Sunday, May 5, 2013

Getting Better Test Scores On Your Math Test

Mathematics (Photo credit: Terriko)
by Andrew Almeida

Do you or your children get bad math test scores? This article will teach you three techniques to do with how to get better math test scores.

The three techniques we will explore focus on the problem, testing the problem, and pacing yourself to finish.

Let's face it, math tests are not just a, b, c, and d bubble answer questions.

Math tests are usually a problem and then you have to "write out your work". So this article will not tell you to pick the best answer or choose the longest answer when in doubt.

Focusing on the problem is a major technique that will get you through the problem and also help pace yourself throughout the test.

The word "focus" says it all. Tune out the noises around you, the thoughts of our boyfriend or girlfriend, the "being cool by not knowing math" posture, and the anxiety of taking the test. I used to have anxiety during my physics test, but after learning the art of "focus" the anxiety went away.

The key to focusing on the problem is to read the problem a few times. Think of your solution and how you are going to get there and then carefully write out your work. If you need scratch paper, 99% of teachers encourage using scratch paper for thoughts.

If you absolutely cannot get to the answer, write down as much as you know to get the most credit possible for that question. Teachers do not just grade the answer. They also give points for the work you write down.

Testing the problem comes after focusing on the problem. In order to test the problem you must have focused on the problem and written down your work and have a rough answer. The answer might be "certain" in your eyes, but one tiny number or issue can make that problem wrong.

Yes, teachers give points for work, but they grade the heaviest on the right answer. Therefore testing the answer is a key technique in getting a better test score. So how do you test your answer?

Well, in mathematics both sides of the equal sign must be equal. So if A+B = C, then you know that C = A+B. Or A = C-B and B = C-A. They are equal because, well, they have to be. The equal sign is powerful and makes that true.

Therefore to test your work, plug in the numbers that you got and see if both sides of the equal sign are equal to each other.

For example: If the problem was 42/x + 7 = 28 and you did the problem to get X = 2, then in order for you to test it out, you would plug in 2 and get 42/2 + 7 = 28, and if you work through it, you will get that 28 = 28. Done.

The test is usually timed for the entire class period, and whether it is fifty minutes or an hour you must pace yourself.

The teacher isn't evil and will not make a test they feel cannot be finished within the time limit. They usually do the test themselves when they write it to see whether or not the test is good for time. So pacing yourself to finish is a key ingredient to a better test score.

If you do not know the answer to a question you would write down what you know, whether it is the formula, a strategy, or the start of the problem, and then move on. You should get a few points for your knowledge.

After you get through all of the problems on the test, you would go back and tackle the harder questions that stumped you before. Sometimes, by moving on and coming back, you will exercise your brain enough to recall the part that made you skip it to begin with.

Pacing yourself to finish the test is extremely important. Pacing comes with the experience of taking tests. To practice pacing, have your parent or use a text book and write out a test. Then take the test to practice pacing.

In conclusion, you will get a better math score (and pass) by following the three techniques in this article. Focus on the problem, test the problem, and pace yourself throughout the test, and you will surely get a better score!

Not everyone is perfect at math, so do not let that be a barrier or burden while you take the test. You may get some questions wrong, but remember the three techniques and you will do better.

Ask a math question and learn more about math tests at

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