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How to Learn Math Faster: Expert Tutor’s Advice

By IvyWise Master Tutor

Academic support is critical for success inside of the classroom. For many students struggling with complex coursework, like math, it’s important to seek out resources that will help you improve your math grade. There are several different steps you can take, such as practicing, working with a tutor, or watching videos in your spare time.

Why is Math Important?

Math matters for more than just your college application or AP exams. While it is true that a strong academic performance in all subjects (including math) is what college admissions officers are looking for, there are also many everyday scenarios in which a strong math background will prove beneficial. From calculating how much to tip your waiter to figuring out your approximate arrival time, we’re all asked to solve math challenges every day.

How to Succeed in Math: Studying with Ease

“I’m not really a math person.”

“I’ll never be as good at math as she is.”

“Math just isn’t getting easier for me, so it’s never going to.”

Chances are, you have heard one of these statements before – you might have even been the person saying them! If you find that you identify with the sentiments above, try and complete the following exercise.

Think about something that you excel at. It might be a sport or an instrument, painting or acting, you name it. Whatever it is that you’re good at, think back to when you first began. On your first day of trying out that activity, or even your first year, were you an expert? Were you sinking every three-pointer with ease or perfectly playing full sonatas? Did you learn without making mistakes or facing failures?

If you answered ‘no’, you’re in great company. Most everyone, even folks who are now considered extremely talented, struggled at first with new challenges. Famously, Albert Einstein failed his high school entrance exam. Beyoncé’s debut musical endeavor fell apart (ever heard of Girl Tyme?) Every major publishing house rejected J.K. Rowling’s first manuscript, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Though it may sound laughable, achieving greater success in your math classes is really no different from what these people had to do when confronted with obstacles. It may take time, but perseverance can pay off. If your relationship with math could be improved and you find yourself thinking, “I’m not a math person”, challenge yourself to instead think, “I’m just not a math person…yet.”

How to Get Better Grades in Math & Learn Fast

How to Learn Maths Fast: Have a Growth Mindset

Researchers in the field of psychology and education have conducted studies that support that a more optimistic outlook in the face of new challenges can have a positive impact on overall achievement. Renowned developmental psychologist Carol Dweck summarized her findings on the power of growth mindset as the following: Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are an innate gift). This is because they worry less about looking smart and they put more energy into learning.

Researchers also believe that in addition to having more mental energy to dedicate to the task at hand rather than towards feelings of self-doubt or fear, people who exhibit a growth mindset are actually able to change their brain’s chemistry. This phenomenon is called ‘neuroplasticity’ and is the ability of the brain to make new neural connections as the result of new experiences. When you learn new concepts and practice new habits, you are actively rewiring your brain to think and act differently. Mistakes are a sign that your brain is growing to accommodate new skills and ideas. Mistakes should be embraced and learned from.

Committing to having a growth mindset is a great first step, but thinking rosy thoughts isn’t going to automatically make your math grade go up. With the research in mind, here are three tips that could help boost your math grades.

How to Practice Math & Why This Matters

This one might seem obvious, but it bears repeating: do all your homework. Attempt every single problem that is assigned to you in and out of class, even if they’re billed as “optional” or “extra credit.” There is something to be learned or reinforced with every math problem. The act of repetition is a tool used by many mathematicians to master a new set of skills and can help reinforce the strength of your neural connections. In the same way a new technique might be drilled in your soccer practices or voice lessons, repetition can vastly improve your ability to tackle certain problems.

How to Get Better at Math: Don’t Run Away From Mistakes

The next time you get a piece of graded work back from your math teacher, make sure you understand how you got to your answer and what you can do differently going forward. When looking over mistakes, how many times have you seen where you went wrong? There’s a common saying that hindsight is 20/20, but hindsight could also help you out on your next assignment. Having an “Aha!” moment as you review your solutions shows that you have reached a new understanding of the material, and it often means that you won’t make the same mistakes again.

How to Study Math: Ask for Help

But what, you’re asking, can you do if you’re feeling thoroughly lost in your math class? The biggest mistake you could make is thinking that you have to make these improvements all on your own. It is beneficial to maintain a good relationship with teachers as they will always be willing to help. If your teachers have regular office hours, have you considered signing up for a regular time?

Math Tricks To Learn Faster

Math Tools to Help You Study Fast

Avail yourself of the resources at your fingertips. There are many academic math support websites out there, such as Khan Academy, a classic go-to for self-paced review. If you are a visual learner, the activities on the Desmos Graphing website are excellent for illustrating what you’re learning in your math class, from pre-algebra all the way to calculus. DeltaMath is another great tool that allows you to give yourself problem sets composed of the specific skills you need help with – if you get an answer wrong, there are step-by-step guides to help you out. Chegg Study and Symolabs are two more tools to keep on your radar.

FAQs

If you have questions about how to improve your math skills, you’re not alone. Check out some of the most common queries below:

Why Is Math So Hard?

Many students find math challenging because it requires a lot of attention to detail and sometimes, the ability to memorize and apply various formulas. While it can feel overwhelming at first, the more your practice, the more confident you will become. With time, it might even start to feel like second nature.

How to Improve Your Math Grade?

The best thing you can do to improve your math grade is to keep studying and practicing new skills. Many students might feel tempted to give up if they’re not getting a concept, but you need to be persistent and ask for help to deepen your understanding.

How to Deal With SAT Math Tips?

Having the right preparation will help you crack the most difficult SAT and ACT math questions. If you’re most concerned with improving your SAT Math score, make sure to focus on practicing SAT Math. Take practice tests, focus on the math portions that you are struggling with, and complete the work in testing conditions (with similar timing), so that you feel ready on exam day.

What Are Some Useful ACT Math Tips?

Much like SAT Math, the best way to improve your ACT Math score is to practice the concepts that are on the test itself. Focus on taking practice tests, getting familiar with the concepts, and learning how to complete the questions with accuracy under testing conditions. See how to master the ACT and SAT with these 5 math tips.

Do You Need to Be Good at Math to Code?

If you’re interested in learning to code, math can be a great foundational area of study as you will be practicing similar skills.

How to Teach Yourself Math?

If you’re interested in learning math concepts on your own, take advantage of the breadth of free resources outlined above and make sure to watch some videos on the topics so that you can see concepts being broken down in real time. Quiz yourself from time to time to hold yourself accountable and monitor your progress.

Is Geometry Harder Than Algebra?

Different students will find different mathematical subjects more or less challenging. Some will say algebra is far more difficult, while others might struggle with geometry. Regardless of the math class you’re currently enrolled in, it’s important to give every class your all.

How to Find a Math Tutor?

If personalized tutoring is an option for you, tutors at IvyWise provide academic support for students who may need additional help mastering their current coursework. IvyWise also provides comprehensive test prep and tutoring services for AP exams and more. Along with your regular math class grades, the math AP exams are an important part of the college admissions process. If you plan to take these exams, it’s important to know where you stand with your test prep, what areas you need to improve, and how to create an effective test prep strategy.

There’s a light at the end of the math class tunnel. The struggle is real, and it means that your brain is growing. Perseverance, a growth mindset, and a willingness to learn from your mistakes are all key ingredients in reshaping your relationship with math. You can do it!

Now that you know these math tips, you will be ready to conquer every test’s math section. If you are already thinking about test preparation and you need guidance for the test formats and sections, read our article about AP Exams vs. SAT Subject Tests to see which format is the right for you.

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