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What Do Successful Math Students Do?

Follow these tips from math students and instructors to turn your stress into success


Fear, doubt, stress, anxiety, and despair. These are just a few of the many emotions students report feeling about a commonly dreaded subject: math. Math can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be! The trick is knowing you don’t have to figure it out alone.

We talked to current math students and instructors to learn their best advice to help you succeed in your next math class. Here are their responses:

Students, “What do you wish you knew before starting your math class?”

Two students study next to each other
Don’t be afraid to ask your peers for advice.

“It is okay for me to not fully understand something all at once. Real and genuine learning comes through time and hard work.”

“I wish I had known to make time daily to do the work, instead of trying to do it all at the end of the week.”

“I wish that I had made use of tutoring sooner.”

“I wish I had known that it was okay to ask questions because, chances are, there are other people struggling with the same things.”

“I wish I had known I didn't have to be afraid of it. Everything I needed to succeed was built into the course.”

“It would have been more helpful if I wrote the core equations, concepts, and rules learned weekly instead of before each test.”

Which of these tips are the most interesting or could potentially be helpful to you? You know yourself (and your relationship with math) better than anyone, so experiment with different suggestions to see what works best!

Instructors, “What do successful math students do?”

A teacher speaks to her class
Reach out to your instructors if you have questions. They’re here to help!

“My ‘A’ students are also my students who submit assignments first. Waiting until the last minute erases the chance for extra help if needed!”

“Ask questions! The more questions students ask, the more comfortable they will feel about their new classroom experience.”

“The best students self-advocate when needed and are specific about the help they need.”

“Practice makes perfect. Practice every day.”

“The students that succeed are the students that utilize their groups. If a student has a group that works hard and meets regularly, they do much better.”

“Announcements and feedback contain new information to help you succeed. Check messages from your instructors!”

Support designed for you

Most of all, don’t give up! Do the best you can, and when you get stuck, reach out to your instructors, TA, service missionaries, a tutor, or a knowledgeable friend or family member for help. Thousands of BYU-Pathway students have overcome all odds and succeeded in math — you can too!