Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Math Tips for Teens and Parents of Teens

Many students report trouble studying for a math exam. Studying math is a little different from studying history or a foreign language. All of your subjects are developmental. That means that concepts build in complexity and they refer back to previous concepts. If you do not understand and apply the earlier concepts, you are likely to have a harder time with the concepts introduced later. It is very helpful to have  step-by-step math software to help students internalize concepts.

Foreign languages are developmental as well. If you do not understand the first lessons in vocabulary, you will not be able to do the grammar well. For this reason, it is important that you understand the definitions of words introduced early in the course. You should also make sure that you understand words introduced later on.


1) If your teacher introduces a concept without offering definitions, ask him or her for a definition of the term he uses.

2) Write down the definition and keep it on a special card or in a list of definitions in that subject so you may study it for a test.

3) If you do not get a satisfactory answer, look it up yourself either in a college dictionary with specialized meanings (those further down in the definition which are marked by “sci.” or “math” to indicate their special use in these areas). Use the word in a sentence and see if it makes sense to you or to someone who knows the subject.

4) If you have trouble with a particular concept or with a set of homework examples, look back in your notes to see where the misunderstood word is. You will be surprised when you look it up and understand it because the subject will seem a lot easier to you.

5) Since math is developmental, it requires lots of practice to learn it. Involve your whole body – arms, legs, fingers, mouth and ears – if you have to- by writing, drawing, talking , singing and even dancing the work.. Use a special pad or notebook for this practice until you feel you have mastered the work.

6) Review the week’s work and make sure you understand all terms used; make sure that there are no words which have not been defined; learn all definitions presented in that time period.

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