Tips For Studying Maths
The Leaving Cert is a testing experience. Having a minimum of six subjects demanding your time with each teacher piling on homework and revision, it can seem overwhelming. Learning to study efficiently can make this workload a lot more manageable. Imagine spending 30 minutes studying a Maths topic instead of an hour! Let’s look at 5 tips for studying Maths which will help you revise more efficiently. There is no magic trick. None of these will automatically make you a maths genius. They will, however help you to understand things more quickly and help them stick in your memory for longer:
1. Read the explanation slowly & actively.
Often when we are reading explanations, we skim over them while thinking about something else. We then realise that we haven’t a clue what we just read and that we have to read it again. Reading slowly while tracking our place on the page with a pen makes sure that we are actually processing what we are reading. This simple step can prevent us from spending ten minutes re-reading the same paragraph, or becoming frustrated later on when we can’t do a question!
2. Summarise the explanation in your head.
After reading the explanation, look away from the page and explain it to yourself in your head. Now,read the explanation again and see if you were correct. Putting things in our own words makes it a lot easier to remember and understand them. This method will also show us if there is a certain part of the explanation we didn’t fully understand.
3. Try questions!
It is impossible to study maths without trying questions. When you are doing your first question on a topic look back to the explanation and example for help. As you attempt more questions, try to do them without using the example for help. If you get stuck on a question and find yourself getting frustrated, simply take a note of which question it is and move on. You can then try it again later, and you will often find that you were making a small mistake each time, or you can ask a friend to help you with it. Which leads us onto our next tip:
4. Ask friends for help.
Sometimes the best person to explain something to you is someone who has just learned it. It is likely that your friend struggled with the same thing you are having trouble with now. Often, they will understand what you are thinking and are best positioned to help you out. Sometimes, your peers can explain things to you in a clearer way than your teachers, who can, at times, overlook the detail you are struggling with.
5. Explain it to others.
To quote Albert Einstein: “You do not truly understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother”. Explaining things help us to fully understand them. I now have a better understanding of certain ideas, having taught them to grinds students, than I ever did when I was studying them. Studies show that you retain 90% of what you teach as opposed to just 10% of what you read. Explaining a topic to others, therefore, will help you both to make sure you understand a topic and help you to remember it better. Studying maths in small groups can be beneficial for this reason. Doing this also allows you to ask for help if you are stuck on a question.
Hopefully these 5 tips for studying Maths will help you to cover the course more efficiently and make that mountain of homework and revision, seem a little less daunting!
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