Math Survival Guide: How to Study for Math Tests 09

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"I never failed once. I invented the light bulb.  It just happened to be a 2,000 step process."
-- Thomas Edison

          I’ve heard the excuses of “I went blank”, “I froze” and even the ever

dreaded “brain... uh... toot.”  (That last one was edited for my more sensitive



          I’ve taught thousands and thousands of students…  Believe me when

I tell you that, when a student gets a “D” or an “F” on a test, the student really

just doesn’t know the material very well…  even though he THINKS he does


          So, how does a student really, genuinely think he knows the material and



          Studies show that many students make the simple mistake of confusing

familiarity with the material to actual mastery of the material.


          When studying, students start by looking through their notes and/or

homework and it all looks very familiar…  So, they feel comfortable and think

they know the stuff.  This is VERY different than seeing a problem out of

context, so you don’t know what section it’s coming from, and being able to

work all the way through it from scratch without peeking at any formulas or


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