It's really no secret that many people are averse to mathematics. "Believe it or not, lots of people change their majors and abandon their dreams just to avoid a couple of math classes in college," says math writer and former Wonder Years star Danica McKellar. While the hands-off approach of college professors can be daunting, you needn't take such drastic measures to get on top of your math studies. Just follow these four college math tips!
1. Avoid Solution Manuals
|Image via Flickr by Tim Geers|
Many math students mistakenly believe learning the solution is the most important goal when faced with any math problem. However, it's much more important to learn the concept. While solution manuals can sometimes help math students understand their coursework, all too often, they become crutches. It's far easier to abandon a problem when you already know the answer.
The best college math students persevere when faced with challenging problems. They revisit these problems over time, returning to them time and time again so they can see them with fresh eyes. If they're stumped, they seek help from a friend or lecturer that can work through the problem with them. This technique is much more effective than seeing a solution in isolation.
2. Revisit the SATsYou might have been happy to leave your SATs behind, but the math portion is worth revisiting if you're struggling with college math. SAT math should be more approachable than your college classes, so looking at it again can help you regain your confidence.
It'll also give you a refresher course in the foundations of your current courses. Reminding yourself of the basic principles through past papers and SAT math study guides will help you excel in your college math classes. Reading through your old high school math textbooks and notes is also a valuable exercise for any college math student.
3. Don't Let Yourself Fall BehindMath can be thought of like the building blocks you played with as a child. You start at the bottom and work your way up to build something great. However if you miss those foundation blocks, it won't take long before your structure topples. So it's essential to attend all the lectures you can to ensure there's no holes in your learning.
Should circumstances keep you from your classes, make sure you fill the gaps by speaking to your lecturer and obtaining any material covered. Research shows students that miss lectures receive lower grades. Maintaining good attendance records is one of the easiest ways to improve your math grades.
4. Study HardThe transition from high school to college can be a difficult one for many students. They enjoyed the hand-holding of their high school teachers, and struggle with lecturers who seem to care little whether they pass or fail. The truth is, if you're going to succeed in college, you need to take charge of your own education.
Experts suggest that math students should spend three hours working problems and studying math material for every one they spend in the classroom. That might seem excessive, but it will make you familiar with the concepts and methods you must master to succeed.
It is challenging to become as self-reliant as your college math professors want you to be, but these college math tips will help you get there.