# Three Steps to Improve Math Grades

For years I have wondered why so many people hate math. I tell them math is nothing more than a puzzle; sometimes very simple, sometimes very elaborate. If they like puzzles, they should like math. I realize not everyone likes puzzles. But not to worry, anyone can improve math grades by following these three basic steps:

An exasperated friend once told me after a math test, “It’s like a foreign language.” (Actually math is the universal language; everything from music to astronomy can be reduced to mathematical relationships.) But she was right. Math is a language and just as when you learn any language, you need to learn the alphabet first.

In math the alphabet can be reduced to addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Everything proceeds in an orderly manner from there, but you can’t jump in midstream. A strong foundation is absolutely necessary. In order to improve math grades, make sure you know the mathematical “alphabet” before you try to read the language of math.

If this means going back and relearning the basics again, you must do it! I know sometimes embarrassment can be an issue, especially with younger students, but in the long run, it will speed up their progress exponentially while at the same time reduce their frustration level. This is one area where a skilled tutor can be an invaluable resource.

Improve Math Grades Step #2- CHECK YOUR WORK!

One of the great things about math is that you can always check your answer by performing the opposite operation or inserting the answer into the original problem. You know if it is correct before you turn in your test or homework. What other subject allows you to do that?

Unfortunately, it has been my experience that most students don’t check their answers, even when the teacher makes it part of the homework assignment. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Write out the check. This alone can result in a marked improvement in your grades.

Improve Math Grades Step #3- SHOW YOUR WORK

As I mentioned earlier, math proceeds in a series of orderly steps and you can use this progression to your advantage. Resist the temptation to just write down answers without writing down the intermediary steps. Not only will it give you the opportunity to get partial credit, but it will also ingrain the process in your mind. Thinking logically will become second nature and will improve math grades! Improve Math Grades Step #1- A SOLID FOUNDATION

An exasperated friend once told me after a math test, “It’s like a foreign language.” (Actually math is the universal language; everything from music to astronomy can be reduced to mathematical relationships.) But she was right. Math is a language and just as when you learn any language, you need to learn the alphabet first.

In math the alphabet can be reduced to addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Everything proceeds in an orderly manner from there, but you can’t jump in midstream. A strong foundation is absolutely necessary. In order to improve math grades, make sure you know the mathematical “alphabet” before you try to read the language of math.

If this means going back and relearning the basics again, you must do it! I know sometimes embarrassment can be an issue, especially with younger students, but in the long run, it will speed up their progress exponentially while at the same time reduce their frustration level. This is one area where a skilled tutor can be an invaluable resource.

Improve Math Grades Step #2- CHECK YOUR WORK!

One of the great things about math is that you can always check your answer by performing the opposite operation or inserting the answer into the original problem. You know if it is correct before you turn in your test or homework. What other subject allows you to do that?

Unfortunately, it has been my experience that most students don’t check their answers, even when the teacher makes it part of the homework assignment. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Write out the check. This alone can result in a marked improvement in your grades.

Improve Math Grades Step #3- SHOW YOUR WORK

As I mentioned earlier, math proceeds in a series of orderly steps and you can use this progression to your advantage. Resist the temptation to just write down answers without writing down the intermediary steps. Not only will it give you the opportunity to get partial credit, but it will also ingrain the process in your mind. Thinking logically will become second nature and will improve math grades! Improve Math Grades Step #1- A SOLID FOUNDATION