Tips for achieving success in math

Most students begin the school year with the best of intentions. They are determined to keep up with their homework assignments and do well on quizzes and tests for the sake of their own success and to make their parents proud. However as the year progresses, students often fall into old habits and begin to be more lax about their studies. Consequently their grades suffer to the point where many do not even earn a passing score for the class.

The following is a list of suggestions to students who wish to succeed in their math studies throughout the year.

  1. Come to class on time and every day: This is critical, as new material is covered in class almost every day. The number one cause for failure in school is irregular attendance. If you attend irregularly, you have little chance of success.
  2. Keep up with your homework: This cannot be emphasized enough. Mathematics is a hierarchical subject. You cannot understand this week's material unless you understand last week's (or last month's) material. If you do not do homework regularly, at some point you will find yourself hopelessly behind! Homework is assigned to give students a chance to practice what they learned in class. Your teacher only assigns enough HW to ensure that you get adequate practice with all question types. Like any sport or musical instrument, the way you improve your skills is by practicing.
  3. If you have problems, see your teacher: Believe it or not, most of us are pretty nice people. We want to get to know our students and we are willing to help.
  4. Take advantage of math tutoring: If you are struggling with certain topics, attend a couple of tutoring sessions after school or during lunch-and-learn. Many students choose to do their homework during after-school tutoring so that they have one less assignment to complete when they get home.
  5. Pay attention in class: Students often get distracted or begin thinking about their weekend plans in class. Instead, try to focus on what is being taught. Listen to questions being asked by other students and by your teacher.
  6. Participate: Come to the board and volunteer to do problems. This gets you involved in more engaged in the math.
  7. Ask Questions: This is critical. Don't wait until a few days before your exam to ask questions. And if you're too shy to ask questions in class, ask your teacher during lunch or SOS.

Finally, please understand that your success or lack thereof is your responsibility. Every one of the items above is under your control. You should not expect any special consideration from your teacher if you have missed classes, not done homework, or not put in a sufficient amount of time in your studies.

On the other hand, we understand that there are situations in which students are forced to miss classes, sometimes for an extended period of time, through no fault of their own. In these cases, you should try to stay in touch with your teacher through e-mail or some other means. There is no question that such absences will make your academic life more difficult, but, especially if you have demonstrated a sense of responsibility, your teacher will try to help you through these periods.

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