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Tips for College Prep Math Success

  • Go to every class. College prep math classes differ from high school math classes. More material is covered and there is less time in class to cover this material. If you miss a class, you miss a lot! The responsibility of learning is left to you - you are expected to complete the homework and lab assignments on time and to seek help if you do not understand the concepts.
  • Be prepared for class. Arrive on time. Bring with you lots of paper, pencils, erasers, your text, and any homework assignments from the previous class.
  • Listen carefully and take notes. Be sure to copy down any rules, steps, formulas, and examples that are written on the board. These may be on the test!
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you do not understand a topic, concept or procedure, see your instructor after class. You cannot do the homework assignments if you do not understand the steps!
  • Are your study skills weak? Take the Math Study Skills Inventory.


Tips For Homework

  • Do the homework. Algebra is a hands-on subject. To learn algebra, you need time to practice the homework problems. For every hour you spend in class, you should set aside at least three hours to complete the homework and lab assignments and to study for quizzes and tests.
  • Don't wait until the last minute to complete assignments. Work on a daily basis to give yourself time to practice any problems you have difficulty with. Quiz and test questions are often based on homework problems. If you do the homework, you will know how to do the problems on a quiz or test!
  • If you cannot do the homework, get help immediately. See your instructor. Go to the Math Lab. The Prep Room in the Math Lab is a good place to do your homework because tutors are available to answer questions as they arise.
  • Check your answers. If you don't check your answers, how will you know if you are using the right steps to solve the problems? Checking also helps you to identify careless errors so you can avoid these on quizzes and tests. Put a star or check next to any problem you got wrong. If you cannot find your mistake, see your instrutor or one of the Math Lab tutors.


Tips For Tests

  • Always be prepared for quizzes and tests. Never leave studying to the last day or two before a quiz or test. Strategies that worked in high school may not work in college because you have more material to learn.
  • Practice for quizzes and tests. Read the examples and chapter summaries in your text. Review your notes. Test your knowledge of key terms, concepts, rules and solving strategies. Redo several homework problems from each section for additional practice.
  • Don't rely on your memory . As soon as you get your test, write down any formulas, rules, or steps you will need to solve the problems.
  • Do the easier problems first. This will give you more time for problems that require an extended response.
  • Show your work. Number each question and don't skip steps. This will make it easier for you to review your test and prepare for the final exam.
  • Never leave a question blank . Make some attempt to solve the problem. Review the answers to other questions. Often you can apply similar solving strategies.
Check your work. Take a few minutes to review each problem. Did you follow directions? Do your answers make sense? Look for careless mistakes.
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