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Study Skills - The First Ten

Most of us are familiar with the Ten Commandments.  I am NOT Moses, but I do have ten good study tips for when it comes to studying mathematics.  Read them over carefully as some of them might surprise you.  Feel free to copy these and hand them out to your students before the next big math test.  That's what I did with my remedial math college students, and I was surprised at how positively they responded.

1)      Notes: Organize them and make sure you are not missing anything.
2)      Instructor: What did your teacher tell you to study?
3)      You: Study in a way that works best for you (ex. place and times).

4)      Friends: If you stay on track, studying with friends can help.  Quiz each other, and everyone can explain what they know. 
5)      Tricks: Use methods such as mnemonic to help memorize blocks of information.
6)      Do It Now: No one wants to fail, go to summer school or take the class again.  Work now so you do not have to pay later.

7)      Breaks: Take regular breaks while you study and do not stay up all night.  Lack of sleep will make it hard for you to focus and do your best.

8)      Eat: Eat a good breakfast or lunch before the test.  Not only will a growling stomach interfere with your concentration, but your brain will not function at its best ability when it needs energy.  (Note: Research has shown that eating peppermints will help you to remember what you study!)

9)      Avoid Caffeine: Coffee or coke may give you a quick alert boost, but you will rebound and lose steam.  Drink water; it keeps you hydrated.  (This is a hard one for me.  I am pretty wicked without my morning cup of Java!)

10)  Needs:  Take what you need to the exam or test.  Think ahead.  Do you need a ruler, a calculator, paper, etc.?
Now have your students go back and highlight the study tips they are already doing.  Then ask them to draw a star beside the one they want to work on before the next test.  If you have your students do this activity, I believe you'll find it to be a positive beginning on how to study math.

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