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The end of the school year is coming. The cumulative math final looms on the horizon. It could cover any of the concepts covered in class this semester. To boost your odds of getting an “A” on a big test, a study strategy is key. You will need to get started one to three weeks in advance, depending on your level of mastery of the course material and your other obligations.
Use this guide to set up a winning study strategy.
Step 1. Gather information.
Collect all your quizzes and unit tests from the past semester. Analyze those tests. What problems did you get correct? Do you still remember how to do those types of problems? What happened on the ones you got wrong? Did you run out of time and/or neglect to double-check your calculations? Did you forget an important formula? Did you have trouble with a particular concept?
Time involved: 10-40 minutes
Step 2: Optimize your time.
With so much information to cover you will need a strategy. Use the information from step one to decide which topics need a quick review and which topics you never learned, or have forgotten. Plan about thirty minutes for each concept that you need to review. Plan several hours, or more, for concepts you didn’t master before. Schedule a tutor to help you learn those concepts.
Time involved: 10-40 minutes
Step 3: Create a plan.
Schedule reasonable study sessions starting one week, or more, before the final. Break the study sessions into several nights. Five one-hour study sessions is more effective and less stressful than one five-hour study session. The better you understood concepts throughout the trimester, or semester, the easier it will be to ace a cumulative exam.
Time involved: 30 minutes
Step 4: Communicate with your support system.
Here are sample support teams and how they might help.
· Teacher- Ask your teacher for extra study problems, help with a concept, or for you information about what will be on the exam.
· Mathnasium- Talk with us about how we can best help you prepare. Do you need extra time at the center? Do you want to discuss test-taking strategies? Do you need to request a particular instructor in advance?
· Parents- Tell them your study plans so they have realistic expectations. Studying for a math final is a great reason to ask for fewer chores!
· Friends- Explain to them that you need to focus and you will catch up with them when you aren’t studying. Put your phone in a different room or turn it off when you study.
· Coaches, Directors, and Leaders of Extra-Curricular activities- Request to be home by dinnertime. They won’t know your academic pressures unless you tell them. You will want adequate time for studying and resting.
· Study Buddy or Study Groups- The best study groups focus on studying. Friends often aren’t the best study partners because you get tempted to veer off task. Consider finding a partner who needs your help. Helping someone else understand a math concept cements it in your own brain. Just make sure they don’t take up all your time.
Time involved: 30-60 minutes
Step 5: Start studying.
Take a break every half hour or so to stretch and get your blood flowing. Short bursts of exercise, like running in place for five minutes, and eating healthy snacks will help keep your mind focused to study efficiently. Encourage yourself by checking off the topics on your study plan as you master them.
Time involved: one to five weeks
Step 6: Feel your best on test day.
Get plenty of rest the night before the test. Eat enough protein the day of the test so your brain gets the nutrients it needs.
Time involved: eight to nine hours for sleeping and half an hour for eating
Step 7: Feel proud.
If you took steps one through six, you should feel proud of your effort. Hard work takes time but it pays off. Make sure you come into Mathnasium to show us the test results. We love seeing success!
Time involved: Always
Mathnasium of Naperville feels honored to be part of your support team. Call us today to schedule some study sessions.
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