Pre-Algebra Study and Test-Taking Techniques Help (page 3)

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Sep 26, 2011

Test-Taking Tips

There are three types of exams that mathematics instructors give. They are closed book exams, open book exams, and take home exams.

First, let's talk about closed book exams given in the classroom. Make sure that you show up 5–10 minutes before the class begins. Bring all the necessary materials such as a pencil with an eraser, your calculator, paper, and anything else that you may need. Look over and study materials before class. After you receive your exam paper, look over the entire test before getting started. Read the directions carefully. Do all of the problems that you know how to do first, and then go back and try the others. Don't spend too much time on any one problem. Write down any formulas that you may need. Show all necessary steps if a problem requires it.

If there is any time left after you finish the exam, go back and check it for mistakes.

If you don't understand something, ask your instructor. Remember you cannot expect your instructor to tell you whether or not your answer is correct or how to do the problem.

In open book exams, you should remember that the book is your tool. Do not plan to study the book while you are taking the test. Study it before class. Make sure you know where all the tables, formulas, and rules are in the book. If you are permitted, have the formulas, rules, and summaries written down. Also, have sample problems and their solutions written down.

Don't be elated when your instructor gives you a take home exam. These exams are usually the hardest. You may have to go to the library and get other books on the subject to help you do the problems, or you may have to ask other students for help. The important thing is to get the correct solution. Show all of your work.

When your instructor returns the exam, make a note of the types of problems you missed and go back and review them when you get home.

See your instructor for anything that you are not sure of.

A Final Note

There is still one problem left to discuss: What happens if you are in over your head – i.e., the material you are studying is still too difficult for you?

First, try getting a math tutor. Many schools provide tutors through the learning center or math lab. Usually the tutoring is free. If your school does not provide free tutors, then seek out one on your own and pay him or her to help you learn.

There are other things you can do to help yourself if tutoring doesn't work. You can drop the course you are in and sign up for a lower-level course next semester. You can also audit the course, i.e., you can take the course but do not receive a grade. This way you can learn as much as you can but without the pressure. Of course, you will have to enroll in the course again next semester for a grade.

Many colleges and some high schools offer non-credit brush-up courses such as algebra review or arithmetic review. If you need to learn the basic skills, check your school for one of these courses. Usually no tests or grades are given in these courses.

I hope that you have found the suggestions in this program helpful, and I wish you success in your mathematical endeavor.

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