Good study habits throughout the semester make it easier to study for tests.
- Do the homework when it is assigned. You cannot hope to cram 3 or 4 weeks worth of learning into a couple of days of study.
- On tests you have to solve problems; homework problems are the only way to get practice. As you do homework, make lists of formulas and techniques to use later when you study for tests.
- Ask your Instructor questions as they arise; don't wait until the day or two before a test. The questions you ask right before a test should be to clear up minor details.
Studying for a Test
Start by going over each section, reviewing your notes and checking that you can still do the homework problems (actually work the problems again). Use the worked examples in the text and notes - cover up the solutions and work the problems yourself. Check your work against the solutions given.
You're not ready yet! In the book each problem appears at the end of the section in which you learned how do to that problem; on a test the problems from different sections are all together.
- Step back and ask yourself what kind of problems you have learned how to solve, what techniques of solution you have learned, and how to tell which techniques go with which problems.
- Try to explain out loud, in your own words, how each solution strategy is used (e.g. how to solve a quadratic equation). If you get confused during a test, you can mentally return to your verbal "capsule instructions". Check your verbal explanations with a friend during a study session (it's more fun than talking to yourself!).
- Put yourself in a test-like situation: work problems from review sections at the end of chapters, and work old tests if you can find some. It's important to keep working problems the whole time you're studying.
- Start studying early. Several days to a week before the test (longer for the final), begin to allot time in your schedule to reviewing for the test.
- Get lots of sleep the night before the test. Math tests are easier when you are mentally sharp.