Math class is a sharp contrast from your usual class.
The average student is either mediocre at math but good in every other subject or good in math but mediocre in every other subject.
Sound familiar? Maybe it sounds like you?
That’s because math has some big differences from other classes.
It can’t be done the same way as most other classes without expecting different results.
You don’t have to suck in math!
There is another way.
In fact, math can be easy.
You’ve probably never been taught a few simple things that make math way more fun.
This isn’t the kind of stuff you’re taught in school. In fact, plenty of classes will discourage this kind of thinking.
Math is special. It has its own rules to play by.
Most classes have a large amount of subjectivity in the grading.
That means students don’t need to know the answer to convince their teaching they know enough about the subject.
The process doesn’t matter in most classes. In math, class it’s different.
Your grade depends on following a specific process in order to get 1 specific answer.
No smooth wording can fool your teacher into thinking you’ve figured it out.
You actually have to go about figuring it out.
This is how to make that happen.
1. Keep Lighting Fast
On this blog, you’ll constantly hear advice to work quickly.
With math class, there are some sharp differences but working fast can still benefit you quite a bit.
It’s good practice to work as fast as you feel comfortable.
Working fast is a stress prevention tool.
The faster you’re able to work, the less likely you tie yourself in knots trying to figure something out.
You’ll just follow the processes that you know as closely as possible and, if everything goes as planned, those processes will bring you to the results you need.
This, of course, comes with a major disadvantage in math class.
Silly little mistakes constantly drag the average student’s grades down.
Forgetting a negative sign can be the difference between a right answer and a wrong answer.
This is a problem that most students attempt to solve by slowing down but slowing down brings its own problems.
Slowing down just decreases your enthusiasm, it doesn’t challenge you into becoming more skilled, and it can stress you out.
There is a better way. Be quick…
If you’re paying attention to the next parts of this strategy then you won’t suck in math class because of those silly little mistakes.
2. But Be Painfully Redundant
Instead of slowing down through your math assignments, speed up and look for any way to check your own work while you’re doing it.
In algebra, there are virtually always good ways that you can double check your answers after you get them.
You can just plug the answer into the equation to see if it balances out.
Always take advantage of these methods of checking your work.
They allow you to get better through additional practice, keep moving quickly while ensuring you get the right answer, and show the teacher that you did your due diligence.
Overall, you’ll produce more work on your paper but you’ll spend less time on the problems.
When you know you’re going to be checking your work, you can speed through the problems at a pace that you’re not used to.
You can’t suck in math class if you check your work until you get the answer right.
Time is your only restraint.
That’s why you should go fast.
This extra work on your paper also helps when you’re looking for…
3. Be Partial To Partial Credit
Always show every bit of work you can show. You may not need to write everything down but write it down anyway
Everyone makes mistakes. In math class, one of the biggest lifesavers you have is partial credit.
Write all your work and you’ll get significantly more points for your mistakes.
Also, in situations where you have a tight deadline for your questions, it may be worth trying to solve everything before you even find the write answer for earlier problems.
That means you’ll have a chance at partial credit for every single problem.
That leads to one of the most important things to realize about math.
4. It’s Process Oriented As Hell
In virtually every other class, the methods you use to reach your conclusion have a whole lot of room for playing around.
In English class, you can write persuasive essays filled with logical fallacies and still get full credit because the teacher doesn’t really care how you reached your conclusions.
The teacher cares more about how you’re presenting them.
Good essays have almost nothing to do with the process.
Even skipping the traditional essay writing strategies you can create a great essay.
In most English classes, students are taught to outline their essays but most of those same classes don’t actually grade their students on whether or not they wrote an outline for their essay.
They may teach the process but there is very little incentive to actually use it.
Math is almost all about following a process.
It’s usually best learned through practice.
If you want to get more skilled at doing it then you practice it like you practice any other skill.
Past a certain level, it’s no longer about epiphanies.
It slowly becomes a matter of solving problems through following a step by step procedure.
Learn the processes and practice them.
It needs to be done.
You would suck at any process oriented thing if you never were willing to put the time in to learn them.
You will suck in math if you don’t spend the time to practice.
Some things prevent this from being possible though.
5. Keep Up Or Catch Up (Or Suck)
You need to stay up to date in math class.
Math is one of the few classes where missing one or two classes can be absolutely devastating for a grade.
Most processes in math are not all that complicated when you’re prepared to handle them.
They’re basic procedures that just need to be followed step by step.
The problem is that those steps stack on top of each other. Teachers don’t reteach you every step they taught you before.
You’re expected to know those previous steps.
If you don’t, your grade will suffer the consequences.
You will suck in math because you sucked at it in the past.
Math is process oriented and it’s also unusually focused on this…
6. Understanding Is The Master Key
We write a lot about the difference between understanding and memorization on this blog. You might want to read: When To Memorize And When To Understand
In math class, memorization is useless.
In almost every situation, knowing how the process works will give you all the memorization you need to solve the problem.
You need to understand the subject to get anywhere.
Memorization is only a tiny and (almost) completely ignorable factor.
Most equations can be derived from other equations easier than they can be remembered.
Math is one of the classes where you should complete at least enough homework to prove you know what you’re doing.
You should do at least the first and last question of each kind of problem on your assignments.
If you get those without any big problems then you can think about cutting some work for efficiency’s sake.
After understanding you can worry about…
7. The Safe Way To Skip Stuff
While you should be doing at least some of most homework assignments you receive.
Math classes are one of the most common classes to have massively inefficient homework assignments.
Most math classes have homework virtually every night.
Often, homework is only a small percentage of your grade.
That homework might not be worth doing consistently for the points you get for them.
If you understand a homework assignment and you can prove the homework assignment isn’t particularly valuable for your grade then you can consider skipping it.
Practice doesn’t hurt but if you have better things to do then you’d be crazy to waste your time doing hour long assignments that aren’t worth a notable change to your final grade.
Completing boring and unproductive work will just encourage you to continue to suck in math class.
By focusing more on your important assignments you can appreciate the positives of math a whole lot easier.
While you’re working on these assignments you should consider the importance of this last factor.
8. Neatness Offers A Surprising Result
There are very few classes that you have something you can screw up based on not being particularly neat.
Sure… In virtually every class, you lose points through being messier.
Teachers don’t like messy students.
Messy students instantly categorize themselves with lazy students.
Not only that but messy students make the teacher’s job dramatically harder.
That’s not the way to win over your teachers.
In math class, the problem goes even farther than this.
A big chunk of those silly mistakes like forgetting negative signs come down to a student’s miserable handwriting.
If a student is randomly squeezing in numbers and signs, they’re much less likely to catch some awkwardly placed aspect of their problem.
That means they can lose characters and end up getting the wrong answer.
Poor penmanship is a terrible excuse to suck in math.
While redundancy will, ideally, correct this problems, when you don’t have time for redundancy, you’ll be happy you at least tried to work neat.
There is a balance to neatness.
You don’t need to look like you’re typing your assignments but you shouldn’t be letting it hold you back.
Math isn’t the only area that this blog might be able to help you.
You don’t have to suck in math or english or any other class that you’re required to take.
This is an absolutely essential read for anyone on this blog.
I’m about 4 hours away from something big.
The story began a decade ago when I first started to share my study strategies with other students.
I had figured out the Holy Grail of academic optimization strategies – and every intermediate step to get to it. Using this strategy, I pulled a nearly 4.0 GPA while running a double course load in college – and once I started sharing it.
Droves of them.
And then teachers noticed.
Most of the teachers that were looking out for their student’s best interest got what I was saying and supported the cause. Others… well… not everyone has the student’s best interest at heart.
Early on (even before Smart Student Secrets,) I started writing for average students.
I knew… I was NEVER one of the “smart kids”. I was mediocre at best. And I knew, if these strategies worked for me then they could work for just about anybody. And that’s who I wanted to connect with.
But… There was a problem…
I built an audience giving these strategies away. Sure…
And I’d get messages from them. And we’d talk. And I’d hear their stories.
I’d hear from A+ students that cut their study time by 90%.
I’d hear from B students that took their grades up to A’s.
I’d hear from teachers that were sharing my strategies with their students.
I’d hear from older students how these strategies changed their life.
I love it. I love introducing these strategies that changed my life to other people.
But there was always this… but…
What about the C students?
What about the D students?
What about the students that are currently failing?
Sure… Some would reach out.. but…
They never followed through… They’d take a small step. They’d sign up. They’d learn some killer strategies. Seeing right there how powerful they were going to be…
And then… life kicks in. They lose sight of their goals.
And it’s gone.
Student’s came to this site to improve their life. They see the possibilities. But then… they move on.
In about 4 hours, I’m going to be introducing something – an email subscriber exclusive – that can help change that.
It’s going to make more Smart Students than at any other time in this site’s history.
If you’re ready to take your academic game to the next level – if you want to see it for yourself.
Write your email in the box. Check the confirmation you want emails. Confirm your email. And see for yourself.