MAKING FRIENDS WITH MATH

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1 MAKING FRIENDS WITH MATH Workshop sponsored by: The Dr. Mack Gipson, Jr., Tutorial and Enrichment Center Presented by: Carole Overton, Director The Dr. Mack Gipson, Jr., Tutorial and Enrichment Center Gipson Building Paine College

2 Dr. Mack Gipson, Jr., Tutorial and Enrichment Center MATHEMATICS SURVEY There are many reasons why students might have trouble in math class. Some students may feel defeated by math or may not like the subject. Others may have poor classroom performance, homework habits, or poor or ineffective study skills. Sometimes, students do not prepare for math tests effectively or experience feelings of test anxiety during their math tests. Whatever the reason why you are feeling challenged by your math class, this survey can help you identify some reasons why you are having trouble. As you work to correct those areas or skills that show up as needing improvement, you will see your performance in math improve. Respond to each of the items in the survey by circling the number that best describes your performance in math. When you are done, add up your scores for each section. Then read the directions for scoring the survey on page 5 of this packet to find out how effective your math study skills are. The Dr. Mack Gipson, Jr., Tutorial and Enrichment Center, Paine College, Augusta, GA Prepared by Carole D. Overton, Director page 11

3 STATEMENT I. Attitude and Approach in Mathematics Courses disagree agree 1. I usually believe that I can do well in mathematics courses. 2. I am usually enthusiastic about learning in mathematics courses. 3. I believe that I am good at math. 4. I work persistently in a mathematics course, regardless of how well I do on the tests. 5. I usually enjoy taking mathematics courses. II. Classroom and Homework Habits SECTION TOTAL 1. I always attend my math classes. 2. I always arrive at class on time. 3. I am always prepared for class: I bring my pens/pencils, textbook, notebook, paper, homework, calculator (if allowed), and/or any other necessary materials. 4. I always try to participate in class. 5. I sit in the front of the room. 6. I always have my own book for the entire semester. (I do not try to share a book with someone else or to get through the entire semester without having a book at all.) 7. I always pay attention in math class, no matter how I feel or how difficult I think the material is. 8. I usually find it easy to understand what goes on in mathematics classes. 9. If I do not understand something in class, I ask the teacher about it. 10. I usually take clear and complete notes in mathematics classes. 11. I take organized notes and keep them in an organized notebook. 12. I usually I re-read my class notes carefully before each class. 13. I always make a serious effort to do my homework before the next class. 14. If I have questions arising from the homework, I ask my teacher, a tutor, or another student for help. 15. I find a way to check my solutions to homework problems before the next class. 16. I frequently discuss homework and class notes with other students from my class, but only after I have tried to solve or understand the by myself. 17. If I have trouble understanding the textbook, I find other ways to master the concepts. 18. Even if I understand most of what goes on in class, I carefully do all of the homework assignment before the next class. 19. I actually read the explanations in my math textbook before I try to do the problems. The Dr. Mack Gipson, Jr., Tutorial and Enrichment Center, Paine College, Augusta, GA Prepared by Carole D. Overton, Director page 22

4 STATEMENT 20. I use a different color ink to mark the corrections on my tests once they are returned to me, and I use those tests to help me study. 21. If I have I trouble with the class lecture, my notes, my homework, or my test preparation, I know where I can get help. 22. When I am confused about something related to my math class, I ask for help from my teacher, the Tutorial and Enrichment Center, another tutoring program on campus, or a good math student. 23. If I make appointments to get help from my teacher, a tutor, or a friend, I keep all of those appointments and try to follow the suggestions that I receive in each help session. III. Mathematics Test Preparation Habits SECTION TOTAL disagree agree 1. I never leave most of my studying for the test until the day before the test. Instead, I start studying at least one week before a test and at least two weeks before the final exam. 2. I obtain or make a list of all of the topics that may appear on the test. 3. I study all possible topics that I might be tested on, even if I believe that the teacher is unlikely to include such topics on the test. 4. I study one topic at a time until I master it. I practice solving sample problems and then check my answers to make sure I am right. If I am not right, I work to find out what my mistakes were. 5. I work on only one topic until I master it, and only then do I go on to the next topic. 6. I make sure that I master every topic that might be on the test. 7. After I study for the test, I make sure I can correctly explain to another student how to solve all of the types of problems that may appear on the test. 8. I always study well enough not just to pass or to score in the 70s or 80s. Instead, I always study well enough to aim at scoring 100% on the test. 9. For each type of problem, I can describe the typical errors a student might make in solving such a problem. 10. I can identify the types of problems on a test or worksheet, even when the problems are placed in random order. 11. Even though I attend class every day, take complete notes, and do all of the assigned homework, I make an additional special effort to study for the test. 12. I make up practice tests using problems and questions from my textbook, class notes, past tests and quizzes, and/or other resources. I write the answers to all problems on the practice test without looking at the solutions. 13. I usually know the material so well that I enjoy taking the test. SECTION TOTAL The Dr. Mack Gipson, Jr., Tutorial and Enrichment Center, Paine College, Augusta, GA Prepared by Carole D. Overton, Director page 33

5 STATEMENT IV. Mathematics Test-Taking Habits disagree agree 1. I get plenty of rest the night before a math test. 2. I eat well-balanced meals at mealtimes on the day of my test (instead of skipping meals or just eating junk food). 3. I arrive in class early on the day of a test so that I can get settled, organize my thoughts, and do some relaxation exercises. 4. I always bring what I need to take the test: pencils/pens, paper, calculator, textbook, notebook, etc. 5. I always look over the test before I start answering any questions so that I know how long it is, what types of questions are given, and how many points they are worth. 6. I always budget my time so that I have a chance to make the most of the time available for the test and to earn the highest grade possible. 7. I start a test by answering the questions I know I can do well, even if that means that I do not start with question #1 or that I answer the questions out of order. 8. I try to make good use of my time while taking a test. 9. If I find that a problem is too hard, I put a mark by it, skip it until I have tried all of the other questions, and then go back to try it again if I have time. 10. When I take a test, I always read the directions carefully and listen to any directions the teacher gives us. 11. I always save a few minutes at the end of the test period to review my answers. 12. I always try to be neat as I solve the problems and as I write my answers. 13. I try to show all of my work because the teacher may give partial credit even if my final answer is not correct. 14. If I find I that I have finished the test before the end of the test period, I use the remaining time to double-check my work, make sure all of my answers are easy to read, and/or work on the problems that were difficult, instead of turning in my paper and leaving the room. Adapted from: Smith, R. M. (1994). Mastering mathematics: How to be a great math student (2 nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. The Dr. Mack Gipson, Jr., Tutorial and Enrichment Center, Paine College, Augusta, GA Prepared by Carole D. Overton, Director page 44

6 SCORING THE SURVEY If you have not done so already, add up your scores in each of the 4 sections of the test. (Add up the numbers you have circled.) Write the total for a section in the space labeled SECTION TOTAL below that section. Then find your total score for each section on the chart below and analyze your performance based on your score. Keep in mind that any item for which you scored less than 5 is an area in which you could make improvements. (Each item was written to describe what a successful math student would do; if you want to be successful in math, you should try to follow the successful student s plan.) I. Attitude and Approach in Mathematics Courses 22 or over You approach a mathematics course with a healthy attitude that tends to help you do well in the course. Your attitude and approach are not causing you problems. 18 to 21 Your attitude does not greatly handicap you in a mathematics course, but you could definitely improve it. A better attitude might mean better grades! 17 or below It is very likely that your attitude about math has been a major stumbling block in your efforts to doing well in a mathematics course. Work to improve your attitude and approach to math by reading each item in the first section of the survey and trying to make those habits and attitudes your own. Having a more positive attitude and a more effective approach to math will make a big difference in your performance. If you would like help in doing this, make an appointment with a tutor in the Tutorial and Enrichment Center. II. Classroom and Homework Habits 78 or over Your classwork and homework efforts are good, and you do not need much improvement in this area. 39 to or below Your classwork and homework preparation are about average. You can definitely make improvements in your preparation that will help you do better in math. Your weak classwork and homework habits may be have a lot to do with why you are having trouble in math class. You have to make significant improvements in this area. Read each of the items in the second section of the survey and try to follow each of those successful student habits. Better and more effective classroom and homework habits will help you achieve success. If you would like help in doing this, make an appointment with a tutor in the Tutorial and Enrichment Center. The Dr. Mack Gipson, Jr., Tutorial and Enrichment Center, Paine College, Augusta, GA Prepared by Carole D. Overton, Director page 55

7 III. Mathematics Test Preparation Habits 57 or over Your test preparation habits may be excellent. If you have circled any number less than 5, however, look at that statement again for clues on how to improve these habits. 43 to 56 Although you have no extreme test preparation problems, you can definitely improve your test preparation habits. Read the items in this section of the survey, focusing on any statement for which your score was less than 5. Those are skills which you should try to improve. 42 or below Your test preparation habits in math courses can be and should be greatly improved. If you are also weak in classroom and homework habits, improving those skills may also improve your ability to prepare more effectively for math tests. To find out what you can do to better prepare for tests, read each of the items in the third section of the survey and try to follow each of those successful student habits. If you would like help in doing this, make an appointment with a tutor in the Tutorial and Enrichment Center. IV. Mathematics Test-Taking Habits 62 or over Your test-taking habits may be very good. If you have circled any number less than 5, however, look at that statement again for clues on how to improve these habits. 46 to or below Although you may have no extreme test-taking problems in math, you can definitely improve your test-taking habits. If you have circled any number less than 5, look at that statement again for clues on how to improve these habits. Your test-taking habits in math can be and should be greatly improved. Better test-taking habits will help you achieve higher grades and make you feel more successful in math. It is also likely that improving your classroom, homework and test-preparation habits will help you takes tests more successfully. To find out what you can do to better prepare for tests, read each of the items in the fourth section of the survey and try to follow each of those successful student habits. If you would like help in doing this, make an appointment with a tutor in the Tutorial and Enrichment Center. Trying to improve your performance in math does not require a magic cure. You have the tools right here, under your fingertips. You can use this survey as a guide to tell you how you can make changes in your skills and your approach to math. Following these suggestions can make YOU one of the successful math students we have been talking about! Remember, the tutors in the Dr. Mack Gipson, Jr., Tutorial and Enrichment Center are here to help you make these changes. Make an appointment with a tutor if you would like some help. We know you can do it! Good luck! The Dr. Mack Gipson, Jr., Tutorial and Enrichment Center, Paine College, Augusta, GA Prepared by Carole D. Overton, Director page 66

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