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Thursday, April 9, 2015

How to ace math tests without learning much

By Marta Gromadzka
We all know people, who claim that they spend minimum time on learning math and yet they ace every math test they take. We often wrongly assume that those people must possess out of this world math skills, but the truth is that everyone can be better at passing math tests, if they follow these rules:

Behave like an exemplary student

Students, who are good at math are often really good in other disciplines as well. That is because they know the key to success: you should do everything as you are told. When your math teacher asks you to be more active during math classes, do it, instead of spending this time on daydreaming. Try to understand everything the teacher is talking about and if you have any doubts, ask as many questions as necessary. When your math teacher gives you homework to do, get to it right away, instead of waiting until the very last moment or not completing the task at all. If you do your homework on the same day when you had your math classes, chances are that you probably still remember everything you have learned and by practicing it right away, you are reinforcing your knowledge of math and building stronger foundations for your understanding of more complex problems in the future. Doing homework on time has one more advantage: if you have some problems with those exercises, you will know it right away and you can ask your teacher for advice on the next day.

Learn how to solve math tests

The ability to solve math tests is a skill on its own and that is because most math exercises are standardized: they follow similar patterns and often include hints, which can help you solve those problems. If you want to be better at solving math problems, start from improving your reading with understanding. It is the absolute basic skill for solving math problems, but, surprisingly, many kids do not know how to extract important information from the text. Every important fact given in the word problem can be translated into the language of numbers and symbols. At first, it might seem difficult, but if you analyze previously solved math problems, you will notice that certain phrases repeat and they are consistently translated as certain math symbols. Create a personal dictionary of these correlations and memorize it. The ability to translate word problems into math symbols is the first step to solving them and even if you do not know what to do next, you should still get points for trying.

Develop some serious math skills

If you want to improve your math knowledge and get ahead of other students in your class, try a different math learning method, like the Singapore math. You will be surprised how quickly you can hone your math skills with this method. Ideally you should be practicing Singapore math techniques at school, but if your school follows the traditional curriculum and you can’t find any Singapore math classes near you, look for Singapore math books and learn the basics of the method by yourself. 

About the author: Marta Gromadzka is a writer and editor with a wide variety of experience, including writing for websites internationally and editing books on many different subjects and in a variety of formats.

Image: Sandid/Pixabay, US-PD