You’re sitting at your desk, staring at your computer. You have a pile of math homework to start. But you just can’t; you’re dreading it.
You launch your courses and see a word problem. Your least favorite. You want to quit.
You’re not alone. In fact, 4 out of 10 Americans hate math.
If you’re among the four, we have some tips to help you get better at math and start enjoying your work. Our advice comes from a number of Primavera Online High School administrators, faculty and staff, who are all highly qualified and experienced.
Five Ways to Get Better at Math
1. Implement math in your daily routine
The old saying, “practice makes perfect” rings true for math. There are a few easy ways you can practice math while doing daily tasks. These tips come from faculty from the Primavera Learning Center, a blended learning school in Chandler, Ariz:
- When you go to the grocery store, try adding up all the items in your cart and see if the total you got is what shows up at the cash register.
- Then when you get good at that, try dividing it four ways: How much would the bill be if we split it up between mom, dad, brother and sister?
- Or try baking a new recipe, and calculate what it would take to double the recipe.
Math is found around you wherever you go; don’t stop exercising your brain!”
2. Play games that require math
Again, it’s all about incorporating math into everything you do. Even the fun things! There are several board games that include math in some form. Here are a few games you can play with family and friends:
You can also play a few video games featured in Primavera Online High School courses. There are fun exciting graphic games you can play here.
3. Learn key phrases to make word problems simpler
Word problems can be daunting. But there are several common phrases you’ll find in every word problem. And if you can translate those, you’ll get through word problems in a cinch! Here are a few common phrases:
Phrases meaning addition:
- Sum of
- More than
- Total of
Phrases meaning subtraction
- Difference between
- Less than
- Fewer than
Phrases meaning division
- Out of
Phrases meaning multiplication
Phrases meaning equals
- Is (are/were/was)
- Sold for
Don’t forget to take a deep breath before you start. It might be daunting, but you can break it down. Find the key phrases and write the math symbols out. You will eventually be able to put together a math problem and solve it.
4. Memorize formulas through simple repetition
Practice using the formulas again and again. After a lot of repetition, it gets easier to remember the formulas and the methods and then solving the problems becomes second nature! The second thing is try to take careful notes and keep them– even after passing that math class. When you get into college and have to take additional math courses, you can always go back and refer to old notes if you forgot how something is done!
5. Remember, in order to get better at math, you need three things:
Improving in math requires patience, a good attitude and an open mind. Here is an encouraging thought from Primavera math instructor Jessica Lefler.
“Yes, math can be difficult and even frustrating, so when you feel stuck, the mind wants to give up. But don’t give up! Have patience. Albert Einstein said, ‘It’s not that I am so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.’ If you get upset about a math problem, take a deep breath, don’t rush. Try to look at math as a game or a puzzle rather than as a chore. With that perspective, math becomes doable and even fun!”
If you are struggling in math, the best thing you can do is reach out to your teacher for help.
Take it from a Primavera Online High School student, Meghan Lyall, who used to struggle with math. Meghan reached out to her math instructor, Mr. Joshi, who helped her every step of the way. Now, Meghan is an excelling student at the University of Utah.
“I had a hard time learning some of the material in my pre-calculus class in my senior year,” said Meghan. “Mr. Joshi was willing to open up live lesson portals once a week to help me with whatever homework problems I did not understand and walk me through each step. This was a tremendous help and I never felt like he was rushing me or becoming impatient with me no matter how many homework questions I needed to be walked through. I felt like he cared that I really learned the material and wanted to prepare me as best as he could for the quizzes and tests.”
We will leave you with a few inspiring thoughts from online math instructor Mr. Joshi:
- You are not the only one who struggles, so do not panic.
- Stay organized, keep good daily notes especially keep the formulas handy-with clear meaning of each term in the formula. It is also useful to have a good reference such as BASIC MATH REVIEW ( here is one such resource)
- Do the workbook, checkpoint, exam questions step-by-step in your notebook–and not quickly jump to one of the answer choices–so that you can identify the error.
- Workbook practice is important in mastering a topic – so if needed, attend the live online sessions and get some help from your instructor.
- Keep pace by doing your daily lesson.
- Review your notes and especially the topics you struggled with, before taking the final exam.