Tips for Success in College Math
- A solution manual (or other help source) can be a crutch. Students must
address this weakness. A person cannot learn to play the piano by watching!
Suggestion - if you find you needed help to solve a problem, mark the problem
and return to it in a day or two. See if you can now work the problem on
your own. If you find you need help again, get the help. However, mark the
problem and return to it again. Continue this until you have mastered the
- Attendence records indicate that students who miss class generally
receive lower grades. Suggestion - ATTEND CLASS!
- Detailed class notes, especially if feeling lost during lecture, must
be taken (or downloaded if your instructor has them on the web). Review the
notes after class (before the next class period) to be sure you are ready for
any new material. If there are questions on the material covered in class,
get help (office hours or someone else) on understanding what was covered.
- Read and re-read notes. Think about what each example is asking in terms
of the concepts presented and why it is solved in a particular way. Instructors
tend to ask exam questions that will cover the same concept in a different way.
Therefore it is important to understand what is behind the question.
- For every hour spent in class, 3 hours outside clss should be spent
working problems and studying. The piano is learned by practicing daily,
not one evening before the recital.
- Practice positive self-talk about math - a positive attitude about the
subject helps studying which helps grades.
- Outside help is available through help session, weekly reviews and office
hours. Use these resources!
- Don't get behind! The classes all move at a fast pace and today's lecture
will likely build on the previous lecture. Even if you miss class you should
try to look at the material that was covered during the class you missed.
- A point is a point. Students often take homework and quiz points less
seriously than exam points. However, they are all added up at the end of the
semester and can make quite a difference (for better or for worse) in your
- Test taking is a skill. You should look through your entire exam and
work the questions you think are the easiest first. Then go back and work
the more difficult ones and skip those that you can't do. It is poor strategy
to run out of time when you have not had a chance to look at all the problems.
- Wishing that a bad test will go away doesn't work. If you do badly on
an exam you should not throw it away (tempting as that may be). You should
rework the exam and then go to your instructor's office and discuss the test
and what went wrong. Simply hoping that the next test will be better is
- Don't pin your hopes on the final. Miracles rarely happen on the final.
Rather the final is often a low grade due to stress and exhaustion. Be sure
your grade going into the final is strong enough to withstand a lower than
usual performance. However, occasionally a student studies hard enough for
the final that it does work to raise their grade.