Help in Studying for Math
Date: 08/17/99 at 23:54:57 From: Lisa Subject: Help in studying for math. Hi, My name is Lisa. I am currently enrolled in the 8th grade. I have almost always been smart in math, but recently within the past 2 years I have been doing terribly. I was wondering if you had any suggestions or comments that might help me out a little bit. Lisa
Date: 08/19/99 at 13:35:50 From: Doctor Jesse Subject: Re: Help in studying for math. Hi, Lisa. I'm very proud of you for taking a personal interest in improving your math grades. There is no doubt about it; math starts to get hard right around 7th and 8th grade, but you can do it. You just have to take it one homework assignment at a time. Here are some tips that might help you: - Ask a lot of questions. I know it can feel a little embarrassing sometimes, because asking a question means admitting that you don't understand something, but don't be embarrassed. Chances are that most of the class doesn't understand either, and that someone in the class is secretly thanking you for asking, so that they didn't have to. Sometimes when I feel too embarrassed to ask a question, I tell myself this: "It isn't my fault that I don't understand it; it's the teacher's fault for not explaining it well enough." And then I go ahead and ask that question. Keep asking questions until you get it... Later, you'll be glad you did. - Don't fall behind in class! In math, especially in algebra, the lessons build on top of one another, so that if you sleep through September, you might be in real trouble come October... Try to be disciplined about doing your math homework, and pay attention in class. If you make a habit of these things, the class will seem generally easier. - Get a "study buddy." Find someone in the class who cares as much about doing well in the class as you do. Make a habit of getting together to do your homework, or talking about the homework on the phone. Math can seem much less scary when you don't have to go it alone. In fact, when you and a friend are working together to solve problems, it can be kind of fun. - Find an after-school tutor. This can be a paid tutor, or maybe some friend or family member who knows algebra fairly well. Don't wait until you are getting failing grades to find a tutor, but find one at the first sign of trouble. Many schools have a tutoring system in place, so ask your teacher about it. Some teachers will give out their home phone numbers or emails so you can call or write them when you are having trouble with your homework. Don't be afraid to take advantage of any available help. - Prepare for tests. Make sure that you know what will be on each test, and practice those kinds of problems. Ask your teacher for a sample test. Study for the tests with your "study buddy." Get a good night's sleep before each test, too. - Stay calm. Many people suffer from "math anxiety," where just thinking about math gets them feeling underconfident and nervous. This makes them put off studying and homework until it is too late. Don't let the math scare you, or make you feel bad. Math can be hard to learn, but you can do it. I hope those tips help you! There are also lots of good online resources, too. A great place to start looking is the Dr. Math FAQ: http://mathforum.org/dr.math/faq/ or you might want to look in the Dr. Math archives, which can be found from: http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ Good luck, Lisa, and please write us back if we can help you some more. - Doctor Jesse, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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