Math Study Skills & Alg Review
Math Study Skills & Alg Review MATH 0900
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This 41 page Class Notes was uploaded by Mrs. Dangelo Fahey on Sunday October 25, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to MATH 0900 at University of North Carolina - Charlotte taught by Debra Shafer in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see /class/228909/math-0900-university-of-north-carolina-charlotte in Mathematics (M) at University of North Carolina - Charlotte.
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M ath Study 0 for 1 college students What you need for success in mathematics Table of Contents Introduction 2 Learning Styles Inventory 4 Math Study Skills Inventory 6 Unit 1 Getting OrganizedManaging Your Time 8 Unit 2 Becoming an Active Learner 11 Unit 3 Studying Math 14 Unit 4 Taking Notes 17 Unit 5 Solving Problems 21 Unit 6 Reading Mathematics 24 Unit 7 Listening 28 Unit 8 Coping with Stress 31 Unit 9 Taking a Math Test 34 Unit 10 Taking Math 1100 or 1103 39 Introduction What is Study Studying means learning Learning often involves listening reading watching and writing It always involves thinking You study more than realize You can study sports by watching a game or study clothes by shopping You can also study other people What are Study Skills Study skills are ways or methods of learning These skills can help you organize your learning so that you can learn better Often study skills can save you time When you learn math study skills you find out how to learn math more effectively You ll become an independent learner and problem solver An independent learner knows which questions to ask and how to find the answers to those questions How is Math Di erent from Other Subjects 0 Math requires different study processes In other courses you learn and understand the material but you seldom have to actually apply it You have to do the problems Math is a linear learning process What is used one day is used the next and so forth In history you can learn chapter 2 and not 3 and do ok on chapter 4 In math you must understand the material in chapter 1 before you go on to chapter 2 Math is much like a foreign language It must be practiced every day and often the vocabulary is unfamiliar Math in the university is different from math in high school Instead of going to class everyday in college you go only two or three times a week What took a year to learn in high school is now covered in only fifteen weeks Mathematics How do I Learn It 0 Learning math is exactly like learning a sport Regular practice 0 Math has nothing to do with smarts and everything to do with practice 0 Do the homework even if you don t have to turn it in o Read your math book very carefully Don t try speedreading or skimming 0 Stop at a new concept Write it down Puzzle it out 0 Don t be surprised if you don t get a new concept after two or three readings Hey it s new 0 Schedule time to look over your class notes every day 0 Make notes on any new concepts and formulas you just learned 0 Write down any concepts your instructor puts on the board You ll need to know these for the test 0 If your instructor gives you problems to solve look back over your notes 0 Ask yourself which concepts rules or formulas were covered in class Will any of them help solve this problem 0 Make up your own practice test from your notes 0 If you get lost don t wait Immediately ask your instructor for help 0 Put together a study buddy group I Get together once a week for a mathpizza party Do the problems together and then reward yourself with pizza I Use an empty classroom if possible What is your personal learning style A learning style is the way in which one processes new information Knowing your learning style can help you make choices in the way you focus on and study new material Below are fteen statements that will help you assess your learning style After reading each statement rate your response to the statement using the scale below There are no right or wrong answers 3 Often applies 2 Sometimes applies 1 Never or almost never applies l I remember information better if I write it down or draw a picture of it 2 I remember things better when I hear them instead of just reading or seeing them 3 When I receive something that has to be assembled I just start doing it I don t read he directions 4 If I am taking a test I can see the page of text or lecture notes where the answer is located 5 I would rather the professor explain a graph chart or diagram to me instead of just showing it to me 6 When learning new things I want to do it rather than hear about it 7 I would rather the instructor write the information on the board or overhead instead of just lecturing 8 I would rather listen to a book on tape than read it 9 I enjoy making things putting things together and working with my hands 10 I am able to conceptualize quickly and visualize information 11 I learn best by hearing words 12 I have been called hyperactive by my parents spouse partner or professor 13 I have no trouble reading maps charts or diagrams 14 I can usually pick up on small sounds like bells crickets frogs or distant sounds like train whistles 15 I use my hands and gesture a lot whenI speak to others Write your score for each statement beside the appropriate statement number below Then add the scores in each column to get a total score for that column 1 7 27 3 7 4 7 5 7 6 7 7 7 8 7 9 7 107 117 127 13 14 15 Visual Au ditory a a a T i I Tactile The largest total of the three columns indicates your dominant learning style Visual learners learn by seeing If this is your dominant learning style then you should focus on study strategies that involve seeing Draw lots of diagrams arrows and pictures in your notes to help you see what is happening Reading your notes study sheets and text repeatedly will be an important strategy Auditory learners learn best by hearing If this is your dominant learning style then you should use study strategies that involve hearing Bring a tape recorder to class to record the discussion When you study your notes play back the tape Also when you learn rules say the rule over and over As you work problems say the rule before you do the problem You may also nd the videotapes bene cial in that you can hear explanations of problems taken from the text Tactile learners learn best by touching or doing If this is your dominant learning style you should use study strategies that involve doing Doing lots of practice problems will be important Make use of the margin exercises Writing our your study sheets and doing your practice tests repeatedly will be important strategies for you Rate your achievement of the following statements by placing a 3 for almost always 2 for sometimes and 1 for almost never Put a 0 is you have never even thought about doing what is in the statement before Selecting a math class 1 I schedule my math class at a time when I am mentally sha1p 2 When I register for a math class I choose the best instructor for me 3 If I have a choice I select a math class that meets three or four days a week instead of one or two I schedule the next math class as soon as possible after I have completed the current course 5 I am sure that I have signed up for the correct level math course 4 Time and place for studying math 6 I study math every day 7 I try to get my math homework immediately after math class 8 I have a speci c time to study math 9 I have a speci c place with few distractions to study math 10 I get my math homework in the lab where I can get help 11 I am careful to keep up to date with math homework 12 I study math at least 8 to 10 hours a week Study strategies for math class 13 I read my textbook before I come to class 14 If I have trouble understanding the text I find an alternate text 15 I take notes in math class 16 I am careful to copy all the steps of math problems in my notes 17 I ask questions when I am confused 18 I go to the instructor or lab when I am confused 19 I try to determine exactly when I get confused and exactly what confused me 20 I review my notes and text before beginning homework 2 l I work problems until I understand them not just until I get the right answer for homework 22 I use ashcards for formulas and vocabulary 23 I develop memory techniques to remember math concepts Math tests 24 I preview the test before I begin 25 Before I begin the test I make notes on things such as formulas that I might need 26 I begin with the easy questions first 27 I take the full amount of time allotted for the test 28 I carefully check or rework as many problems that I have time to before I turn in my test 29 When tests are returned I keep a log of the types of mistakes I make concept errors application errors or careless errors 30 71 keep up to date so that I don t have to cram the night before a test Anxiety 3 l I believe that I can succeed in math class 32 I have study partners in my math class 33 I take practice tests 34 I know several good relaxation techniques TOTAL SCORE Scoring Total the scores from all 34 statements If your score is 90 103 give yourself an A You are using the study skills you need in order to be successful in math If your score is 80 89 give yourself a B You are using good math study skills Choose a few strategies to work on each day and you are well on you way to an A If your score is 70 79 give yourself a C Your study skills are average If you want an A choose one or two strategies in each category to work on until you are using most of the strategies described above If you score is below 70 you are probably having a difficult time in math class Math may not be your trouble More than likely you main problem is the study strategies you are using or not using Make yourself do the things on the list above Unit One Getting Organized Managing Your Time Questions to ask yourself Am I spending enough time studying or too much Have I reasonably planned the use of my time each week Is my private study time being used effectively Does my concentration wander too much when I am studying Do I often put off studying and do other things instead Is there too much noise where I work Are there too many distractions or interruptions where I work Is the place where I work uncomfortable Do I have everything I need at my place of work xxxxxxxxx At UNCC you are moving into a new learning environment You will need to get an early start on organizing your time You will have a number of things competing for your time Study attending classes doing homework private study domestic needs eating phoning home sleeping leisure activities visiting with friends sporting activities exercising You should draw up a timetable for a normal week during the first couple of weeks of the term Some of these times will be fixed and mandatory such as lectures and rehearsals Other times will be more exible like study time and social time Plan your periods of study time when you feel at your best and able to concentrate This may depend on your biological clock Some people are awake and raring to go at the crack of dawn Others are at their best in the late evening when things are quiet Make sure that you schedule time for doing homework as well as time for just reviewing lecture notes The type of environment you work best in will depend on you Some prefer to work alone and others prefer to work with others Some prefer to work in silence and others with music playing in the background You should experiment to find out which suits you best If you are living with others it is often useful to have a friendly discussion about work needs in terms of noise and interruption You may find that you work best in the library where you will not be disturbed Prepare for class To do this you need to do your homework If you have difficulty with the homework or some of the concepts write down questions to ask your instructor If you were given a reading assignment read the appropriate material carefully before class If you were not given a reading assignment spend a few minutes previewing any new material in the textbook before class At this point you don t have to understand everything you read Just get a feeling for the definitions and concepts that will be discussed This quick preview will help you understand what your instructor is explaining during class Time Management 0 Attend class every day If an emergency arises and you cannot attend a class find out what assignment was given during that class 0 Schedule two hours of study time for each hour spent in class 0 Complete a weekly schedule that organizes all of your activities and provides adequate study time 0 Stick to your schedule 0 Keep an actual log of study time K Unit Two Becoming an Active Learner Questions to ask yourself Am I missing class If so why Do I find that the lecture has sometimes started whenl get there Canl hear and see clearly in the lectures Do I find thatl have forgotten to bring something important to the lecture Have I attempted all of the homework required for the class Am I asking questions during class or do I sometimes feel I wish I had asked Do I know when and where my instructor has office hours Am 1 part of a study group Take responsibility for studying recognizing what you do and don t know and knowing how to get your instructor to help you with what you don t know An Active learner is always prepared for the class They are on time and have looked over the material that is to be presented Make a list of the things that give you problems so that you can ask questions Ask questions in class There are usually other students wanting to know the answers to the same questions you have Focus in on what exactly is causing you problems Don t tell your instructor that you don t understand problem 15 for example Be more specific Tell the instructor that you don t understand what happened in the second step or that you don t know where the 2x went Ask questions during office hours The instructor will be pleased to see that you are interested and you are actively helping yourself Have your questions ready Don t expect the instructor to reiterate the past three lectures in a way you will be able to understand This is a time for the student to focus in on what exactly is causing them problems not to catch up on missed classes Tips for getting help when you need it are given on the reverse of this sheet Get help from other students Your fellow students in the course might be having difficulties too but these may be different difficulties Together you might be able to overcome the various difficulties by working in a small group You can discuss key ideas and concepts and work through problems together This is often useful provided everybody contributes Meet once or twice a week You may also use the phone Go over problems you ve had trouble with Either someone else in the group will help you or you will discover you re all stuck on the same problems Then it s time to get help from your instructor Tips on how to work with others are on the reverse of this sheet Be an active participant in the classroom Get ahead in the book39 try to work some of the problems before they are covered in class Be familiar with the material that is to be presented You would never start out on a trip across country without looking first at a map to get an idea of where you were going Working With Others 9 000 0 Become part of a study group and be an active participant I Get the telephone numbers of the other group members for support help and information concerning the class Be willing to listen to explanations and solutions given by others Ask questions to insure understanding Find a meeting place to work together outside of class Work examples in the book together I Be willing to explain concepts and procedures to others If a study group is not feasible nd one study partner in class Write out procedures in your own words Correct every mistake that you made when a test is returned this is a good group activity Compare and contrast solutions to test problems If need be see your instructor for help with this also Create your own problems similar to those in the text then exchange with someone else Getting Help When You Need It 0 O O O O 9 Write down questions while reading and doing homework Take advantage of the instructor s office hours I Office I Ext I Monday I Tuesday I Wednesday I Thursday I Friday Make an appointment to see the instructor if you need extra help and you can not come during posted office hours Bring your incorrect work with you so that your instructor can nd and correct your mistakes Do not erase the mistakes or throw these papers away Use the tutoring services provided by the college I Where I When Seek help before the next class meeting if all problems of a particular type are giving you difficulty Work with others in study groups outside of class 13 Unit Three Studying Math Questions to ask yourself Are my notes organized and dated Have I highlighted important problems and definitions Have I read over the notes given in class Have I reworked the examples given in class Have I read the sections from the text that were covered in class Have I reworked the examples given in the text Have I read ahead in the text Do I know who to ask if I have questions xxxxxxxx Before you begin studying make sure that you have all the materials you need pencils highlighters calculator etc Math is learned by doing problems Do the homework The problems help you to learn the formulas and techniques you need to know Each class builds on the previous ones all semester long You must keep up with the instructor Attend class read the text and do homework every day Falling a day behind puts you at a disadvantage Falling a week behind puts you in deep trouble However because each class builds on the previous ones you are always reviewing previous material as you do new material Take as much time as you need to do all the homework and to get complete understanding of the material A good rule of thumb about math classes is to spend at least two hours of study time per class hour If you have a three credit hour math class spend at least six hours on studying during the week Do your homework as soon as possible so the material presented in class will be fresh in your mind Studying and doing homework shortly after learning the material improves retention and performance Mathematics cannot be learned by observation Attempt each problem even if you can t complete all of them You should at least try them so that you can locate exactly where it is you have difficulty Rework examples that are given in the text as well as the ones given by your instructor during class Cover up the solutions and work the problems yourself Check your work against the solutions given It is probably most effective to work for reasonably short concentrated blocks of time of say 30 to 45 minutes in between which you take short breaks Try to have some realistic goals for each study period You could set aside a slot during which you will review a particular lecture read a specific chapter of the book or complete a certain problem sheet Having achieved your goal reward yourself I ll do this one problem then I ll have a glass of cola Some students find making a checklist at the start of the session useful Tick of items as you achieve them Suggestions for Studying Math Reasons Why People Have 1 People don t try to understand they Math Anxiety just memorize 2 They are underprepared 7 MATH IS CUMULATIVE 1 Keep up review notes after class 2 Take good notesput everything from the board on paper HOW to Studv Math 3 Read the text if you don t understand get help 4 Get a study friend 5 Have a set time to get math homework Treat it as a scheduled class The math lab is a good place to do homework How to Study for Math 1 Start on Day One 7 do homework Exams 2 Memorize formulas 7 use ashcards 3 Rework problems that you missed on the homework I Read the full question 2 Analyze and compute 3 GivenFindNeed I What s given I 7 Math is Problem Solving 3311 i 2 2 39 4 Draw pictures 7 can simplify problem 5 Use a calculator 7 do calculations twice 6 Check your results 7 do the problem 16 Unit Four Taking Notes Questions to ask yourself Do I have all of the necessary materials Am 1 writing down all of the important facts and problems Am 1 writing down too much or too little Can I understand whatl have written in my notes whenl look back at them Are my notes neat and orderly or are they scattered all over the page In class take careful notes Write numbers and letters clearly so that you can read them later Make sure your x s do not look like y s and Vice versa It is not necessary to write down every word your instructor says Copy the major points and the examples that do not appear in the text Examples and definitions that are given in the text can be highlighted in the text for studying You should not be taking notes so frantically that you lose track of what your instructor is saying It is a mistake to believe that you can copy material in class without understanding it and then figure it out later It is helpful to number and date your notes You should also have headings and important definitions underlined and or highlighted Making an index would not be a bad idea It could help you when studying for a comprehensive exam Many students have found it helpful to take notes on looseleaf paper during the class period and then copy the notes into a spiral notebook later that day In this way you can reorganize the notes and highlight important content You will also be able to locate areas you thought you understood but don t This would be a great time to formulate questions to ask the instructor during the next class or during office hours Your notes should be organized It is difficult to review notes that are scattered over the page haphazardly Record notes on the righthand side of the paper When reviewing or rewriting the notes put key words on the left hand side of the paper Re ections and conclusions along with questions can be noted at the bottom of the paper Does the instructor allow you to bring a cassette tape recorder to lectures Listening to these later while reading through your notes could be helpful If you are enrolled in a course in which the content is technical and new to you it is probably a good idea to record the lectures You may find that the instructor said something important that you missed at the time Generally it is not a good idea to depend on the tape recorder as a substitute for note taking Several things mostly bad can happen if you do You may find yourself not listening to the lecture but allowing your mind to wander to other topics You may rationalize that the recorder is capturing the information so why bother to listen Of course you will lose all the nonverbal communication clues that the lecturer offers You will also lose the visual material as it is presented Key Words Lecture Notes lt gt 25 6 2 Re ections and Conclusions Preparing you notebook paper for note taking 19 NoteTaking and Note Using Skills O Take notes in outline form not in paragraph form 9 O O O O O 0 Use some type of notebook to keep notes together and in order Write problems along with the solutions Do not copy every example done in class Sit back and focus on the process Record page numbers and problem numbers of examples done from the textbook to help you coordinate your notes with the textbook Leave space for future comments or corrections It is useful to section the notebook page so that you will have room to make future comments corrections or explanations Rewrite your notes to help you review and organize the information Use an index card to record formulas and procedures that should be memorized Review these often Review your notes often Unit Five Solving Problems Questions to ask yourself Am I persistent when trying to solve problems Do I give up too easily If so what canl do about it Am 1 good at planning my approach to problems Am I sufficiently exible in approaching problems Do I make an effort to learn There are different types of problems The higher the math class the more types of problems you will see The different problem types are as follows Problems testing memorization Problems testing skills Problems requiring application of skills to familiar situations Problems requiring application of skills to unfamiliar situations you develop a strategy for a new problem type Problems requiring that you extend the skills or theory you know before applying them to an unfamiliar situation In Math 0900 you solve problems of types 1 2 and 3 By the time you get to Math 1100 you are expected to do mostly problems of types 2 and 3 and sometimes of type 4 The first and most important step in solving a problem is to understand the problem Identify exactly which quantity the problem is asking you to find or solve for Make sure you read the whole problem Make sure you understand any definitions symbols and technical terms used Make a list of the individual bits of information given Next you need to devise a plan Identify which skills and techniques you have learned can be applied to solve the problem at hand Draw a diagram if you can Have you seen a similar problem Trying some numerical examples may help you to see a general method or pattern Sometimes writing down an outline of the steps you think you will have to follow to produce a solution is helpful Carry out the plan In carrying out this plan it is important to check each step It is also important to monitor your mathematical activity Ask yourself why you have chosen this particular approach and why you think it is likely to lead to a solution Look back Does the answer you found seem reasonable Check the answer if you can Review the problem and method of solution so that you will be able to more easily recognize and solve a similar problem Working the problem another way to give an independent check pays dividends ProblemSolving Strategies Use one or more variables 0 Solve a simpler related Complete a table problem Draw a diagram Work backwards Use reasoning Solve an equation Look for a formula Look for a pattern Make a list Guess and test ProblemSolving Skills 9 O O O O O O O O 9 Try to keep a positive mental attitude toward problem solving If you think you can or think you can t you re probably right Read problems more than once if necessary and restate in your own words Write down all information from the problem and the question to be answered Don t jump in and try to solve problems until you have thought about your approach Make drawing lists charts or use other strategies to help gain a better understanding of a problem Take a break when stuck If an incorrect answer is reached learn from the mistake I Was it a mechanical error I Should the approach be modified If you have no idea where to begin try something even if you are not sure where it will lead Check answer for reasonableness Does it make sense in the context of the problem After solving problems pay attention to the strategies that you have used I What strategies do you use more easily I What strategies should you try to use more often Unit Six Reading Mathematics Questions to ask yourself Am 1 reading the text too quickly Do I really understand what I have just read Canl find an example like the one I am having problems with Am 1 reading a section in advance of a class in order thatl will understand the lecture better when it comes Mathematics textbooks are not like novels or the Sunday papers In most cases a superficial read will not achieve a great deal except perhaps to give an overview of what the subject consists of Math texts should be read slowly and carefully word by word If you don t understand what you are reading reread the material When you come across a mathematical term that you don t understand look it s meaning up in the glossary or index provided in the text or look it s meaning up in the dictionary If you have joined a study group or have a study buddy you have someone else that can help you Ask them about the term If you come across a mathematical symbol that you do not understand look to see if the textbook has a list of symbols in the back It is the details which are important and so the part of the book which you are studying at any given time needs to be read actively You should be working through the material making notes rather than just passively reading the symbols on the page Where there are calculations you should try to work them through yourself and then check them with the book to give you confidence When you come across a new concept or definition you may wish to highlight or underline it so that it stands out Making a ash card is also a good idea Then it will be easier to find later First write down the term or symbol Write its definition Then give an example of the term or symbol and using your own words tell yourself what it means Below is an example of a ash card Integers De nition the set consisting of the whole numbers and their opposites Example 6 5 0 My words positive and negative numbers and zero The advantage in using a textbook is that your learning is not dictated by the pace of the instructor You are free to very the pace at which you progress What you read should supplement what the instructor has said in the classroom This should reinforce the topic and make retention of the material easier Answers in the back of the book are there to help you check your work They are not there as a substitute for trying problems yourself Simply reading through a worked example or a printed solution to a problem will not achieve nearly as much as your constructing a solution for yourself Remember that books sometimes have mistakes and so if you and your friends think there is an error ask your instructor Don t be afraid to make the corrections in the book There will often be more material in a textbook than is in the syllabus for the course This enables you to get some idea about how the subject progresses further or perhaps to give you ideas for projects you may want to undertake later in the course First year textbooks are often useful in later courses where the instructors expect you to know material which you may have forgotten but which you can review from the book The text in Math 0900 may be very helpful in Math 1100 or 1103 It will give you extra examples and possibly explain the content in a different way The text in Math 0900 is also organized in a very helpful way The reading is divided into parts A B C etc The exercises are also divided into parts A B C etc If you need an explanation or example of something that is in the B part in the exercises you only need to refer to the B part in the reading Many times it s the directions that give you problems How many times have you read the directions in a book or on a test and didn t know what they wanted you to do This organization tells you where to go to get an example or what the directions mean O O O O O O 0 Tips for Reading 21 Mathematics Textbook Familiarize yourself with the unique features of your text and use them to your advantage I Definitions I Examples I Explanations I Chapter and Cumulative Reviews I WarmUps Read slowly and carefully A mathematics textbook does not read like a novel Highlight or underline important material When reading the textbook before class discussion check understanding by solving each example on a separate piece of paper and comparing it to the solution in the text Place an index card over the book s solution and identify reasoning for each part of the solution When reading the textbook after class discussion review material and check for consistency with class notes and for understanding of previously misunderstood material Learn to use the index to help find definitions and explanations Consult other books for more examples or further explanations Unit Seven Listening Questions to ask yourself Am I making eye contact with my instructor or am I looking down or around Do I know what the instructor said and canI put it in my own words CanI pick out the important terms definitions and examples in order to write them down Can I make sense out of what I just heard CanI make connections between what I am hearing and whatI already know Have you ever heard the words someone has spoken and then realized that you don t know what that person had said This happens when we don t really listen Listening is more than just hearing Listening mean directing your attention to what you re hearing It also means knowing what you ve heard and trying to make sense of it Listening is a skill that we can learn We are not born as good listeners We need to learn how to listen well A good listener is an active listener An active listener hears words as they are spoken and thinks about what they mean An active listener hears the words that are spoken and thinks about what the instructor is saying and tries to make sense out of it While you listen ask yourself questions about what the instructor is saying 0 What is the instructor telling me o Is the instructor describing a procedure that I should follow 0 Is the instructor giving me directions 0 Is the instructor looking for information Try to connect what you are hearing with what you already know Try to listen between the lines That is try to figure out what the instructor is hinting at or saying indirectly Ask yourself How does what the instructor is saying fit into what I already know Ask yourself how what you already know fits in with what the instructor is saying When you are listening you can often learn what the instructor is saying by making a picture in your mind Visualization is often very helpful in problem solving Some people close their eyes to see pictures Others visualize with their eyes open You only need to see the picture in your mind for a few seconds to learn from it Think about how much listening you need to do in your math class For example you listen when your instructor presents a new idea or problem and explains it You listen when your classmates ask questions and answer problems You listen when your instructor assigns problems talks about an exam or gives an exam back and goes over it E Improve Your Listening Skills Look at the instructor as you listen If possible establish eye contact This will help you pay better attention to what the instructor is saying Take notes when you need to remember what is being said Write down any information diagrams and examples that will help you understand and recall If you have any questions about what the instructor is saying write them down Keep listening then ask your questions when the instructor is ready to answer them Unit Eight Coping with Stress Questions to ask yourself Do I panic a lot during exams Do I feel overwhelmed with stress and worry Am I managing stress ok Am I a bit too laid back about it all Have I prepared by studying throughout the term Do I feel reasonably confident about my ability Nobody can go through life without meeting stressful situations A healthy amount of stress associated with important occasions can motivate you and increase your concentration so that you perform well Continuous stress over long periods however is counterproductive and needs to be dealt with When preparing for examinations you will be under a certain amount of stress This is why relaxation is so important as a way of giving you stress free periods So don t give up whatever you normally do outside your academic work When you study for exams you must include periods free of work To keep your stress level down make sure you have periods of relaxation and sufficient sleep You need to be in good physical as well as mental condition to be able to concentrate and do your best Eating the right kinds of foods and getting enough exercise are also important components in being able to cope with stress successfully A diet high in protein first thing in the morning is a good way to activate your brain without being sluggish You will be alert and ready to learn Good study habits throughout the semester make it easier to study for tests Trying to cram your work into short periods of time as the exams come close is a bad approach To cram for a test will be difficult and stressful You know how you feel when you rush to get ready in the morning You don t feel prepared and you often forget things Studying a little every day throughout the term should help you to feel more confident with your knowledge and abilities thus easing the stress associated with test taking There is no right or wrong way to relax Seeing inner pictures can be a way of relaxation Being aware of your breathing following your breath coming in and going out can also help in stressful times Some students have even found something as simple as chewing gum to be relaxing For a few people the feeling of stress can be such that it seriously inhibits their ability to work effectively during examinations If that is the case then it is important to recognize these symptoms and seek advice from Student Support Services Techniques for Easing the Symptoms of Test Anxiety Before taking a test take several deep breaths Place your hands on your abdomen and feel it expanding as it fills with air Slowly exhale Sit quietly and just be aware of your breathing for a little while Don t try to control it Just be aware of your breath coming in and out Now imagine a peaceful scene that you like Try to see this scene as clearly as you can What do you see What do you hear Make this scene very very peaceful Put yourself there if you can Tell yourself that your are relaxed and ready Now gently open your eyes Tell yourself that these problems are just like the ones you have tried and are able to do Remember working on the problems during study time Remember how you felt when working these problems You did the problems during study time you can do them now Look over the entire test You will get a sense of its length and the type of questions it asks Do the problems in the order that suits you Start with the problems that you know for sure you can do Then try the problems you think you can figure out then finally try the ones you are least sure about Chew gum or suck on hard candy while you are taking the test Unit Nine Taking a Math Test Questions to ask yourself Do I plan a strategy for taking a test or do I just rush in Do I have all of the necessary materials whenI go in for a test Do I usually feel that I have performed near my best on an exam Just as it is important to think about how you spend your study time it is important to think about what strategies you will use when you take a test Good testtaking strategy can make a big difference to your grade Carefully write down any formulas or ideas that you need to remember before you begin the test It is then a good idea to skim the whole test quickly just to size it up Identify those problems you definitely know how to do and those you expect to spend more time with You should answer the questions in the order you want Why not do a few easy questions for starters This will help build up your confidence and you will not miss any sure points just because you run out of time Then try the problems you think you can figure out39 then finally try the ones you are least sure about Time is of the essence work as quickly and continuously as you can while still writing legibly and showing all your work If you get stuck on a problem move on to another one you can come back later Don t get bogged down with small bits of questions that might be worth only a few points39 you should move on and return to these later if you have time The most useful piece of advice for taking an exam is don t panic Try to relax and take control of your exam The exam will quite probably contain problems that unlike others you have seen however there will usually be some less surprising questions as well This is part of the nature of exams and you should not let yourself panic about it Take things calmly Examinations are not designed to be speed test and a couple of minutes here and there to think take stock and plan what to do next will often pay dividends Rushing and writing furiously whether it is right or wrong is a bad approach Do not leave the exam early in desperation If you have been working properly during the course it is likely that you will be able to answer further questions Take a short time to compose yourself and then continue Remember the advice about problem solving Make sure that you take time to check steps as you go along When you read a question decide the overall strategy maybe even jot it down on your scratch work If you do run out of time part way through a question spend the last couple of minutes writing down what you would have done if you had more time This can show that you knew how to do the question and may get some credit 1 Kinds of Questions Used Most Often Multiple Choice Matching Truefalse Free Response 0n Math Tests Read the question carefully See if you can figure out the answer before you look at the choices Then read all of the choices and pick the best one If you don t know which answer is right cross out all of the ones which you know are wrong Then pick the best answer from the remaining choices Read the directions carefully Use a process of elimination to match the items on the two lists Do the ones you know first Then do the best you can with the items left Read the question carefully If any part of the statement if false it s a false statement Watch for key words like always only all never often usually and none Think about what these words mean in the statement Show all of your work Partial credit could be awarded for work that you do correctly even though the final answer is incorrect or you don t finish the problem completely Organize your work on your paper as neatly as you can Use a pencil so you can erase Steps for Taking an Exam Make sure you get sufficient sleep the night before the test If you studied properly you should not have to stay up late preparing for a test Arrive at the exam site early so that you have a few minutes to relax before the exam If you rush into the exam you will start out nervous and anxious After you are given the exam you should do the following 99 99 O O O O 9 Carefully write down any formulas or ideas that you need to remember Look over the entire exam quickly to get an idea of its length Also make sure that no pages are missing Read the test directions carefully Read each question carefully Answer each question completely and make sure that you have answered the specific question asked Work the questions you understand best first39 then go back and work those you are not sure of Do not spend too much time on any one problem or you may not be able to complete the exam Be prepared to spend more time on problems worth more points Attempt each problem You may get at least partial credit even if you do not obtain the correct answer If you make no attempt at answering the question you will lose full credit Work carefully step by step Copy all signs and exponents correctly when working from step to step and make sure to copy the original question from the test correctly Write clearly so that your instructor can read your work If your instructor cannot read your work you may lose credit Also if your writing is not clear it is easy to make a mistake when working from one step to the next When appropriate make sure that your final answer stands out by placing a box around it If you have time check your work and your answers Do not be concerned if others finish the test before you or if you are the last to finish Use any extra time to check your work Stay calm when taking your test Do not get upset if you come across a problem you can t figure out right away Go on to something else and come back to that problem later Studying for Tests 9 99 O O O 9 Review notes frequently Do not wait until the end of the unit to begin reviewing Use note cards to review concepts that are especially difficult for you Use all resources to get a complete picture of what might be on the test I Complete chapter reviews and tests in the textbook I Review class notes and unit objectives to determine topics emphasized I Review homework Simulate a testtaking situation Take the Chapter Test or some other practice test in the amount of time that will be allowed in class Do not allow interruptions If you do not score at least 80 on the practice test you need to study more Get a good night s sleep the night before a test A clear mind is as important as a brilliant one Try to remain calm and maintain a positive mental attitude Taking Tests 99 O 99 0 Scan the entire test first Do those problems that appear easy first Go back to the harder ones later Problems that at first appear difficult may seem easier on the second reading Never leave a multiplechoice question blank unless you will be penalized for wrong answers Try to use process of elimination to narrow down your choices Do not be intimidated by classmates who leave the test session early Check your work if you have time The easier problems especially should be checked for computational errors miscopied numbers or any type of mechanical mistake Learn from your mistakes Do not throw out returned exams but correct every error then keep the test to prepare for the Final Exam Unit Ten Taking Math 1100 or 1103 Questions to ask yourself Did I keep the Math 0900 book for reference Did I sign up for the right section Do I plan to devote six hours outside of class to this course Do I have the study skills and habits thatl need O O O O 9 Math classes should be scheduled at a time when you are mentally sharp This is at different times for different people There are people who wake up fresh and ready to go Others can t think before ten in the morning Let your biological clock guide you as to the best time for you to take math Choose the best instructor for you if you can Talk to friends and find out what the different lecture styles are for the different instructors Select a section that meets three days a week instead of just two when ever possible These classes tend to move a little slower Having contact with the instructor three days as opposed to two is always a plus Schedule Math 1100 or 1103 as soon as possible after Math 0900 Math is a subject that you do not get better at with rest You tend to forget what you do not use Don t let a semester go by between your math classes Save the class notes and book from the Math 0900 class to refer to in college algebra or precalculus The text in Math 0900 is reader friendly This is not the case in all math texts If you do not understand a topic in college algebra or just need more examples the Math 0900 will help tremendously Reading back over the notes from a previous class will also help when trying to understand a topic Don t wait until it is too late to get help Make use of the instructor s office hours They will be glad to help as long as you have specific questions ready for them Don t however expect them to reteach a given assignment Tutoring is also available through the Learning Center The Learning Center is located on the third oor in the Fretwell Building It is always a good idea to have other students that are willing to get together and work once a week Many times you will be having problems on different topics You will be able to help each other If there is a topic that all of you are having trouble with ask the instructor for help
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