How to Be Successful in Math


Here is a list of things you can do to be successful in an academic or university preparation math course.

    • Arrive on time for class prepared. For example, have a ruler, pencil, calculator and binder to record new concepts. 

    • Be well organized. Have a well-organized binder. Follow your teacher’s instruction in terms of how to organize your binder. An organized binder helps you quickly find work that you want to review for example. 

    • Aim for a mark of at least 70% in any math course. Seventy percent is the provincial standard. A student with 70 % in a prerequisite course can understand the course content at the next level. This means that excellent grades in Grade 12 math depend on high marks in earlier grades. So, you must aim high as early as Grade 9.

    • Attend class on a regular basis. Research proves that those students who attend class regularly from the first day have much greater success since learning mathematics is a step by step process. Every time you miss class, you miss important information which will make it hard for you to understand subsequent mathematical concepts. 

    • Be involved in the class. Math is not a spectator sport! Be an active listener, write good notes and record key examples which are being presented. Ask the teacher questions when you are unclear about concepts.

    • Take time to do your homework and do it on time. Mathematics can be a lot of fun when you understand it. When you are not keeping up with the class, it becomes more difficult to follow the teacher's explanation and to read the textbook. You should always try to do high quality work on all exercises.

    • Seek extra help. Sometimes, even when you attend class regularly, take careful notes, study your textbook and do all your homework, you may still not understand certain concepts. If this happens, see your teacher for extra help. 

    • Persevere. An interesting characteristic of learning mathematics is that at one moment you may be totally confused, and then suddenly you understand the material! Some mathematical concepts take time to understand and you might find that after a few days of working on exercises, they finally start to make sense. 

    • Tell yourself what you have learned. As you learn new concepts, identify what you have learned so that your confidence increases. Each mathematical concept you understand becomes another tool that you can use.

    • Regular day school math is taught longer as compared to math taught in night school, summer school or private school. Students are taught more over a semester in regular day school and have time to look at ideas more deeply compared to night school, summer school or private school. This is the recommended preparation if you are interested in pursuing a career with considerable mathematics. You will be better prepared to take math courses at the post-secondary level.

Some ideas presented here are from: www.smc.edu/AcademicPrograms/Mathematics/Pages/How-to-Succeed-in-Mathematics.aspx