How to Study for a Math Test or Final

Studying for a math test can be daunting for many students. Even if a student knows the ins and outs of the material, it’s often hard to predict which problems they will encounter on exam day. In some cases, they may not have even seen those types of problems prior to the assessment.


When preparing to face these obstacles, deciding where to start may feel overwhelming. Whether a geometry final, a differential equations midterm, or a standardized test like the SAT, preparing for any math test can be challenging. But it’s possible with the right approach.


7 Tips on How to Study for a Math Test or Final 

Here are seven tips to optimize your studying efficiency and, ultimately, your performance on math exams: 


1. Practice problems! 

Doing problems and learning the ins and outs of solving specific types of questions are the foundation of any math class. 


For many students, the only way to properly learn a new skill is by doing it themselves—and math is no different. Solving problems is not only important in developing the skills you need to succeed in exams but will also help you identify where to channel your focus for the rest of the studying period and where to apply the techniques described in this blog post. 


2. Review concepts

Once you’ve identified where your problem-solving skills need the most improvement, go back and review the lecture notes for those topics. Are there other materials you can utilize to review these concepts? 


If you’re having trouble remembering certain formulas or definitions, write yourself a cheat sheet or make a small set of index cards with the concepts you find most confusing. Cheat sheets and index cards are great to review as you practice more and do last-minute exam prep. 


3. Review old homework/quiz problems

Another way to find your weak points or pinpoint concepts to review is to go over your old homework or quiz/exam problems. 


This approach is especially beneficial for cumulative final exams, as significant time will have passed between the beginning of the term and the time of the exam, making it easy to forget certain topics. 


4. Look up resources 

Once you have a comprehensive list of all the topics that will be on the exam and your relative comfort level with each, you can identify the areas that are worth spending more time reviewing. 


Even after doing every practice problem available to you and reviewing all of your notes, you might still find these areas confusing—and that is okay! 


At this point, it might be useful to look up external resources, as a new perspective is often all that is needed to make concepts click in our brains. There are plenty of math resources out there, but one of our favorites is YouTube, believe it or not.


For late high school and college level math, there is a channel on youtube called 3Blue1Brown with extremely thorough explanations and compelling and easy-to-understand visualizations.


5. Review other similar exams

As mentioned previously, reviewing old or similar exams can help you identify strong and weak points. However, it’s also a great way to practice the format of the questions you will see on exam day and get yourself in the test-taking mindset. 


You may also find it helpful to take timed practice exams, simulating the test-taking environment as closely as possible so that by the time you get to the real exam, it’s mostly muscle memory. 


6. Save plenty of time the day before to rest up

Arguably the most important tip is to get plenty of rest the night before the exam. Even the brightest minds have very little chance of passing an exam without a proper amount of rest. 


Resting well will also allow you to digest all the material you studied, so you feel ready on the day of the exam. 


7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help 

When you run into trouble understanding part of a problem or concept, don’t be afraid to ask your teacher for help. And if you need more support than your teacher can provide, consider working with a math tutor


With a carefully laid out plan that takes into account how you learn and where you need the most targeted support, you can succeed in math—whether it’s acing your final or hitting your target score for the math portion of the SAT. 


Want to learn more about how to study for a math test or final? Contact Signet today, and we’ll get you the help you need.

Picture of Alberto Naveira

Alberto Naveira

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