Maths is the subject which always seems to have the most students running out of ideas when it comes to revision. You either ‘get it’ or you don’t, right? Well, not quite. Maths, just like any other subject, is a learned skill. That means revising maths in specific ways will lead to improvement over time and better performances in your exams. So here are three ways to make your maths revision more effective.
1. Test instead of read
Maths is a subject which requires you to get your hands dirty. You get out what you put in. It’s tempting to glance over equations and graphs and quickly convince yourself you’d be able to answer similar types of questions in the exam. When you catch yourself doing this – slow down. It’s been proven time and again that the way we truly internalise knowledge is through regular testing.
Practice doesn’t just apply to the questions either. You’ll need to practise recalling the various theories, proofs and formulas which can be applied in the exam. Practise checking over your work and spotting errors in your workings – this will save you a load of marks in the exam. Also practise using your calculator, it sounds silly, but the students who know their way around a calculator well are going to be able to use it the most effectively in an exam.
Running out of ways to test yourself? Try these study tips supported by science.
2. Interleave practice
Don’t just practice the topics you can do. If you are really good at ratios, for example, it is very tempting to keep doing lots of ratios questions and enjoying that feel good feeling. But we all know that’s not how the exam is going to be. In an exam different types of questions are mixed in amongst each other. We need to train like it’s the real thing.
We can take some inspiration from sports training methods here. It’s a well known coaching technique to change exercises just as athletes and sports people become proficient in a skill. This more effectively replicates game play and makes the most efficient use of training time as the amount of improvement decreases once the skill can be performed at a relatively proficient level.
Train like an exam athlete. Do a ratio question, then a line graph, then some pythagoras. Or you could learn how to study like one with The Exam Coach.
3. “The journey of a thousand miles beigns with one step’ – Lao Tzu
So, how exactly does this ancient Chinese proverb help you revise maths more effectively I hear you ask?
Well, it’s simple really, maths can be seen as a series of steps. Every maths question can be broken down into a different set of processes the student needs to complete in order to find the correct answer.
Students are often put off by questions because they convince themselves it looks too difficult. For every question you do this year try thinking about just the first step. This way, you’ll start to break the questions down into manageable chunks and your confidence will rise.
Consistently doing the little things right everyday is the key to exam success. That’s how students achieve great grades across many different subjects. If you want to start your journey today check out the 7 day exam plan by The Exam Coach.