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Monday, March 26, 2007

There is no doubt about it; math starts to get hard right around 7th and 8th grade, but you can do it. You just have to take it one homework assignment at a time. Here are some tips that might help you:

Ask a lot of questions. I know it can feel a little embarrassing
sometimes, because asking a question means admitting that you don't
understand something, but don't be embarrassed. Chances are that most
of the class doesn't understand either, and that someone in the class
is secretly thanking you for asking, so that they didn't have to.
Sometimes when I feel too embarrassed to ask a question, I tell myself
this: "It isn't my fault that I don't understand it; it's the
teacher's fault for not explaining it well enough." And then I go
ahead and ask that question. Keep asking questions until you get it.
Later, you'll be glad you did.

Don't fall behind in class! In math, especially in algebra, the
lessons build on top of one another, so that if you sleep through
September, you might be in real trouble come October... Try to be
disciplined about doing your math homework, and pay attention in
class. If you make a habit of these things, the class will seem
generally easier.

Get a "study buddy." Find someone in the class who cares as much
about doing well in the class as you do. Make a habit of getting
together to do your homework, or talking about the homework on the
phone. Math can seem much less scary when you don't have to go it
alone. In fact, when you and a friend are working together to solve
problems, it can be kind of fun.

Find an after-school tutor. This can be a paid tutor, or maybe some
friend or family member who knows algebra fairly well. Don't wait
until you are getting failing grades to find a tutor, but find one at
the first sign of trouble. Many schools have a tutoring system in
place, so ask me or someone at school about it. Don't be hesitant to take
advantage of any available help.

Prepare for tests. Make sure that you know what will be on each
test, and practice those kinds of problems. Study for the tests with your
"study buddy." Get a good night's sleep before each test, too.

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