Homework is generally considered vital in achieving good grades. It not only allows the teacher to see where the student requires help, but also consolidates what the student has learned during the day. Mathematics is one of the more difficult subjects. It is a complex subject, often taught at high speed. It combines the requirement to follow rules with the need for flexible thinking: in order to follow the rules first you’ve got to work out which rule to apply.

Some hints to help you get started.

  1. First and most important: do not put off doing the work. Yes it looks difficult, but the harder the problem is the more time it is going to take to solve it. Trying to complete your work at the last minute will only cause you to hand in work that is less than your best.
  2. Math is not a subject you can do while watching your favorite TV show. Switch off anything that is a possible distraction. However helpful it may be to have a computer on to help you look up solutions it is just another temptation to procrastinate.
  3. Have dedicated homework space, where you have everything close at hand. Having to get up and collect your calculator is only going to interrupt your chain of thought so place it ready.
  4. It is often easier to start work if you set aside the same time every day as your dedicated homework time.
  5. That problem looks impossible. There’s no way you can do it. Try reading over the problem again. In your rush to finish your work as fast as possible you might have miss-read keywords. Go over it again and highlight the important points.
  6. It still looks impossible? Are there parts of the problem you do understand? Highlight them so you are clear what you do know.
  7. Be absolutely sure you do not understand the parts that are remaining. Once you have sorted out what is unclear, then you can look up possible answers in the course book, or if necessary get your laptop and see how other people have approached the work. This is why you need to have plenty of time.
  8. A final thought. Pay attention in class. Your teacher set the homework, it is very likely he or she already gave you the answers.

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