.
4. Drill and practice.
Great math students spend a long time working on a particular problem type or concept to really master it. They do many similar problems, over and over, until they can solve that type of problem every time. By comparison, an average math student may feel satisfied when they reach a correct answer 75% of the time. But that’s a C grade on a test! Even worse, it’s a weak foundation on which to build more advanced math skills. If you lack motivation to drill and practice on your own, a math tutor can inspire you and keep you going.
5. Study math how you learn best.
Everyone learns in three ways – visual (seeing), auditory (hearing), and kinesthetic (hands-on). Most people have a preferred learning style, or favor a blend of two. Try to study math using approaches that fit your style. If you’re unsure how you like to learn, try all of these ideas and keep what works best for you.
I recently read an article written by a math teacher that should have pleased me since it was about Algebra. The article was directed at 9th grade Algebra students. The author was offering suggestions that he said would “definitely” raise their personal test scores. I was expecting to find academic study suggestions that really would have a positive impact on student test results. What I found instead was actually insulting to teacher integrity. My first thought was that no teacher would do “this” anymore. In the “old days” it happened. But, surely, it wouldn’t happen in today’s world. Then I remembered a statement I have made to so many others. DON’T ASSUME. Thus, a look a test grading procedures is in order.