Published March 15, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.
I'm a seventh grader who's just trying to get a decent grade in math. People say I have to focus and take notes, but even when I do that, my grades are still plummeting. I love studying, but my studying techniques don't seem to work. Is there any hope of getting a decent grade in math?
Study Girl (girl, 12)
Dear Study Girl,
There's always hope! However, neither math nor studying were my strong suits when I was in school, so I reached out to some people for advice to pass along. (Applicable lesson here: Don't be shy about asking for help.)
Alexa Litchfield, a seventh and eighth grade math teacher at Leland & Gray Union Middle and High School in Townshend, suggested asking the teacher for feedback on your work. If you compare how they solve a problem with how you do it, you should be able to figure out together where you go off track. She said: "If you follow every problem to the end, you will build bulletproof armor in math."
My friend Mary Goderwis shared some sage wisdom she once got from an algebra teacher: "You don't read or study math; you do math — over and over and over again. In other words, practice makes perfect." Try viewing math as a game or sport. The more problems you work on — and the more mistakes you make and learn from along the way — the stronger your math muscles will get.
Everyone learns differently. Maybe taking notes in class isn't the best way for you to wrap your mind around math. Arrange a time when you can talk with your teacher (and your parents, if possible) to come up with a plan more suited to your learning style. Meantime, if you have friends who excel at math, ask them for tips.
Where there's a will, there's a way, and you obviously have the desire to succeed. That's more than half the battle. Even if your efforts don't add up to the best grade, don't beat yourself up. In the long run, giving it your best shot is what really counts.
Good luck and God bless,
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