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Blanking out on math tests? - February 17th 2009, 09:17 PM

I'm a good student and I do well on homework, and I understand the material, but when it comes to tests in any subject (but especially math). I totally blank.

We had a quiz last week on factoring, I couldn't factor the first problem. And it was a simple problem too, I felt like I tried every combination of numbers and none of them worked..

I'm not dumb, it's an honors class, I just don't understand why I bomb the tests. :[
   
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Re: Blanking out on math tests? - February 17th 2009, 09:28 PM

Too much stress during the tests.

When you do homework, give yourself a time limit and keep reducing the time limit to mimic the stressful environment. That, or just think it's a small quiz, so what? It's worth, I'm assuming less than 5% of your grade per quiz, so even if you do get a zero and cock it up, you can still pull off a 90+% final grade.
   
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Re: Blanking out on math tests? - February 17th 2009, 09:46 PM

Do lots of practice. Do more than the teacher assigns, so the problems feel like second nature to you.. that'll make you feel more confident on the tests. And with something like factoring, it does just take a lot of repetition.


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Re: Blanking out on math tests? - February 17th 2009, 10:10 PM

Hey there,

This happens to me sometimes too. I'll study a lot and then blank on the final test.

What I do is practice in a test scenario. Write yourself up a practice test and time yourself on it. That way you'll get used to how the test will be before you write it.

It might be a good idea to talk to your math teacher about this too. They might have some suggestions as well.

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Re: Blanking out on math tests? - February 17th 2009, 10:26 PM

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Originally Posted by St.Vincent View Post
Do lots of practice. Do more than the teacher assigns, so the problems feel like second nature to you.. that'll make you feel more confident on the tests. And with something like factoring, it does just take a lot of repetition.

I might have to try that, and if it doesn't work I don't know what I'll do.


YourNightmare- at this point there's no way to pull off any sort of 90% for my final grade, if anything I'll be lucky to get a B. :/ I have a 73% now, and hoping to bring it up with our test next week.
   
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Re: Blanking out on math tests? - February 17th 2009, 11:31 PM

Receiving a B is a solid grade, but try your best no matter what.

There are many times when I am taking math tests that I blank out and have no idea what I should do. When that happens, I take a couple of deep breaths, re-read the instruction, and take one problem at a time. I usually seek out the easy problems first and then work through the tough ones. Lastly, does your teacher allow you to make test corrections? If so, do test corrections because it will significantly help your final grade.


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Re: Blanking out on math tests? - February 17th 2009, 11:58 PM

no idea what a test correction is.

And the instructions just don't help much when it says something like "Solve. Use any method."
=//
   
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Re: Blanking out on math tests? - February 18th 2009, 12:02 AM

I know what you mean. Just keep the positive reinforcement in your mind going, that's the most important, I think. You can do this
Now. The best way to do this whole sha-bang, in my opinion, is to ask what kind of problems will be on the exam and from where. (They might come mostly from homework, practice exams, etc)..
Understanding is the key in math. Memorization will get you nowhere. In the end, that is. Dissect each problem in the homework and look at it from different angles. So you know this thing from the inside out.
What math are you taking? I'm in trig this year. So maybe I can help out. Anything up to Algebra 2 is a go for me. :P Best of luck. xx


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Re: Blanking out on math tests? - February 18th 2009, 02:28 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by nevertheone View Post
no idea what a test correction is.

And the instructions just don't help much when it says something like "Solve. Use any method."
=//
If it's factoring, there's not a whole lot of instructions to say. Just, factor or solve. I don't see what other instructions would be necessary.

I'm assuming, although this is more of a guess, that a test correction is if the teacher screws up an answer or question and you spot it out and justify it, so you get the credit for it.

Well, a 73% isn't a horrible grade but it's by no means an absolutely amazing grade.

Keep trying to do questions in the textbook or making up your own questions (that presumably are solvable) and time it.

If there is a particular question you're stuck on, post on these forums as many people could help get you the answer.

With factoring problems, the teacher could take it from many sources but it won't matter too much providing it's at the level you've learnt. I remember back in highschool, such as for geometry discrete mathematics (course no longer offered but very fun, all about lines and planes in 3-D, probability, etc..), the teacher usually took questions from our textbook but changed just a few minor details. He took a few others from elsewhere or just made them up. Same with calculus both in highschool and university (although in university, the professor took a fair bit from elsewhere).
   
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Re: Blanking out on math tests? - February 18th 2009, 01:24 PM

I had the same problem in my maths exam, it took my like 15min to factorise it, but you can always try it then do some other questions then come back to it. That really helped me a lot in the exam. If you want some extra questions you could always look around the next aswell, some sites do past papers or just random questions...


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Re: Blanking out on math tests? - February 18th 2009, 02:10 PM

I'm an A grade maths student and I suck at factorising, I can never figure out what the bloody numbers are! Try using the formula? Takes a little longer than it would to just factorise them, but if you can't factorise, then with the formula it's just a matter of slogging the numbers in.

Or complete the square? There are more ways to solve a quadratic than factorising -- you may well have been given one that doesn't factorise.
   
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Re: Blanking out on math tests? - February 18th 2009, 04:35 PM

You can check if a quadratic factors by working out bČ-4ac and if it is a perfect square (36, 16 etc) it will factor rationally.

The formula is a good option but will only work for real x, you can factor using the imaginary unit i. For example aČ+bČ = (a+bi)(a-bi)

I'd do the easy ones first and write down anything you might know at the beginning of the exam on a blank page (like the difference of two squares)
   
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