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7 Dos and Don'ts of Studying for a Math Test

You + these 7 tips = prepared for anything

A desk with books, papers, and a pair of hands writing notes.
“If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” 1 The Lord’s words here are true whether you are building up the Church or studying for your next math test. Your preparation and sacrifices, regardless of the outcome, build your courage and confidence. 2 BYU-Pathway Worldwide’s foundational PathwayConnect courses have been prayerfully designed to give you the tools to succeed. Here are seven dos and don’ts of studying for math exams to help you cast away your fear!

1. “Do” practice daily

Just like athletes and musicians, students need daily practice. It’s better to study often for shorter amounts of time than it is to study occasionally for longer amounts. Consistency over time triggers your long-term memory, whereas long, infrequent study sessions engage short-term memory. 3
See “Studying 101: Study Smarter Not Harder,” The Learning Center — University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
Daily practice is like the manna that fed the Israelites in the wilderness: it will only nourish you one day at a time. Trying to cram all your studying into a single day will make most of it spoil. 4
A male tutor reading through a textbook with a female student.
Don't forget to ask for help from tutors and instructors!

2. “Don’t” just reread your textbook or notes

While it’s important to make sure you understand what’s being taught, practicing difficult problems will help you learn better than simply reading your textbook or notes. 5
See “Studying 101,” The Learning Center,
Consider solving example problems from relevant past lessons — or you can create your own problems to test yourself!

3. “Do” spend time on hard problems

The harder a problem, the more you should do it. Try to determine what kinds of problems are the most difficult for you. Spend extra time reviewing these questions, and reach out to your classmates or instructor if you need extra help. 6

4. “Don’t” redo all of your homework

Doing all of your homework again to study will take too much time. Only redo the problems you struggle with. Work smarter not longer! 7
Studying for Math and Physics Classes,” The Learning Center — University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
A stack of flash cards.
Use all the tools available to prepare.

5. “Do” use flash cards

We commonly think of using flash cards for learning a language or remembering historical dates, but flash cards can be useful for math too! 8
You can find many online websites that help you to create flashcard sets with games to help with memorization. Other sites, like this, can help you edit and print your own flash cards.

Instead of memorizing a specific answer, use flash cards to memorize the process of solving different types of math problems. Write down the steps you took and equations you used to solve each problem. This will help you understand how to solve multiple test questions, not just one.

6. “Don’t” casually look through your homework

As you look at past assignments, focus on specific concepts and problems instead of quickly rereading everything. Write down any questions you have so that you can review them during your study time or ask them later with a tutor.

7. Remember, you can “do” it!

I remember feeling terrified about mathematics, as I have never been very good at it. Nevertheless, as I applied all the lessons from [BYU-Pathway] in my studies, I have never been as good at math as I am now.
— Rota Ianjatiana, Madagascar
Everyone learns differently. Be patient with yourself as you discover what study tips help you the most. As you continue to practice, you can feel confident knowing that as you prepare, “ye shall not fear.” 9