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How to Survive Algebra

Hi! My name is Elisabeth and I am going to tell you about my experience with algebra and how I survived it! While these tips are geared towards algebra, they are universal and can be applied to pretty much every level of math.


Growing up, math was easily my favorite subject. I seemed to have a knack for numbers. I found joy in working out complicated long division problems and multiplying fractions. However, my love for the subject was tested soon after I started my seventh grade algebra class. I was caught completely off guard when numbers in our math problems were substituted for letters and problems became substantially longer. This led me to be pretty disappointed with my grades for the first trimester. That being said, as the year went on, I made a few changes that helped my performance dramatically. I think that my poor grades were not due to a lack of intelligence, but rather a few mental mistakes that were easily fixable.


1. Organize

The first major change that I made was staying organized. As I went to study for my final test of the trimester, I realized that my notes and past tests were shoved at random into a binder. This made it much harder to study and get all the knowledge together that I needed for the test. As the year progressed I kept all of my notes in chronological order and made sure not to lose any important papers. This was immensely helpful when studying or just reviewing topics that I needed to refresh.



2. Practice

Before seventh grade, I did not spend a ton of time doing

extra work for math. I didn’t study much and I never practiced beyond the homework I was assigned. Therefore, I was unprepared when I evidently needed to start studying in algebra. With the help of my teacher, I set up a study schedule. I practiced and reviewed old topics for 15 minutes after I completed my homework each night. This practice helped me immensely. If you ever find yourself struggling in math, I strongly recommend spending extra time reviewing the topics you are struggling with for just a few minutes each night.



3. Persevere

My final tip is to persevere. Math can be hard sometimes! Looking at a complicated problem with both numbers and letters in it can be daunting. In moments like that, it is important to take a deep breath and break the problem down into smaller steps to tackle. You may not always get the problem right the first time, but it is important to persevere!



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