& Resource Center
West Chester University
224 Lawrence Center
West Chester, PA 19383
Putting problems into words aids your understanding. When you study equations and formulae, put those into words as well. The words help you see a variety of applications for each formula.
For example, the Pythagorean Theorem, C2 = A2 + B2 can be translated as 'The square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.'
If a problem involves multiplication, check your work by dividing; if addition then subtract and check your work, if divide then check with multiply; if square root then check with square; if differentiate then integrate.
Practice working problems fast. Time yourself. Exchange problems with a friend and time each other. Do this in the Study Group.
Set up the problem before you begin to solve it. When a problem is worth a lot of points, read it twice, slowly. Analyze it carefully. When you take time to analyze a problem you can often see ways to take computational short-cuts.
Draw a picture or a diagram if you are stuck. Sometimes a visual representation will clear a blocked mind.
Estimation is a good way to double-check your work. Doing this first can help you notice if your computations go awry, and then you can correct the error quickly.
When you check your work, ask yourself: Did I read the problem correctly? Did I use the correct formula or equation? Is my arithmetic correct? Is my answer in the proper form?
Avoid the temptation to change an answer in the last few minutes - unless you are sure the answer is wrong. In a last minute rush to finish the test, it's easier to choose the wrong answer.
Right before the test, review any formulas you will need to use. Then write them out on scratch paper as soon as possible during the test.