How to study math
March 5, 2013 7:44 PM Subscribe
What is the best way to manage time while studying for upper-division undergraduate math classes that are proof-based/STEM classes in general?
posted by Hey Judas! to education (15 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I entered college as a social science major and I ended up a pure mathematics major with a minor in computer science. I'm taking my first proof-based upper-division courses this semester and I'm having trouble staying afloat.
I have the bad habit of cramming. I will often neglect other classes and just study for one class for every free hour of the days leading up to an exam, then repeat the process all over again next week for another class. This has worked so far, but I just recently realized what a waste it is. I have absolutely no free time to do anything other than cram and do homework.
I spent all weekend studying for my real analysis class and I really started to understand, and even enjoy, the material. Going through my notes, I can't believe how amazing some of the stuff we've learned so far is. I also can't believe it took me so long to realize that my cramming is seriously detrimental, not only to my grades and knowledge, but to my enjoyment of the material. Now that the classes are challenging and interesting, I really want to learn instead of just do well on tests. It is such a waste of time and money to cram for exams rather than actually learn.
My only hangup is I have absolutely no idea how to transition from cramming/memorizing for tests to studying the correct way. My mindset has always been study for Monday classes on Sunday, Tuesday classes on Monday, etc.. I want to spend a set amount of time each day studying for each class. I also want to set aside time for hobbies, reading or studying other material. My spring break starts next Friday and I plan on catching up completely so I can finish the semester using this studying method.
I do not necessarily need advice on HOW to study for these types of classes (cross referencing proofs with other textbooks, doing extra problems and asking for clarification from profs/TAs works for me). I just need advice on how to implement the "study a little every day" method I always see suggested. Has anyone actually used this studying method and has it actually worked? Does anyone have any tips on how to manage my time to fit an hour for each class every day?
I would also specifically like to hear from math/STEM majors about your study schedule and study methods (be as specific as you want). I would appreciate hearing how someone in the same types of classes goes about studying. Thanks for any advice!