Are you struggling with Maths? Don’t worry. Help is here. Hannah breaks down 10 ways you can improve your Maths mark. Make sure you check it out because Maths is pretty important for university applications.
Whether you’re starting out in high school, or desperately studying for your preliminary mid-year exams, getting through Maths (especially in Matric) can be a daunting task. With some help, however, Maths can be a lot easier than you’ve ever imagined.
Here are 10 ways to improve your Maths mark.
1. Know the Techniques, Methods, and Formulae
OK, this might seem painfully obvious, but making sure that you’re well acquainted with the techniques, methods, and formulae is already a huge help.
The better you know the basics, the less work you have to try and figure out when you’re struggling with a specific problem – even when you don’t know exactly what to do. If you can apply the formula, you’re halfway there. Feeling confident with this also helps you to prevent the notorious ‘blanks’ that tend to hit on test day.
2. Make Friends with Maths
It may be a strange idea, but approaching your work with a positive attitude can make a world of a difference to your performance in the subject.
If you open your Maths book in a good headspace every time you study, you’re going to be far more productive. Make the conscious decision to learn and understand the work properly (as opposed to just learning it to pass the test). You never know, you might even surprise yourself and end up liking Maths.
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3. Keep Up with the Syllabus
Make sure you always know what’s going on in class and you understand the work. That’s not to say you have to understand it the first time you see it, but if you’re struggling with a concept, go home and go over it until you understand it.
You never want to be playing the catch-up-game the day before the test. Revising for tests should be just that, revising, not re-learning work you only half-understood when you learned it the first time.
Homework is the worst part of every student’s day. If you can’t sleep at school, why should you need to do school work at home? But homework is a very useful way to check that you’re comfortable with the concepts you have been covering in class and to establish a more permanent foundation for these concepts in your brain.
4. Ask for help – Not Only From Your Teacher
In Maths, there are so many different ways to explain different concepts, and in some ways will make more sense to you than others. So who do you ask, if not your teacher?
Ask your peers. Maybe there’s someone in your class who seems to be getting the work really easily – ask them what they do or what techniques they use to understand the work.
You can also ask other Maths teachers at your school, as they might have a different way of explaining a concept that you’re struggling with.
5. Go Further Than the Classroom
If you find that you’re paying attention in class and you’re doing all your work, but still not satisfied with your progress, don’t stop there. There are so many resources on the Internet to help you improve your Maths mark – more than you can imagine. So use them.
There are many written online tutorials and videos available. Youtube is a great tool for learning, so if you’re having trouble understanding a concept, you can often find many in-depth and clear explanatory videos there.
The best thing about learning something online is that you can go over the same concept as many times as you like in your own time until you feel comfortable with it.
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6. Practise, Practise, Practise
The advice every one of our Maths teachers gives us – and they’re right. Every Maths test you write is practical, so parrot-learning the theory isn’t the best strategy if you want to get really high marks.
The more you practice, the more concrete the concepts become in your head, and the more confident you become with the work. And if you feel that you tend to underperform because you make ‘silly mistakes’, remember that the more you practise, the better you become at identifying where you’re making these errors and so you’ll start to make fewer of them.
7. Take Extra Lessons
Often, you have to spend a lot of time doing Maths to understand the work and be able to apply it confidently. And it’s not always easy to find the motivation to do this by yourself.
If your school offers extra lessons, then go to them. Having a dedicated hour or two a week to practise your Maths (and maybe pick up a few tricks or hints that the teacher shares in these lessons) can make a huge difference to your performance and to your confidence in the subject.
If your school doesn’t offer extra lessons, try to make individual arrangements with your teacher or find a private tutor. One-on-one lessons can be extremely useful because whoever is going over the work with you might be able to identify which concepts you are struggling with in particular and explain them to you in a way that you understand.
8. Do Past Papers
This is the best way to be successful in Matric. Once you have studied your syllabus and know the concepts well, past papers are the next step to a successful test.
Teachers like to test the same work year after year, so if you’re performing well in past papers then it is likely that you will do well in your exam. The important things to remember when using past papers are to always do them under exam conditions – time yourself and don’t look at your notes or the memorandum assuming,
“Oh, of course, I’ll definitely figure that out in the exam.”
This is the easiest way to give yourself a false sense of confidence before the test. Keep practising until you’re no longer making the mistakes you consider ‘silly’. This is the best way to know that you’re well prepared for the exam.
9. Know the Breakdown
There will always be a paper 1 and paper 2 maths exam. It is important that you know the exact topics that will be tested in each of the papers. Some past papers may include topics in past paper 1 that are now covered in paper 2 and vice versa. Therefore, being up-to-date with the current syllabus is vital when it comes to preparing for maths exams.
This cannot be underestimated so double check that you are studying the correct topics before an exam.
10. Don’t Get Despondent
Bad tests happen to everyone and they don’t mean that all hope is lost. Try to use tests that don’t go as well as you’d hoped as motivation to work harder for the next one. And when you’re feeling helpless, like you’re never going to be able to get through Matric Maths, think about all of the thousands of people who did it before you.
Anyone can get do well in Matric Maths, it just requires commitment and hard work.
Maths is one of the most important subjects when it comes to applying to university. If you do well in Maths, it opens a lot of doors and qualifies you for a big variety of degrees and other qualifications. Whether or not you want to go into a career that involves a lot of numbers, it’s in your best interest to rock Maths during Matric.