Skip to Main Content

Math Support

Study Strategies

General Math Study Strategies
  1. Do your best not to miss class. Attend class with a positive attitude – be willing to learn
  2. Come prepared. Read through the section/s quickly prior to class (if the instructor allows it). Brush up on basic math skills or prerequisite concepts, if necessary.
  3. Write complete, clear and legible notes based on your instructor’s lectures. Ask questions during class. Be an active participant.
  4. Review your notes regularly. Highlight important concepts. You can try writing summaries for each section or chapter, to help reinforce understanding and facilitate review for the test.
  5. Where possible, use mnemonics, diagrams, tables, flow charts, etc. to help you remember important concepts and formulas.
  6. Practice! Practice! Practice! Work on assigned problems on a timely basis.  If the assigned problems are not enough, do more. Choose problems from the text or make up your own questions.
  7. Get a study buddy. Exchange ideas on how to solve a particular assigned problem. Explain important concepts to your study buddy to make sure you understand them.
  8. Manage your time wisely. Some topics will be more difficult than others. Be prepared to spend more time on those.
  9. For test preparation, make sure you review your notes, summaries (if using) and all the problems you worked on.
  10. Many math classes are structured such that later topics rely on early ones. A weak understanding of the early topics would make it difficult to understand later material. Therefore, it is important to get help early.

Math Anxiety

Understanding and Managing Math Anxiety

What is math anxiety? It is the intense anxiety that people feel about their ability to understand and apply math.

What are the symptoms? Students with math anxiety would typically avoid their responsibilities for math class, often find themselves blanking out or freezing up on tests and have very low self-confidence in class.

What are the causes? The causes of math anxiety may vary by person. Some causes are:

  • A negative or embarrassing experience in a previous math class

  • Belief in myths that society perpetuates such as:

“Men are better at math than women.”

“You need a ‘mathematical mind’ to succeed in math.”

“There is a best way to do a math problem.”

               These are all FALSE. There are no credible studies that support them.

  • The use of learning styles that do not work for the student (see Learning Styles in Math Student Toolkit)

How to manage math anxiety?

  • Use various relaxation techniques prior to a math test such as deep/slow breathing and meditation.

  • Forget about all past negative or embarrassing experiences in math class. Do not let those experiences define who you are now.

  • Dispel any belief in math myths.

  • Explore different learning styles and use one that will help you do well in math class (see Learning Styles in Math Student Toolkit). The four primary learning styles are:

  1. Visual - you learn by looking at images

  2. Auditory - you learn by hearing and listening

  3. Reading/Writing - you learn by reading/writing information

  4. Kinesthetic/Tactile - you are a “hands-on” learner; you learn by touching and doing

Some students learn best when using one style while others use a combination of styles.