How Good Are Your Study Skills?
My Personal Math Study Skills Inventory: Exercise
81
This inventory will help you assess the effectiveness of
your math study
skills. Read each of the statements carefully and determine how
frequently
each applies to you.
Statement 
Usually (3 points) 
Sometimes (2 points) 
Rarely (1 point) 
1. I attend all my math classes. 



2. I read my math assignment before attending
class. 



3. In class, I mentally follow all explanations,
trying to understand
concepts and principles. 



4. In class, I write down main points, steps in
explanations, definitions,
examples, solutions, and proofs. 



5. I review my class notes as soon after class as
possible. 



6. I review my class notes again six to eight
hours later, or definitely
the same day. 



7. I do weekly and monthly reviews of all my
class and textbook notes. 



8. In reviewing, I use all methods such as
reciting aloud, writing,
picturing the material, etc. 



9. I study math before other subjects, and when
I'm most alert. 



10. I take small breaks every 20 to 40 minutes
when I study math. 



11. I work to complete my difficult math
assignments in several small
blocks of time. 



12. I reward myself for having studied and
concentrated. 



13. I survey my assigned math readings before I
tackle them in depth. 



14. When I read, I say aloud and write out
important points. 



15. I underline, outline, or label the key
procedures, concepts, and
formulas in my text. 



16. I take notes on my text and review them often. 



17. I complete all assignments and keep up with
my math class. 



18. I study math two hours per day. at least five
days a week. 



19. I work on at least ten new problems and five
review problems during
each study session. 



20. I work to "overlearn" and thoroughly master
my material. 



21. I retest myself often to fix ideas in memory. 



22. I work to understand all formulas, terms,
rules, and principles
before I memorize them. 



23. I use a variety of checking procedures when
solving math problems. 



24. I study with two or more different math books
or resource material 



TOTALS: 



To find your total score, add up the total points of all
three columns:
My Grand Total is: __________
If your score is above 68 points, you have excellent math study skills.
If your score is between 54 and 68 points, you have fair study skills,
but you need to improve.
If your score is below 54 points, you have poor math study skills and
you need help immediately.
Here is what you can do to improve
your math study
skills:
How Do You Approach Learning?
Personal Growth Model of Learning: Learning is an
active process:
we can understand how we think, create and retain new information. We
must
understand the memory process and strategies to enhance recall. We must
look at the uniqueness of our subject matter and identify how best to
approach
each new area of knowledge.
Selecting A Math Class
Consider the following when selecting a math class: (1)
Correct placement,
(2) When you last took math, (3) Auditing or repeating a math class,
and
(4) Selecting a good teacher.
Notes: If you haven taken math in 3 years, you should
repeat the last
math course you successfully completed.
Consider auditing to familiarize yourself with materials  plan to
participate by attending all classes, doing homework and taking all
tests.
Teacher Selection: Satisfaction Guaranteed
Great teachers can make all the difference  so ask
around to find out
about likes and dislikes of certain teachers.
A great teacher explains concepts well; teaches according to your
learning
style, welcome questions before, during, and after class; has office
hours
for outside help; has a positive toward students; and gives fair tests.
Ask if teacher teaches more than one section of the math
course you
plan to take and ask if you can sit in on a section you have missed at
a different time.
Attend All Classes
Successful students are more likely to attend all
classes, whereas failing
students miss onethird or more of their classes.
Missing even one class may actually put you back 2 lectures because
you may feel lost the session you return to class.
If you must miss, be sure to read the assigned text thoroughly, do
homework, and get a copy of the class notes from a classmate (do this
before
the class after that missed)
Be Bold: Sit Near The Front
Successful students are also more likely to sit close to
the front of
the classroom and near the center.
Siting near front you are more likely to pay attention and concentrate
on lecture.
It also helps you to be more involve in class, give you more direct
contact with teacher and see the board more easily.
Those who sit in the back are not only physically distant from the
lecturer but also psychologically and it is more easier to get
distracted
by sounds or side discussions going on in the back of the room.
Take Full Class Notes
Your class notes and text notes are like your math
bible.
They are the essence of what you are learning
Studies show that successful students take notes of about 64% of what
is presented.  Complete notes
Write down what teacher puts on the blackboard and all verbal
explanations.
Write down important ideas, equations, examples, helpful hints, and
suggestions.
Strive to follow and understand teacher's reasoning and logic when
solving a board problem
Note steps in solutions instructor explains but not necessarily write
on board.
Ask instructor to repeat anything you miss or don't understand.
Make notes legible, neat and clear so you can read them easily later.
Be an active listener (you think faster than teacher can write  avoid
turning out)
Organize your notes, homework solution so can identify definitions,
theorems, proofs, formulas, procedure steps, examples or equations.
Questions That Count; Answers that Add Up
You have the right to ask questions of your teacher
before, during,
and after class.
See your instructor during office hours or visit the Math Lab.
Never avoid asking questions because you are afraid of looking stupid.
Be creative and design your own questions that cover concepts explain
in class.
Never allow your questions to go unanswered, take the initiative.
Capitalize on the Magic
of "Now"
It is typical to understand material in class and have
no clues when
studying a few days later because:
We forget immediately a large portion of the lecture after a few hours.
Review immediately after learning and then again eight
hours later
Review needs about 10 to 15 minutes  since you already
know the material.
Do homework immediately after assigned
Do weekly and monthly reviews of your notes to embed new information
in memory
Why Review?  20 minutes after learning we forget
nearly 50% of
what's learned and after a day nearly twothirds is forgotten,
after
2 days 69% is lost, in 15 days, 75% and in 31 days, 78%. So after a
month
you remember only 22% of material learned. (Hermann
Ebbinghaus,
The German psychologist)
Study on retention of meaningful material by H.
F. Spitzer
found that students who reviewed the material immediately after
learning
and then did periodic reviews were able to retain almost 80% of
the material after two months.
It takes between 4 seconds and 15 minutes for memory
trace to set in
 and avoid interruption of retention by not learning or doing
something
else. Review materials promptly and capitalize on the magic of now!
The Birth of Excellence: Say and Do
Fully involved the math learning process by using all
your senses:
Recite the material aloud
Explain it to others
Here it, see it, write it down; work with it; manipulate it in as many
ways possible;
Work out as many problems as you can.
Magnesen in 1983 reported that students tend to remember a full 90% of
what they "do and say".
Take both class notes and your reading assignment notes.
Studies show that students remember 70% of what the
explain aloud to
themselves or others (often your math tutor learn and remember more
than
you  try restating concepts grasp while being tutor to reinforce
remembering.
Homework
Do homework the same day they are assigned or same day
when the concept are taught
in class.
Problem Solving
Read homework problems carefully, at least two to three
times.
Do you understand it and can you restate it in your own words?
Try and locate simpler problems that are similar to each problem
Make tables, illustrations, diagrams and so on.
Estimate the answer and decide the operations that have to be done.
Do the necessary calculations and check steps from start to finish.
The Ten Commandments of Work Checking
Most students lose points on homework and test because
of simple computational
errors, not because of a lack of understanding.
Get into the habit of checking all your homework
problems
as if your
were taking a test. It is a good practice for the real test.
Use the following Guidelines for checking your work:
1. Ask, does your answer make sense? Is it reasonable?
2. Does your answer fit your estimate?
3. Recalculate. Recheck your math computations.
4. Do your problems twice  check for errors.
5. Check your usage of signs.
6. Check your decimal points.
7. Recheck your writing  when you work out problems on scrap
paper,
did you transfer them correctly to the answer sheet?
8. Check your exponents. Are you handling exponents correctly?
9. Reread visual: Charts, tables, figures, or graphs.
10. Substitute your answer. Does your answer satisfy the given
conditions
of the problem?
Take the answer you get and substitute it for the unknown quantity
in the problem.
Practice, Practice, Practice
As a rule of thumb, work out at least ten problems per
study session
and review
at least five problems from previous study sessions. Your proficiency
in solving math problems increases with practice.
Study math at least 5 day each week.
Overlearn Your Math
Get to know the concepts inside out  since new math
concepts often
build upon previous ones; you must firmly establish the principles and
concepts you are learning for the knowledge to come later.
Constantly test and retest yourself on the material
absorb  learn to
recognize your material no matter the order in which it is presented to
you on a test, no matter how difficult it seems or how it is discussed.
Follow Your Alertness Cycles
Study math at times of day when you are most alert and
usually before
other subjects.
Take Breaks
Studies show distinct benefits of distributed practice
 short study
sessions interspersed with rest breaks.
Recommend study sessions be between 20 and 40 minutes with 5 to 10
minutes breaks.
This regimen prevents mental, physical, and emotional fatigue and keeps
your motivation high.
Stop Procrastination  Do it Now!
If you are a procrastinator it is time to take Super
Action:
Part 1: keep taking little bites  you don't have to do
it all at once
 schedule time to work assignments in small chucks
Part 2: Reward Yourself for Good Study and Concentration (e.g. snacks,
phone conversation, movie, exercise)
Part 3: Use a Kitchen Timer  Use a timer to control your study time
Part 4: Change your inner self talk  Apply Super Action Self talk:
example below
Procrastination SelfTalk 
Super Action SelfTalk 
1. I don't know where to start. 
I'll divide my assignment into small chunks and
work on only one chunk
at a time. 
2. I don't know how to do it. 
I'll look up the information in other math books
or online resources
and see how they explain it. I'm bound to get it! 
3. I'll wait until I can ask the teacher in class. 
I'll work on some of it now and then I'll have
better questions to
ask. 
4. I'm just not in the mood to do it. 
Do it now! Just do it! 
5. Oh, I still have time; I can wait until later. 
Time has a way of running out quickly; get it
over with now! 
6. There's just too much to do. 
Take one step at a time; Rome wasn't build in a
day. 
7. I feel bad, but I keep wanting to put this off. 
If I do even a little bit of work on this, I know
I'll feel better. 
8. I prefer doing my favorite subject first. I
can always do math later. 
Once I get into my math. it'll begin to be more
enjoyable and fun. 
9. (add your own) 
(add your own) 
Tackle your Math Book
Read your math book, it often supports what is being
taught in class.
Read the Chapter Before and After Class
Make it a practice to read the assignment chapter before
you attend
math class.
You become a better listener and learn more from class.
After attending class read your assignments in depth, and then do your
homework  this will increase your understanding
How to read Your Math Text
Math reading assignments should be tackled at least 3
times:
1. Survey your assignment (when you survey, read
the lead paragraphs,
the first sentence of each paragraphs throughout the section, and the
closing
or summary paragraphs. read all highlighted areas, tips, subtitles,
illustrations,
charts, and graphs). I you do this pose questions that you think the
material
may answer of class instructor.
2. Read all sections in depth for mastery
and understanding,
and mark and underline in your book.
Unlike other subjects matter math requires more concentration where
every word is important.
Most math text are written succinctly and to the point.
Text must be read slowly and with good concentration.
Rereading concepts several times help with mastery.
Don't skip pictures, they often says a thousand words.
Write and recite as you read.
3. Third reading is for review and taking notes.
Write down all
import ideas, facts, equations, theorems, examples,
and summaries in your notebook or on index cards..
Memorize terms, Rules, Principles, Formulas
To memorize a rule or principle, first read it and
make sure you
completely understand every part of it.
Sometime you may have to commit to memory difficult concepts you do
not understand.
Use two or More Math Books
Use two or more math texts when studying.
