5 Study Tips For A 35 Year Old Math Student

Today’s post is from a 35 year old student struggling with math. His question is not all that uncommon.

Hello there,

My question is Math the reason that I’m struggling.  I’m 35 years old and this is my second semester in college and I’m retaking Math again because the first semester I failed and I’m about the same way this semester… Now my Teacher said that we can make corrections on the tests and get a better score now. I got a month to go in school. So my question is what is the easyest way to study for a math Test or or just to understand what the teacher is saying?

This is a great question that has several answers:

Study Tip #1: Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. It appears you’re repeating the same PATTERN and by doing that, you’ll repeat the same result. In my study book, I explain that you must interrupt your pattern and learn what works for you and what doesn’t. It’s impossible for me to know the source of your actual study challenge since I don’t know which math course your struggling with.

You may not have the prerequisites to understand this course and may need to take the course BEFORE it to learn the basics. But let’s assume that’s not the case.

Study Tip #2: Don’t study for a math test – practice problem solving

Math is a subject that requires that you solve MANY problems – studying for math is like trying to study how to swim – you just need to get in the water and swim. I know this sounds obvious, but it’s not. If it was, you wouldn’t be struggling – especially at the eleventh hour in a panic.

Practicing means that you do the problems the teacher will present BEFORE class so that if you have any questions, you can ask. This should be easy since you’ve already taken the course. You know what’s covered in the exams.

Practicing means doing it as often as is necessary until you ‘master it’. Yes, that means you probably will spend 2 or 3 times longer on math homework than on other subjects. If you have an affinity to another subject, you don’t need to spend time on that.

In my study book, I explain in detail that you need to study based on objectives and outcomes – not time.

Study Tip #3: Study based on objectives, not time

In my study book, I go into more detail than I can in a blog, but for you it means literally taking the time to start at the BASE or FOUNDATION problems – the easy ones and move your way up to the harder ones. I know this sounds self-evident, but once again it’s not as easy as it sounds.

The way to know if you’ve mastered the basics is if you ‘know’ you can solve it before you even start – that means you can move on to the ‘next level’ of difficulty…

Study Tip #4: Cram for your math test

I am not a proponent or advocate for cramming, but in your situation, you don’t have a choice – I suggest you cram for your math test – RIGHT WAY, THIS WEEKEND.

Don’t wait until the last minute. Start on Saturday morning EARLY and don’t stop until later Sunday night. The intensity and focus will mean you will learn a LOT more in a LOT less time – yes you need to take breaks, but only SHORT ones – you want to create, build and maintain the momentum.

You might even try to…

Study Tip #5: Study in a group for a math test

It’s not the best time to test strategies at the last minute, but you could ask 3, 4 or 5 of your classmates to come all at once or 1 at a time to help you study – you’d be amazed at how valuable it is to see someone else go through what you’re going through –

T ogether

E veryone

A chieves

M ore

It’s worth trying WITHOUT it becoming a distraction and social get together.

By using these 5 study tips, you should be on your way to passing your math course – if not, you need to take one step back to take two steps forward – consider taking a prerequisite course to learn the basic fundamentals.

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