**Skills in Mathematics Study**

**"The Secrets to Achieving Mathematical Ecstasy"**

Success in Math does not come just from learning formulae. You need to understand the work and to practice the problems. In this way you will find that, magically, you will know the formulae and understand the work better.

People often say that their study techniques do not apply to studying math - "But math is different !" Well, perhaps it is. It is, for instance, one of the few subjects in which you can get full marks. But math has a bad reputation. People may say that they weren't any good at it when they were young, they had a bad teacher, they don't have a math brain, it was too hard, or it was boring or irrelevant. Don't believe it! Math is not too hard. Nor is there such a thing as a math brain or a non-math brain. As for being bored, you won't be if you start getting the right answers, and perhaps those 100 percents!

Well, how is it done? Here's a formula that will help.

**The Maths Formula: LARDY**

**L**isten in class

**A**sk questions

**R**ead and understand

**D**o the homework

**Y**es, it's right!

Lardy means fatty, but don't interrupt your maths homework with too many trips to the fridge for snacks or you'll be taking things too literally.

By using this formula you will be assuming responsibility for your own learning in maths.

**Listen in class**

Listening is the most important skill in math as it is vital that you understand the work. Teachers call math a cumulative subject, because each new topic builds on the understanding of the topic before it.

When the teacher is going over work that has already been done :

• If they are doing a problem you got right, listen anyway. They may do it in a different

way, or bring up different ideas in discussion, both of which will add to your depth of understanding of the topic.

• If they do not go over a problem you got wrong, don't just sit there confused, ask during a

work period in the lesson.

During the main body of the lesson, listen to what is said. This is where a lot of your understanding will come from. Remember to listen actively, taking down everything from the blackboard and any important comments the teacher makes during discussion.

**Always ask questions**

Use questions to...

• fill in steps in a problem, eg 'How did you get the x by itself?'

• help you understand a general principle, eg 'Does the x always have to end up by itself in

this type of problem?'

Ask specific questions - never just say 'I don't get it' - and frame your questions to get the answer you want.

**Read and understand**

At homework time:

• Read through the notes you took in class.

• Work through the examples from the textbook or your notes. • Check any points you don't understand.

• Make sure you understand what is going on.

• Fill in your notes where they are sketchy, and highlight important formulae or points.

Now your brain is in math mode and you are ready to...

**Do your homework**

No matter what happens, always keep up with your math homework, otherwise you will find the next lesson twice as hard to understand. If you do have a full schedule, or you are running out of time...

• Don't skip the reading and understanding time, it will only make the doing time even longer.

• If you must leave out problems, do every second one, not the first half. This way you cover all types of problems.

Don't make difficult problems an excuse for stopping altogether. Try again, and if you are still lost, continue with the next problem; it is not necessarily any harder.

Keep note of the questions you have difficulty with so you can re-do them during revision. Remember to keep your homework just as organized as you would your notes. Quite often if you return to a problem that you couldn't solve your subconscious mind has already solved it and consequently your conscious mind is able to work it out.

**Your ability to cope with math exams**

Many students falsely believe that you cannot study for math exams. Wrong! For revision you should go through your notebook, topic by topic, just as you did during the year - the R- D-Y of LARDY. Read each topic and do some of the problems from the book. You should have your earlier worked solutions to refer to if you get stuck.

It is better to revise topic by topic at first, rather than tackle old exam papers. This way, each topic is 'pigeonholed' in your head and will be easier to recall during an exam. Look at old exams to check yourself later on.

Make sure you know all the necessary formulae. There is a lot of understanding built into a formula, and if you know it well you are more likely to recognize when you need to use it.

Mathematics Study Pointers

**Doing math exams**

No matter how hard the questions are, it is always possible to get some marks for working, or a diagram, even if you can't get the whole question out.

Read the paper carefully during the reading time, and decide the order in which you will tackle the questions. Always do the easy questions first, they are worth less marks, but they are marks you will definitely get. Keep in mind the time you will need to approach the harder questions.

For each question, read it, do it, then re-read it to make sure you have answered the question correctly (not the question you wish they had asked!). Make sure your answer gives appropriate units of measurement, decimal places etc, and always give a word answer to a word question.

Difficult questions

Checking answers

- Leave these until last. If you don't know where to start...

- Write down key information as you go, and draw diagrams if necessary.

- If possible, put yourself in the question, perhaps simplifying the figures involved.

- Think about the method you used for similar questions, or alternative methods you have been taught.

- Do not simply re-do what you have already done, you are likely to

make the same mistake again. Substitute the solution back into the equation, or try a different method.

- Re-do the question completely on a separate sheet of paper and

compare. If they come out differently, you must select one to submit, so check them both thoroughly.

- Check that your answer is reasonable, eg the height of a building should not come out as 37 kilometres.

- Have your pressed the right buttons on your calculator ?

*Remember - a calculator is only as good as the person using it, so always check the answers roughly in your head.*

*THE SECRETS TO MATH ECSTASY!!!*Remember the LARDY formula and use it every day

Use the revision period wisely - don't just rely on having done your homework all

year

Use the exam to show the examiner how much you know; there may be marks in your working and diagrams which you never knew existed.

Never leave a blank on an exam paper - there are no marks for blank spaces.

Steady work day by day throughout the year is a simple pattern to get into, and will pay off come exams. In other words, don't neglect regular work in the hope that a study burst before exams will save you - it won't.