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Academic Guidance Academic Guidance - Academic guidance for those pursuing a college degree... what college? Grad school? PhD help?


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January 18th, 2017, 08:47 AM   #1
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How do you study for a maths exam?

Hello, first of all i want to say sorry for my bad english. I am studing now for my final exams in thee degree of maths and i want ask, how do you study for a exam? Do you only read your notes of the course? Do you use books? Only do exercises? Do you do your own notes?...

thanks for all!
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January 18th, 2017, 09:35 AM   #2
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Math Focus: Physics, mathematical modelling, numerical and computational solutions
All three

Everyone studies differently, but here's what worked for me:

Before your exam...

1. Leave at least 2 weeks of study time before your exams to revise (I prefer 3 personally, but 4 or 5 is a little overkill). SUPER IMPORTANT. Don't start revising the day before your exam!
2. Also super important... you're going to make mistakes. Even if you make tons of mistakes, don't worry, you're doing fine!
3. Make sure you have a nice environment to study in. If your home has people running about making crap loads of noise all the time and constantly asking you for attention, go to the library (or anywhere quiet where you can concentrate).
4. Revise for at least 5-6 hours each day (including weekends), but take it easy, don't feel super pressured about making progress, take regular 10-15 min breaks to relax, get food, drink coffee, whatever. Leave your evenings free and get plenty of sleep each day. Discipline yourself a little bit... try to avoid going out too much and look after your self (don't get drunk and/or stay out until 4am because you'll feel terrible!)

5. For each exam topic...
i) Compile a 'cheat sheet' that contains on 2 to 4 sides of A4 paper a summary of the most important formulae, theorems and other facts and bits of knowledge. Typically in maths exams you'll be given a formula sheet, so try to keep the contents of the cheat sheet to things you will need to know rather than just a big list of formulae. You'll need to read over your lecture notes and textbooks to find out those facts. Feel free to use coloured pens, drawings, stickers, highlighters... the cheat sheet is only for you and nobody else, so make it in your own style. Besides, it can be fun (sometimes!).
ii) get hold of past exam papers and try them out. Try to identify questions with the same theme in different exam papers so you have an idea what's going to be on the next one. For each theme, the questions will be easy or hard...
- if a question is easy... good for you! Do a couple more (with some variants) now and the next day to see if you remember how to do them after a night's sleep.
- if a question is a bit tricky... okay... try it again. Then try a tougher version of the same problem. Then try both of those again the next day. Look at your cheat sheet if you need to, but try to make sure you don't need it (it's a last resort).
- if a question is tough, look over the example problems and try to see where you went wrong. Making mistakes is absolutely fine... it lets you spot where you need to work to improve (which is the most important thing). Try the problem again, but remember where you made the mistake and try not to repeat it. If you start making small mistakes (minus signs, arithmetic errors... really small things), try the problem again but keep your notes hidden (resist the temptation to look at the answers). Repetition is the key, where each time you try the problem, try to see what mistake was made and try not to repeat it.
- if a question is impossible (no idea where to start), look for similar example problems in a textbook, old homework tasks, old exam papers or your lecture notes and look over the method. Read through it and try the exercises. If these don't exist, ask a friend, mentor, tutor or lecturer about getting hold of some. You can also try the internet . Hopefully... the question becomes tough, but not impossible.

6. Don't forget to repeat questions (with your answers hidden away) you've already done on consecutive days. This is important, but I won't put it in bold
7. Don't stop. Revising isn't exactly joyful, but you'll feel better for it once you've done it because you'll be able to go into your exams feeling a bit more confident because you're prepared, so keep doing it in the knowledge that the exam will be less painful.

On the day of your exam...

8. Double-check the venues and times/dates before your exam period starts. If any announcements are made about changes in venue or time, write them down and double-check them again.
9. Get plenty of sleep. If you're finding it difficult to sleep, rest up anyway or read some fiction in bed... don't stay up late revising because it'll just make you feel tired and worn out.
10. Get up in plenty of time, leave early and arrive early. Try to be at the venue at least 30 mins before the exam starts. Take your cheat sheet for that exam topic with you in a bag.
11. Because you arrived early, you'll be bored. Use that time to scan over your cheat sheet, over and over. Treat it a bit like a memory game and maybe do some simple questions (that you've already done) in a notebook. Otherwise, just chat with friends, get a drink...
12. Do NOT take your cheat sheet into the exam. You'll get accused of cheating and it's not worth it. Put it in your bag and leave it outside the exam hall.


After the exam...
13. If you have any more exams that day, prepare for those in the same way. If you have some spare time, relax... get some lunch or something
14. If you're done for the day... woohoo! You did it! Blow off some steam! Either go home and relax, go for lunch with some friends or get a couple of drinks... whatever's good for you.
15. If your exam didn't go very well, forget about it... there's little you can do about it. Concentrate on the next exams coming up. The exam that sucked is a problem for a future you!

And lastly....
16 ...don't get drunk until your last exam. Trust me on this one
Thanks from entropiah

Last edited by Benit13; January 18th, 2017 at 09:39 AM.
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January 18th, 2017, 09:45 AM   #3
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Thank you so much for your time and work you are very helpfull because i dont have to much habit of study and i want to improve at maths. i have decided to be a good mathematician in the future and i want to start with this exams and then i will post something asking about how to continue. Thank you so much.
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