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Study skills in math

  1. Nov 13, 2012 #1
    Up until recently I've always gotten high A:s in my math exams. The first test this semester I scored a perfect 100 % and then the second test plummeted to a 51 and just recently I got a 72.

    I'm studying the same way I always do. I feel confident about the material I even teach it to other people in my class in study groups. Come test day and somehow I just do terribly. This has knocked all the confidence out of me.

    When I study I look at our class notes and solve homework problems over and over.

    Like today. I went in there feeling confident, but a 70 min time limit is just kicking my ***. I know how to do all the problems but I have no time to check my arithmetic beause of the time limit. I'm so pissed off at my professor for making such hard exams and giving us such a short time frame.
    I know the material in and out and I can solve all the problems. It's not fair a ****ing time limit is setting me up for a C in this class. Pardon the French but I'm pissed off.

    Does anyone have experience with similar professors? I feel like I'm about to explode right now. I can't focus on my physics homework because this exam is pissing me off royally. I used to like this professor but she just pisses me off now.

    Almost forgot my question. How should I study for to become FASTER?!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2012 #2
    Welcome to college!!

    Seriously, these kind of tests happen all the time in college. And they should happen. It's not fair of you to blame your professor. If she's giving hard tests, then that is to prepare you better for the future. If you take the GRE, then you will have to solve a enormous load of question in a limited time. If you never had hard questions and fast tests, then chances are big that you absolutely bomb the GRE. That would be very bad for you. So don't blame your professor for preparing you for your future.

    Anyway, you got to find a new way of studying. If you have little time, then you will need to learn to manage your time optimally. For example, when you're given an exercise, you will need to know almost instantly how to solve it. To be able to get to this point, you will need to practice a lot.
    Also, you need to recognize which questions take up more time and which take up less. First do the easy questions that require little time and then do the hard ones. This is a simple trick that many people forget.
    If your problem is arithmetic, then you'll have to drill arithmetic. It's not fun, but it might be necessary. If you don't know formula's, then memorize them.
    Sometimes, calculations get better if you know tricks. For example, if you are required the find the minima and maxima of the function [itex]f(x)=\frac{\sin(x)\log(x)^2}{x^3}[/itex]. Then you might want to take logarithms which makes life a lot easier.
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