How to Study for a Math Exam

When studying for a math exam, you have two main goals:

  • Learn the material so you can do well on the exam.
  • Learn the material well enough so you will still know it next semester!!! (Most of you will be taking more math. These classes ALWAYS depend on the material you learned the previous semester! If you don't really learn it (i.e. not just cramming for the exam), you'll crash and burn in your next class!

TIP #1: Have all memorizing done a couple of days before the exam.


1) Starting out:

  • Look over lecture notes.
  • Look over homework.

2) Make an exam for yourself (or better yet, for a study partner):

  • Take it after a delay period - So you won't remember where you got the problems - If you take the exam too soon, you may think you know the material better then you do! (This should be done at least TWO (2) days before the exam - NOT the night before or you'll freak yourself out!)

NOTE: It is extremely important that you be able to do the problems withoutknowing what section they came out of!! Be sure to mix the problems up when you are practicing!

3) Restudy:

  • Go back over what you had trouble with on your practice exam. This is the stuff that you didn't absorb well enough from just doing your homework.

4) The afternoon before exam day:

  • Read through your lecture notes and think! Work some problems and review memorizing.

5) The night before exam day:

  • Do something fun ----------- But not too much fun! 8-)

6) One hour before exam:

  • Glance over flash cards and don't talk to classmates -- They may say something to confuse you or make you nervous. 8-)

Most importantly ------- DO NOT CRAM!!

Anything you try to learn at the last minute (that means the night before) will dribble out your left ear when you get nervous!

Also, if you need to get some private tutoring for the exam, do not set your appointment for exam day - or even the night before. Being tutored the day of the exam may fry your brain. Waiting until the night before is cramming. Plan ahead for all tutoring appointments.