Month: April 2013

Preparing For The Math Final Exam

At this time of the year a student should be getting ready for their final exams. Hopefully your student won’t be dreading their math final! With that thought in mind, I was reading an article on helping your child or student to prepare for their tests. It’s a pretty good article so I thought I’d share it with you. So here it is:

Math Anxiety: Overcoming Test Fear


In previous articles in this series, I have discussed the math myths our society has extended, and how these misconceptions affect how kids approach the learning challenges in math class. Also, overcoming this anxiety when completing assignments at home is essential in coping with the emotional block of thinking the student “can’t get it” and will “never get it”.

It has been said before that to truly conquer your fear, you must put a name to it and understand it. On many levels, the anxiety that students feel walking in to a math test situation becomes irrational. The honest concerns they may have had about the classroom material that will show up on the test get blown up to major emotional blocks that understandably affect their performance. To ease the intensity of this perception, it is essential to really understand what has led up this point. With the help of parents, classroom teacher, online tutor (any patient listener will do!), students must think about when this problem started. What has happened in the past to form the belief that the fear is insurmountable, unsolvable? What have the true results been on past tests, in other curriculum areas? What steps has the student taken to deal with the problem?

As mentioned in the other parts to this article series, contributing factors are the myths and misconceptions people have about math in general. This is a cultural, societal bias that seems to be more prevalent in math than in other areas of study. Unfortunately, students grow up immersed in this unfriendly environment and start to believe the math myths. Again, with help from a sympathetic listener, students over time should come to realize that fear about math class and math tests are irrational. Concern and nervousness about an upcoming test is normal and can be dealt with. Keeping the anxiety level at a controllable level is the first step to being ready for their upcoming exam.

The next building block to overcoming test anxiety in math class is to be prepared. Of course, this is common sense advice, but it gets forgotten if the student has elevated this concern from a “I’m not ready” level to a “I can’t do it” or “I’ll never get it” level.

In the second article of this series I discussed how to deal with homework issues. If students have improved their use of homework time and maintained higher quality standards for their assignments, they will be better prepared for tests. If they have not been doing their homework because of “math avoidance”, test environments will continue to be a huge challenge.
Given that students are able to dissipate the stress level by understanding their fear, and they have put in the effort on homework, now what can they do on test day? Using smart test-taking strategies is the final piece of the puzzle.

To be a more effective test-taker, students must be able to use the time given effectively. Looking at the clock and worrying about the time will just add to the anxiety level. Here are some suggestions:

1. Take the time to look over the entire test in the first 5 minutes to get a sense of what concepts are covered and what format the test uses.
2. Mark up the easiest problems and the hardest problems.
3. Do the easiest problems first in order to gain confidence.
4. Get to the average level problems next, keeping in mind to move on if feeling stuck.
5. Save the hardest ones for last.
6. Finally, try the ones you skipped. Use smart guessing strategies only as a last resort. Proofread for small mistakes.
7. Feel proud that you did your best!

Students need to be physically prepared to sit down at a test and do their best. Drink adequate water the day before, and bring a water bottle at the test site to stay properly hydrated. The day before the test and the morning of test day, students should have eaten nutritious, high energy foods without too much sugar and salt. (Potato chips and corn chips, high sugar and caffeine drinks are never a good idea!) The student should have had plenty of sleep the night before, also.

As students get ready leading up to the test, they must find out what other resources they are allowed during the test. Will the teacher allow notebooks, note cards, past assignments, or study sheets or problem examples? If so, get them organized and ready; reread or rewrite them as necessary. Work with other students in study groups, or use an online tutor and discuss examples similar to the ones you think will be on the test. This preparation time and effort will pay off!

Math fear is a common experience for all of us. What is not common, however, is letting it handcuff us to the point of freezing up and blocking our ability to solve the problem for ourselves. Suffering in isolation is not the answer; avoiding the subject cannot work; not seeking help won’t get rid of the problem, either. By discussing with others who can listen, students can eventually understand that math anxiety is common and solvable. Using intelligent strategies when doing homework, and putting in the effort to prepare for tests will result in increased self-confidence and overcoming the fear of math.

By: Terry VanNoy

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Struggling in your math class? Wanting to get ahead and boost your grades and self-confidence? Personal, private, and focused online math tutoring in a customized learning environment. Click here to see a demonstration of my online classroom

If you’re in the Cherry Hill NJ area Mathnasium of Cherry Hill would love to help your child or student prepare for their final math exam. Please give us a call!

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What’s The Story With Pi?

I thought I’d try something a little different today and share a video podcast on the subject of Pi!

If you’ve ever wondered about the term and where it came from and even what it stands for, then we’ve got the answer for you!

So sit back, relax for a couple minutes and watch this nice podcast on the subject of Pi.

There you go … you’re now up-to-snuff on the term Pi.

Hope you all enjoyed that.

Have a great day!

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Using Numbers To Help Your Child Learn Math

Mathematics without numbers just wouldn’t make sense, would it? Of course not – silly me!

🙂 In my daily reading I came across this article on using numbers to help your child become more proficient at learning and utilizing math. The article was written by Joseph Pinador and comes from Article Dashboard.

Home School Math Series: Number Counting

As a parent, helping your child perform better in their grade-level math is as easy as teaching number sense by practicing some basic exercises. Children who struggle with their grade-level math are deficient in operational skills. As a result, most of the problems that kids (and adults) have with math stem from a lack of basic number sense that comes with knowing how numbers naturally progress.

Traditionally, multiplication tables are taught in school. A better learning method is for students to count by numbers which is a more enjoyable activity then attempting to passively scan a table in a book.

The best and easiest exercise for teaching number sense is simply counting by numbers out loud. Knowing how numbers progress in this manner is essential to understanding the principles of division and multiplication. Counting by numbers can be done anywhere at any time and is actually most fun when done spontaneously.

While counting by the various numbers, you can ask your child questions about the activity. One example could be “Why is the number 5 so easy to count by?” (Hint: what number do you always end in when counting by 5’s?). Another question might be “What is unique about the sequence of numbers when counting by 9’s?” (Hint: look at how the numbers in the one’s and ten’s place are sequencing).

Use the numbers 2-12 for counting purposes. We do not need to go beyond the number 12 since these numbers tend to factor into all other numbers. Explain to your child that when we see that numbers repeat themselves, the numbers we are counting by are factors of those numbers. For example, when I count by 3’s or 5’s, I arrive at the number 15. Therefore, 3 and 5 are both factors of 15.

One variation of teaching number sense by number counting would be to use dice. Let your child roll the dice to see which number between 2 and 12 they are going to count by. Next, you roll to see how many times your child has to count by that number. Use your imagination to come up with your own counting games. As your child (and maybe even you) becomes more and more proficient at counting, raise the stakes by seeing how fast your child can count through all the numbers.

As your child is mastering this skill, they will see the connection between the number sense that is forming from this activity and the math operations it relates to. A multiplication problem is simply a fast way to add and the ability to count by numbers allows the child to use this skill to solve these problems quickly. With division problems, the child uses the factoring skills derived from number counting to see “how many of this number fits into that number”.

For children to attain proficiency at grade-level math, they must be able to perform basic math functions. Guiding your child towards learning basic number sense by number counting is the best place to start. For help in teaching number sense to your child please request a free, downloadable copy of my counting chart!

By: Joseph Pinador – For a free consultation regarding tutoring or home schooling for your child and a demonstration of my e-tutoring classroom, visit:

So now you know it’s as easy as learning number sense … makes sense right? (Sorry for the pun!)

Have a great day!

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Numbers And Math

Do Numbers Really Exist?

Of course they do! Don’t they? This video discusses whether or not numbers really do exist.

What do you think? Watch this and see if your mind is changed!

Do numbers EXIST? – Numberphile
An expert on the philosophy of mathematics, Dr Jonathan Tallant, outlines some of the key arguments about whether or not numbers ACTUALLY EXIST? Exploring pl…

So are you ready to answer the question now?

Do numbers really exist? 🙂

Have a great Day!

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