Maths is not like some subjects, where you can cram for a test in one night. With its unique characteristic of being objective, number and formula-based, the level of difficulty keeps increasing with each school year and concepts continue to be built upon. For students, reality often strikes during the transition from primary school to high school. However, with lots of practice, and through developing real understanding instead of just memorising before a test, kids can progress and achieve better results in high school maths.
Students often think by just reviewing notes they can study and revise maths effectively. According to Dr Rochelle Gutierrez, a professor at the University of Illinois, ‘Mathematics isn’t a noun, but a verb.’ It’s not something you know, but something you do, because when you practice maths, you learn it better.
5 Top Habits to Help you Study Maths in High School
Of course, there is no ideal way that works for every student. Instead, building the right habits when entering high school can be a game-changer.
Habit #1: Seek first to understand, then put the concept to use
Maths is a series of building blocks that start with simple concepts and grow to advanced levels in complexity and difficulty with each school year. Having a solid understanding of the principles can certainly help students in the long run, allowing for concepts to more easily be built upon and making it an enjoyable learning experience. This in turn can lead to students having an open mind and being curious when learning concepts, which helps not only with maths but also other subjects.
Habit #2: Both quantity and quality matter
Maths requires active learning. It is critical to set aside time to study maths, as students with the most practice generally achieve better results.
Students should not attempt to pack all their studying into one session. By practising Kaizen - the art of continuous improvement - students can achieve specific and reasonable goals with ease.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” Lao Tzu.
It is also important to pick times when students are most alert allowing them to concentrate on doing one thing while being less distracted.
However, if the quality of this practice is compromised then students may not achieve their potential. Students can begin with practice questions and progress into a more diverse range of examples, giving them exposure to all difficulty levels, from easy to challenging.
Habit #3: Stay consistent when studying for maths
Maths can be very cumulative and it’s easy to fall behind if you miss a lesson. It is important that students fully understand concepts so they can effectively apply this to example questions. If concepts are not fully learnt, then errors will continue to be made even with ongoing practice. An effective study plan can be created using - Harold Craxton’s formula: Don’t practise until you get it right; practise until you can’t get it wrong. Consistent practice helps ensure minimal gaps in their knowledge, leading to students solving maths problems faster, with a high level of accuracy.
Habit #4: Ask for help
When in doubt, never be afraid to ask questions, even the silly ones. If you have a problem you can’t fix, students must remember not to wait until the last minute to ask for help before it becomes too difficult to deal with. Whether it’s during class or right after, the more questions you ask, the clearer and more confident you are with the concepts.
Habit #5: Understand your mistakes and close any knowledge gaps
With maths, each topic or concept builds on what you already know. When students spot an obstacle, they must pause, correct, and understand their mistakes before moving on. Any knowledge gaps left unsolved during study, will cause trouble when expanding on a topic. Therefore, it is important to address mistakes and learn from them. An additional tip: Learn mathematical terminology along the way so it is not overwhelming when heard repeatedly.
Here’s how Mathnasium can help
Mathnasium has a team of maths-only specialists who provide one-on-one tailored tutoring services at their learning centres and online with Mathnasium@home. With a proven and time-tested approach to help kids understand maths so it makes sense. The Mathnasium Method has yielded positive results globally over the last 15+ years. Our tutors focus on explaining concepts, so students can effectively apply concepts, and solve problems faster and accurately.