16 Tips on How to ACE Your Math Final
It’s May and as the temperature rises, the final days of the school year are approaching. That can mean only one thing. Finals are right around the corner. It might be tough right now after giving it your all during the school year, but you need to push yourself and right now do a couple of really important steps.
Get your math notebook in order. This does not mean it is a mess, but there are probably a lot of papers in there from the entire school year. This may sound crazy, remove any homework or handouts and put them in a separate folder. You won’t probably need them right now. The homework will not be quite as useful. Keep any quizzes or exams you have taken. I’d concentrate on the tests.
Now it’s time for some quick study tips before you ever really study. Take your old quizzes and tests and go through them with a highlighter. I want you to mark anything that you missed. Do this for even the shortest quizzes and the longest exam.
On clean paper, I want you to write out each question that you got wrong with no work on the clean paper, even if you fixed it.
Now I want you to find out where those missed problems were in your text book. Look at the top of the old quiz or test to help you find which chapter it is out of. Then next to each problem, write the chapter, section number and page. Ex: 3-2, page 143. Do this for all of the questions form all quizzes and exams. We’ll come back to this in a minute.
As the final draws nearer, check to see if the teacher is going to give you a study packet for the final. If yes, then you can wait for that. If no, it’s going to be even more important to stay organized for the studying session.
In either case, the earlier you begin to study, the better. The best way to study is with those questions I asked you to write out on clean paper.
First, I want you to go through those problems WITHOUT looking at any book or notes or homework. If you don’t know one, don’t get upset, that’s why we are doing this in the first place. Do as many as you can.
Next, I want you to check your answers from your old quizzes and tests and see if you are correct. (I’m assuming you had done test corrections when you took them.) If you got them right, I want you to mark that, like a happy face or something fun.
If you got any wrong, I want you to go to the old quizzes and tests and see how you did them correctly.
Now I want you to go back to the attempted problem and look up the section number and page number of that concept you missed. I want you to write out 3 similar ODD numbered problems and write those out on a clean paper. Label the top with the section number and page number. Do this for any and all problems missed.
Now that you’ve seen how to do them and looked in the book, try the 3 problems you wrote down. Do not look at any old work or exams. After you finish these, look up the answer in the back of the textbook (every textbook has answers in the back for the ODDS)
Again if you got them correct, happy faces all around. If not, I want you to go back to the book and see if you can figure out how to do them correctly. If you can’t figure it out, take it to class and ask someone how to do it.
Then I want you to write down 3 more ODD problems from that section. Keep doing these problems until it is very EASY to know what to do. This will really cement the correct way of doing these problems when it’s time to take the final.
When the Study Packet comes out for the final, approach things the same way. Do all the problems you can without asking or looking up how to do it. Then go and try anything you didn’t get quickly. If you are still stumped, mark or highlight the problem. Do this for everything in the review packet.
Complete the review packet all the way, getting all the work and full solutions correct. This will now become your KEY.
Go through the problems you had trouble with and repeat what we did with the incorrect problems on your exams. Put them on a clean paper, mark section and page. Go through all the steps.
This may seem like a lot of work to prepare for a final. But, in my 30 year teaching experience, I know that students that take the time and effort to really learn from their mistakes and practice until it is easy, do the very best on the test and with the least anxiety on the final.
You, too can prepare like crazy, study even harder, and conquer your final. Now go show what you really know how to do on the final. Go get ‘em!
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