Do you ask questions in class at least once per week? For many students, the answer is probably “no”. Reasons for such an answer may include one or more of:
– I don’t want to let my peers or the teacher know I don’t understand something
– I am uncertain about what to ask… I just don’t get what the teacher is talking about
– I don’t wish to appear to be the teacher’s “pet”
– I am not being called on when I raise my hand
– Someone else asked a question first, and the teacher needed to move on
– The teacher has not answered my past questions – they just said “see me after class”
A number of small preparatory steps may help get your questions answered in class, particularly if your class is a large one. The need for such steps will vary greatly from one school to another, or one teacher to another, but they will not hurt your efforts to master the subject even if they are not necessary to get your questions answered during class time:
- Ask questions of your teacher outside of class time on several occasions early in the semester, particularly if you have never had this teacher before. This will help you get to know your teacher a little better, and will also help your teacher:
– associate your name with your face
– gain some Continue reading Successfully Asking Questions In Class
People don’t like losing points for errors in their solution of a problem. So, what can you do to insure you won’t lose points again the next time you are given a similar problem? Most folks seem to look through the corrections, then perhaps ask the teacher to solve the problem for the entire class, and perhaps even make a note to study that type of problem before the next test or quiz. Few do more than that… and the next time they are given a similar problem the probability they will lose points unfortunately remains greater than zero.
The solution I advocate to this dilemma involves a combination of repetition and self-awareness.
Every problem you lose points on, whether on homework, a quiz, or a test, should be copied neatly onto a new piece of paper, and put aside for a day or two before being solved again. When you sit down to solve it again, pay careful attention to how you feeling while you are working, to the pace of your work, and to your train of thought. Are you feeling frustrated or hesitating anywhere during the problem? Are you uncertain about which step to take next at any point? Do you have any doubt that your answer is correct before you compare it to the known correct answer? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then copy the problem onto a fresh piece of paper again, and put it aside for a day or two… then repeat.
Continue reading Lost points on a problem? What to do…
1) For the SAT, I prefer the study guide and practice tests published by The College Board (it can be found at Amazon: The Official SAT Study Guide (2016 Edition)) as it contains good scoring guides and is published by the authors of the test. The College Board is now also providing on-line practice test resources, as well as an app for your phone which provides daily practice problems.
2) Most formulas needed to answer SAT questions will be given at the start of the test section. Overall, it is more important to know how to use a formula than it is to memorize it. In studying for the SAT, focus on understanding the mathematics instead of memorizing facts or formulas.
3) Always time yourself when taking a practice test. This will help you develop a sense of when it is time to move on to the next question without having to look at a clock.
Continue reading Getting the most out of standardized test (SAT, ACT) practice books
Never solve math homework problems on the piece of paper you intend to hand in (unless it is a problem that is very, very easy for you).
I used to do my work on the same piece of paper I intended to hand in, and when I encountered a problem I was uncertain about… I froze. I did not dare write anything incorrect on the page I was going to hand in. If I did, I might have to recopy all my work in order to end up with a neat-looking page to hand in. So, I would just skip the problem, telling myself I would ask the teacher about it in class next time. The result was that I greatly slowed my learning how to do that type of problem.
I now know that if I figure out how to do a problem all by myself, I will remember how to solve it for years. But, if I ask someone else how to do a problem I was struggling with, I will probably forget their solution within minutes. So, if my goal is to do well on a final exam a few months from now, I am better off trying to figure the problem out by myself.
Continue reading Improve Your Math Grade: Use Scrap Paper