How to excel at college math
7 mins read

How to excel at college math

Math can be such a doozie at any level. But it doesn’t have to be. In this post, I have shared tips on how to excel at college math. In truth, however, these tips should work for math at any level. 

I have made a point to attach my unauthorized transcript on my LinkedIn profile for credibility purposes and if you were to take a look, you would see that in lower-level college math 1 & college math 2 I scored a C+ in both, only to make the ultimate comeback by scoring an A* in college math 3. 

In this post, I’m sharing the tips I used to excel in college math and score an A+.

How to become an A+ college math student

1. Attend your classes 

For me to excel at college math, I had to make attendance mandatory for myself. You have to do the same if you are serious about scoring that A*. 

The reason why attendance is so important when your goal is to excel at college math is that each class builds upon a concept that had been previously introduced.

Attending all your college math classes will make sure that you are always in attendance when the concepts are building upon each other. This way, your understanding will be like a puzzle in which all the pieces are present.

Using that same analogy, missing classes create missing puzzle pieces in your puzzle of understanding, and this all affects how you perform in your C.A.Ts and exams.

2. Sit at the front of the class

Sitting at the front of the class is something else I had to do and something that I recommend you do as well.

Why is this important?

I’m so glad you asked. Sitting at the front of the class is important for various reasons. The first being that you are less likely to be distracted.

I’m not sure what part of the world you’re reading this from however in Africa we don’t have the nerve to use our phones while the lecture is in session while were seated right at the front of the class.

By this logic, seating in the front of the class you have no choice but to be attentive throughout the class.

Being attentive throughout the class makes sure you get all the concepts clearly and the puzzle can come together with ease.

3. Practice! Practice! Practice!

Math is not a spectator sport.

Who said that? Doesn’t matter. Whoever they were, they were right! If you wish to excel at college math, you need to practice and practice a lot.

The way that I was able to excel at college math was that it was the one subject that semester I dedicated time to daily. Every day of the week I practiced Monday through Sunday and then repeat.

I mean, I was also serious about getting the highest score possible and that fueled and kept me disciplined throughout, and you’ll need that too to excel at college math.

4. Understand the building blocks

Attendance and sitting at the front of the class all help you with this.

For you to truly excel at college math, you really must understand the building blocks. This is not a humanities subject, you can’t simply cram and keep moving.

You need to really try and understand every concept because in college it isn’t your answer they’re after, they want to see how you work out the problem. How you follow one step at a time and carefully and deliberately get to an answer.

For this reason, you must understand the building blocks of each concept for you to excel at college math. However, what happens when you don’t understand a concept?

5. Consult your professor

I’m so glad you asked that. 

When you have a concept you don’t understand, you need to consult your professor. You’re paying them to, remember? You, therefore, are entitled to understand every concept. 

Be sure to take full advantage of those consultation hours. Bother them until you understand what each concept means as well as how it is applied.

Consultation is also a great way to build a great rapport with your professor which is a whole blog post on its own which I shall link here for you to read in case you wish to build a professional relationship with your college professors.

6. Practice tests and exams

The final thing for you to do is to practice using actual exams. You need to see how various concepts are tested in an exam setting.

The only way for you to do that is to practice these concepts from past papers. You can get these directly from your professor, or you can get them from your course advising office.

If you don’t know how great the course advising office is and that course advisors are like college genies, then please read this post to get enlightened.

Also, while you practice using past papers, check the time on it and time yourself using the recommended time on the paper. This will help you a ton before the exams come around.

Come exam day, you’ll be sure to excel in your college math.

Here are a few free resources to help you out.

https://www.varsitytutors.com/example-clep_college_math-problems 

College Math

https://www.mccc.edu/pdf/pretest_college-math.pdf

https://www.barton.edu/pdf/math/practice-math-placement-test.pdf

I shall conclude by saying that nothing good happens on its own. If you wish to get that A* you really must put in the work. 

However, don’t get discouraged. It is possible to do it. I mean, I had two C pluses in lower college math classes, so what gave me the nerve to think that I could score an A* in top-level math?

Me that’s who. 

I had to decide for myself that I would try and achieve what I hadn’t achieved before. It came with a lot of sacrifice and growth and maturity on my part. I even went to campus when I was seriously sick with the flu [Pre-corona] just to make sure that I didn’t miss a single class.    

I had to be serious about my goal and that seriousness definitely paid off if you’re serious too and follow these simple tips, I guarantee you will see results. Not only that, but I guarantee it. 

How do I know? Because I did it. I was able to excel at college math, and you can too.

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