In this article, we explain the 7 essential steps it takes for students to make an A Grade in math, from going to class on time, asking relevant questions, mastering concepts one at a time, writing out example problems on the board, and more. There’s no need to fall behind or make less than an A in math when the steps to success are right in front of you.

Math is one of those tricky subjects which can be conquered by anyone as long as they understand the concepts. Here are a few proven learning strategies that guarantee your success in the field, no matter what your skill is in subject itself. 

Step 1: Go to Class 

Unlike other classes that rely heavily on discussion (English, for example), math is completely dependent on your ability to master one concept at a time. Math is sequential. Miss one, or even two classes, and you will be lost grasping for concepts with little to hold onto. In order to succeed in math, go to every class. Sit in the front row to avoid all distractions. Always be on time or early to class, and you will earn the attention of your instructor without missing any material. Stay engaged, improve your attentiveness, and ask as many questions as you can so you can be ready for the test.

Step 2: Do Your Homework Daily

This may seem like a no-brainer, but devoting yourself to the study of your material every single day is ignored by many students. Students simply cannot study for a math class the day before the exam and expect to make an A. Spend time in the material after class going over notes, quizzes, and reading material from the textbook. Professionals recommend at least three hours for every one hour of class. And the best method, studying straight after class, can not only help you to get ahead in class, but stay on top of your work and without lagging behind. Remember that no one can study for you – you must be the one to learn the material, quiz yourself, and “know before you go” to the test. By the time you are finished studying, you should be able to do your homework in your sleep.  

Step 3: Master the Material Before Moving On

Part of studying for the exam means mastering each ounce of material before moving on to the next subject. If a student is studying algebra and struggles with quadratic equations, how can he or she progress any further without mastering the basics of a quadratic equation? And if your own textbook, workbook, or class notes do not help, seek counsel – an online math tutor or other resource may benefit in mastering a single concept. But don’t give up until you’ve got it. Again, time is of the essence. Some students out of their own frustration skip to the next topic before mastering an old one, but this is a surefire way to fail your exam in class. If you have a DVD section, example, tutor, or book – use it! Skimming through the difficult concepts is not what A students do when they want to do well on their exams.

Step 4: Ask Questions as They Come Up 

Students have very valid questions to ask when it comes to understanding a math concept, but many go unasked. If you do not understand something in your homework, such as a polynomial, ask your teacher and let them explain it to you. They will be able to help. Nothing is more embarrassing than an “F” on an exam, so don’t feel like your question outweighs the embarrassment of asking it. Attend any tutoring sessions if necessary and get the answers you need to your homework questions so you don’t have to struggle later during the exam.

Step 5: Write out the Example Problems the Teacher Puts on the Board

For the simple reason that these questions are likely to be the ones on the exam, write out these problems on the board in your own homework or note paper. This is extremely important, since the problems solved in class accompanied by the memory of your teacher’s explanation will help you to remember the material and answer the question in case it does appear on the test. If you struggle with a math problem from class, it is likely that you will continue to do so in your own homework time.

Step 6: Check the Problems in Your Homework

Again, when going over homework, each and every workbook question is important. After you’ve done your best, check the answer and observe how it ended up that way. If there is an example section in your textbook or DVD, go over it to check your homework. Or, if the answers are in the back of the book, look there. Go from easy to difficult, tracing the way an equation is solved along the way, and you will get there.

Working problems over and over, and checking them thoroughly, is the way to mastery. This method will not let you down on test day.

Step 7: Check Your Work

During the test, when you approach a problem and answer it, make sure you go back and check (if time allows) before turning in the test. If you want an A and not an A-, this simple step could make all the difference. Don’t move forward without checking, and double-checking, your work to make sure all is well. That way you can be sure that the test you turn in is truly your best effort.


Author's Bio: 

Sarah is a Dallas-based journalist who writes local news, blogs and content for media outlets and marketing companies around the world. She’s contributed to KUT Radio, 91.7 KVRX and South by Southwest and has worked with international teams in Japan, China, Italy and Africa. An avid researcher, she has written high school history curriculum for Fusion Academy and has written this post for live math help in educational media.