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Surviving: mathematics

  • Published at 12:49 pm October 26th, 2015
Surviving: mathematics

Most of us have this indiscernible fear of mathematics. However, this is one of the few subjects where one can score full marks very easily. Here is how.

Firstly, when you have taken the decision to study for your test, start practising as early as possible. Revising earlier has proven to bring better results, and this is not only the case for mathematics. It is wise to read your texts, and class notes thoroughly. Before you put your pen on the paper, understand your mathematics topic. Once you get a good grip over the course content, start practising the example problems. While you're revising, you may not be able to recall everything. It’s fine. Do not get into a nervous breakdown. See your class notes for reference, see how you have solved a particular problem in class. If going through the class notes does not ring a bell, then try solving it yourself.

Remember, if there are some chapters you find complicated, revise them first. Don’t keep the harder ones for the last. A good idea is to start with the chapters covered during the end of your term, since the last few chapters are usually more challenging. Refrain from memorising formulas, no matter how tempting it sounds. It is advisable to clearly understand how a formula is derived, and how it is used and then memorise it. This way you wouldn't have to spend time thinking too much, if your teacher tweaks the math problem a bit. Prepare well for the toughest questions. Moreover, you can also arrange a mock test for yourself by changing the values a little. It is perfectly okay if you make a few mistakes but try to learn from them.

Timing is crucial. It is ideal not to waste time solving easier problems. Spending more time on difficult problems will train you to think more critically. Your exam tests how good you are at using your logic. If you find difficulty in understanding a topic, you can go to your teacher and if that option is not available, one of the best ways to revise is to study in a group. You might want to give this a try.

It’s okay if you are not too sure about your calculus. But make sure that you have a good understanding of all the other topics. The night before your exam, you can skim through your class notes and books and go through the problems that you've solved. You may also write down all your formulas without seeing, and try to solve a few problems just to get your brain ready for the big day tomorrow. It may work for a few people but, it is not ideal to pull an all-nighter the day before the exam.

Make sure you have all the stationery with you, and your calculators work fine. Have a good breakfast and reach your exam hall on time.

While you are seated, you may be tempted to skim through your notes and copies just like your peers are doing. But know this, whatever you have studied is enough, and these last few minutes of frantic page turning will lead you nowhere. Instead you will feel more nervous. Just sit and relax. When your paper is handed to you, be calm, take a deep breath and start. You should spend at least 10 minutes browsing through the questions. See which questions are the most easy to answer, mark them. Try and chalk out a mental map for solving each problem. Brain storming is very crucial for math exams, which many fail to realise. Once you are done skimming, start your paper. Time management is also part of your test. Attempt the easier questions first and give most time for solving difficult problems afterwards. Make sure you have at least a few minutes spared for revision.

Before handing in your paper make sure you have answered all the required questions, and that your writing is neat and legible.