How To Study For a Math Test

Doing well on a math test requires a whole lot of preparation leading up to the actual test. Ensuring that you attend classes, do your homework, and take practice tests may seem like lifestyle changes, but they will help you improve your test score results.

Attend Classes

It seems like a no-brainer, but if you miss classes leading up to a big test, you are likely going to miss out on valuable information covered by the teacher that will likely be on the test.

It is also very important to make sure that you pay attention to the subjects being taught in class. Remove any distracting personal belongings from your desk or work area – especially your phone. If you find that you have a tough time paying attention in class, move towards the front of the class, or ask your teacher if you can sit closer to the front of the classroom.

If you do need to miss a class for a legitimate reason, let your instructor know in advance and ask what topics you will be missing while you are gone. This will be time well spent as opposed to you reading through a textbook trying to figure out what information will be covered on your upcoming test.

Participate in Class

Being a good student doesn’t just mean showing up for class – you learn best by actively participating in the topics covered in the classroom. If you don’t understand a question, or know how the teacher got to the answer, raise your hand and ask. Odds are, most of the other students in the class need clarification as well. If you have a question but feel embarrassed to ask in front of the class, don’t keep it to yourself. Ask the teacher after class – you may also want to arrange a time with the teacher to see if they can help you work out the problem together.

Understand the Format of your Test

When preparing for an upcoming math test, it is critical to not only know the questions on the test but the structure and format of the test. This includes knowing:

  • Will there be a time limit? How much time do you have to answer each question on the test?
  • What is the structure of the test? Multiple choice? Written answers? A mixture of both?

Know if Calculators can be used

Some standardized tests allow the use of calculators for the math sections of their tests. You should know well ahead of time whether or not you will be able to use a calculator or not.

If you are allowed to use a calculator, be sure to check to make sure your calculator works well and that it has fresh batteries.

Take Practice Tests

By far, the most important way to prepare for an upcoming math test is to take practice tests.

It’s always a good idea to practice using practice questions that have the same format as what you will find on your math test. If the test will be taken using a computer, see if you are able to access online practice tests. If the test is multiple choice, try to practice using multiple choice questions.

It is also good to practice using a timer, or to take practice tests that have timers built into the test. This will give you a sense of how long it takes you to answer questions and if you are on track to finish the test on time.

Be Mentally and Physically Prepared

While it may sound obvious, many test takers do not do as well as they should on math tests simply because they are not physically prepared for the test. Before the test ensure that you:

1. Get a good night’s sleep

Studies show that sleep plays a big role in test scores – one study saw 10% higher test scores from students who slept at least seven hours before an exam. While it may be tempting to cram the night before the math test, you may be doing more harm than good if it affects your sleep schedule.

2. Eat a Well Balanced Meal

Eating well before your math test can make a huge difference. Trying to take a long test on an empty stomach can make you feel tired and distracted. Also make sure to eat something low in sugar, so you avoid any sort of sugar crash midway through the test. If you do not normally drink caffeinated beverages, it is best to avoid them altogether before the test.

3. Show up early for the test

If you are taking a standardized test in an unfamiliar location, it is best to plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the test. This will ensure that you have enough time to use the restroom, find your testing room, and feel relaxed and comfortable before the start of the test.

Even if you are taking the math test in a familiar classroom, it is best to show up as early as possible in order to have plenty of time to setup and review any last minute notes.

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