Studying for a Math Test

Do your students ever ask?  How can I study for this test?  You can't study for a math test can you?  You either know it or you don't...

Here are some tips that I give to my high school classes:

1)  Be Neat and Organized - If the teacher gives notes and examples on a specific topic copy them down or organize them in a binder or notebook.  It would probably be helpful to date them when you get them.  If you have a textbook that has section numbers, label your notes with the section numbers.

2) Review the vocabulary - I always tell my geometry class - I'm never going to ask you to define a word, but you have to know what the words mean to answer the questions.

3) Review examples - Surely the teacher has given some example of problems that will be on the test.  Go over them.

4)  DO examples -  One of the biggest messages I try to give my students is you have to DO PROBLEMS.  You can't just watch the teacher do them and you can't just look them over.  You have to try the problems yourself.  I suggest that they have their mom or dad rewrite some problems (that they have the answers to) on another sheet of paper.  Students should try to work the problems completely without looking at either the written out solution or the answer.  Only after they are finished should they check.  Incidentally, I feel that Task Cards with QR Codes can really help in this respect.  Students have the answers to the given problems, but they can't see the answers until they actually scan the code.  (See examples of my  QR Code Algebra Bundle here).

Then, when you get to the actual test...

4) Read directions - When you get the test, be sure you read the directions carefully.

5) Answer the Question That is Asked - Make sure you read each question carefully.  Answer the question that is being asked - not the one you assume is being asked.  For example, in geometry there is a quiz that I give that asks for the number of sides a polygon has if it contains 540 degrees.  Some students answer 5 and some answer pentagon.  It drives me nuts...

6) Don't Answer a Question that Isn't Asked - This one is mostly for my calculus class because they have to be really careful on the free response questions on the AP Exam.  If the test asks to tell where a function is increasing, don't tell where it is decreasing just increases you chances of making a mistake!

Have a great week!


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