There are several ways to improve one’s study skills in mathematics. Below are those I consider important.

First, mathematics is different. Studying mathematics like one studies history will not work. Mathematics first must be thought through and understood, but then must be practiced. Well, to stop here would be problematic. Practice requires feedback, so practice the problems that have answers provided. Many teachers do not understand this and assign the problems without answers in the back of the book. So, the student works a problem, gets it wrong, and has no clue the problem is wrong. Repetition of this process reinforces the wrong technique. Knowing the problem was worked wrong, seeking information on how to correct the problem, and learning from one’s mistakes is important. Practice where answers can be checked.

Another stumbling block is lack of confidence, too often brought on by lack of success. Having a positive attitude is important, and the book goes into how a student might build confidence in mathematic. Simply put, success in a practice test after applying sufficient practice should make the student confident that the problems on the test can be just as skillfully handled.

One thing that is too infrequently emphasized is that complicated problems often utilize one or two concepts already mastered with just one added step. There is no need to memorize an entire process, simply understand the added step, why it works, and what to choose in getting there.

Another sticky point is application problems, which is what educators now call word problems. Here, looking for certain words can translate into addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or equality. But, even deeper are the ways the words are ordered or certain other words are included that imply parentheses.

Finally, a discussion on the use of a calculator should eliminate many careless and understanding the calculations errors.

## Comments

blackspanielgallery on 06/13/2015Many people are. I am a college professor who teaches math and saw what my students go through.

happynutritionist on 06/13/2015I am one of those that was very intimidated by math as a child, and as an adult, still count on my fingers sometimes :-)