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Many students and parents ask for pointers and techniques for to best learn Math. Here is a top-10 list and applies to any level of Math:

**1)** **If you don’t understand something, focus on mastering that topic before moving on to the next topic. **It sounds simple, but it is absolutely essential. Lets say a student is learning Algebra, for example. Further, lets say he or she is having a hard time understanding how to add and subtract negative and positive numbers. All of us struggle with this in the beginning as it is a sticky point for most students. Some students in this situation, out of frustration that they “can’t” learn this topic, will move on to the next lesson in the hope that they will be able to understand that one.

This is a recipe for disaster.

Math is very much like learning to read. If you don’t know your letter sounds then you have no hope of being able to sound out words of course there is no way possible that you could read a book. All math courses are taught in a specific sequence because the every topic builds on the previous topic. If you are having a problem with a topic, continue working with that one until you understand it and can work problems successfully. Watch the DVD section over again, attend tutoring, read the book and examples a second time, or even get a totally different book to have it explained a different way…but whatever you

**2) Work example problems and check your answers to gain practice with every lesson.** The entire premise of the DVD series is to “learn by example” and it is quite simply the easiest way to learn

**3) When beginning to work a Math problem, do not “map out a path from problem-to-answer” in your head before writing anything down.**I see this almost every day. It is very common when someone looks at a

What you need to

**4) When you study and do homework , try to find a quiet place to do it.**

I was the worst offender of this while in school. I used to listen to music all of the time while trying to

**5) If someone asks you for help, try to explain the topic to them as best you can.**

This one is going to seem a little odd for this list…but there is one universal truth. Those who can teach others have a true grasp of the material. Many times when studying in groups there will be one member of the group who is behind and doesn’t “get it”. Try to help that person, even if your own work will take longer. Not only will you feel like you are helping someone else succeed, but the process of rephrasing information back to someone else and breaking things down into bite sized chunks will increase your own understanding. It will help you understand at a fundamental level what the stumbling blocks are for the topic, which will help you as you move on in your math studies.

**6) Never, ever work math problems in pen.**

This one is pretty simple. You will make a mistake; it is only a matter of time. When you

**7) Try to use a mechanical pencil with separate eraser, if you can.**Mechanical pencils have cleaner lines and the separate eraser allows you to erase more cleanly. Nothing is worse than making a mistake and trying to erase something then just smearing that all around your page. The cheap erasers will do this and make your life hard. Invest in a good mechanical pencil and a good separate eraser.

**8) Keep your solutions neat and line-by-line.**Always work problems vertically, with one step on every line. Never work horizontally. It may take more paper, but you will be able to follow your steps much more easily. More importantly, the teacher will be able to follow your work much better which allows him/her to give you partial credit. If there are just 2 steps when there should be 10, you will not be getting any points for your thought process. The steps you write down tell the teacher what you are thinking and how you are attacking the problem.

**9) Don’t work problems very late at night.**I know all of the college students will be laughing at this, but it is true. I have tried many, many times to

**10) If the problem lends itself to it, draw a picture of the problem.**This is most applicable for Trigonometry, Calculus, and Physics Students, but also applies to any word problem in basic **every single** problem that you work out. If you are in Calculus, definitely draw pictures for all related rate problems. If you are in Calculus 2 or Calculus 3, definitely draw a picture of all of your 3-dimensional problems (3d integrals). If you are in basic math and Jenny gives Bob 2 pencils and Bob gives 1 pencil away, draw that situation. It will really help you figure out how to proceed.

Remember, there is no silver bulet in learning Math. It comes with taking things one step at a time and with practice. The tips above will help you along in your math studies, and give you confidence. And confidence is 100% the name of the game in learning any level of Math.

– Jason Gibson

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