How can I stop being a choke artist on math tests?

Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by PRIDEoftheUFC**, May 14, 2014.

  1. PRIDEoftheUFC**

    PRIDEoftheUFC** Red Belt

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    Took my math final today (precalculus), and the grades are in now. I got a 71 on it. Now the thing is, I studied extremely hard, knew how to do all the problems on the review sheets, was able to do all of the practice problems from the textbook that were assigned. I took the test, felt confident, and left thinking I got at least in the high 80s.

    This also happened for the first two midterms. I left thinking I did great and got a 73 on both of them, despite studying very hard and knowing the material. When I got the two midterms back, I made many dumb mistakes that I would have never made on the review sheets, and noticed them instantly. I assume the same thing happened on this final now. I double check my work when i'm done too, yet it still happens. It's extremely discouraging. Does anyone else seem to have some kind of mental block when it comes to math tests? It's the only subject that this happens to me with.

    Cliffs: Read
     
  2. Headynugget

    Headynugget White Belt

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    Cheat.
    Off an asian preferably.
    If not available, an Indian will do.
     
  3. PRIDEoftheUFC**

    PRIDEoftheUFC** Red Belt

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    tfw all the Asians and Indians are already in Calculus
     
  4. Bebop

    Bebop Brown Belt

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    here's what an asian would do: make up their own problems harder than the practice problems.

    source: i'm asian
     
  5. TeTe

    TeTe PopoZão Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Don't take Math. Unless your coursework requires it, in which case, I'd bribe the instructor.
     
  6. ventrue

    ventrue <img src="http://i52.tinypic.com/245zjwo.gif"> Platinum Member

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    Could you post a copy of your test, so we can see what you did wrong?

    I still have all my old Calculus tests in my study. The highest score I ever received was a 96, and that was because we had a gimme bonus question.
     
  7. Daverisimo

    Daverisimo Brown Belt

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    So yeah, I study math, and I'm a math tutor. I think your problem (which is a problem I see over and over again with people in basic math) might be that you're trying to memorize steps rather than actually understand the material. I can't really say for sure, as I don't know how you actually study, but that tends to be the most common problem with students in lower level math courses. My advice: as you're learning shit, try to slow down and understand what the fuck you're actually doing, and why you're doing it. Instead of trying to memorize a massive fucking list of trig. identities, learn how those identities are actually derived, so you can derive them yourself in case you forget. And the same goes for calc, or diffyQ, or linear algebra, or any other math course you ever fucking take.

    That's the beautiful thing about math really. It's not about testing your ability to memorize shit, it's about testing your ability to actually think.
     
  8. BoogerDawson

    BoogerDawson Red Belt

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    If it was a spelling test, then I'd cheat off the indian.
     
  9. SummerStriker

    SummerStriker Black Belt

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    Work through the examples in the book, then watch the Khan Acadamy videos on the subject, then do the homework early enough to ask questions about it.
     
  10. JAEGERX

    JAEGERX i stay blessed

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    yeah i can relate, i also study alot and choke on tests on a regular basis, i dont really have an answer for it but some times i just stop and dont do anything for a couple of minutes and sometimes that period of doing nothing snaps me out of it.
     
  11. NoSmilez

    NoSmilez Silver Belt

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    You should just do the problems numbers that are next to the ones that you were assigned. I think you are just memorizing the examples rather than trying to learn it.
     
  12. PRIDEoftheUFC**

    PRIDEoftheUFC** Red Belt

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    I don't have my copies on hand at the moment, but a lot of my mistakes will be extremely stupid shit. Such as accidentally adding something instead of subtracting, plugging something into a function the wrong way, or just straight up doing something absolutely wrong even though I knew how to do it easily before the test. For example, when I got my second midterm back I got a question on factoring a quadratic equation wrong, and from the moment I laid my eyes on the wrong answer I instantly thought "what the fuck was I thinking, how did I even come up with this shit?"

    I mean there are questions that I honestly got wrong because I didn't know how to do it, but these other questions with the careless mistakes make me rage at myself.
     
  13. PRIDEWASBETTER

    PRIDEWASBETTER Whatever it takes Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Chances are you weren't prepared for the format of the test or what types of problems were on there. Either that or you focused too much on how important the test was instead of focusing on the material.
     
  14. prod2821

    prod2821 Gold Belt

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    relax? masterbate? or get laid? tutoring? I have a friend who suffers from the same thing but for the most part he has gotten by, just keep working hard, I think you'll find your test groove, in my undergrad I had some moments like this
     
  15. PRIDEoftheUFC**

    PRIDEoftheUFC** Red Belt

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    I do admit that the concepts behind math tend to be confusing to me, but I felt that I understood the concepts of the material we were covering fairly well. If by memorize steps you mean memorizing specific problems, I don't think that's my problem. But I did memorize my trig functions as well as specific steps on how to solve different kinds of problems. I also tend to draw blanks at times on math tests.
     
  16. Daverisimo

    Daverisimo Brown Belt

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    See, this alone is problematic. Trig is one of those areas in math where there's next to nothing that you need to memorize. As long as you know your basic pythagorean identity (which should be relatively intuitive if you understand the pythagorean theorem), and the angle sum/difference formulas (admittedly a bit less intuitive, but still not overly difficult), you should be able to derive everything you'll ever need to know regarding trig in a matter of minutes.

    This is not to say that it is necessarily your fault though. I'd wager you've had a lot of math instructors that rely on memorization as a pedagogical tool. It baffles me that schools have a tendency to send the lowest quality math teachers to students that need the most help. It's like they have such a flimsy understanding that they have to teach by rote memorization.
     
  17. PRIDEoftheUFC**

    PRIDEoftheUFC** Red Belt

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    What do you mean by Pythagorean identity? Honestly I don't understand the theorem, but I know how to use it. I mean I understand that it means that the sum of the two sides squared equal the hypotenuse squared, but I don't know why that's the case.

    And what I basically memorized for trig was soh cah toa, how sin is y, cos is x, tan is sin/cos and that cosecant, secant and cotangent are their respective inverses. Also, how a unit circle is 2pi, that the opposite side of 60 degrees on a triangle is the square root of 3 divided by 2, etc.
     
  18. Talent

    Talent <img src="http://i.imgur.com/NwpFvrR.gif"> Platinum Member

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    Look up "chewing gum exams" on google. Could help.
     
  19. Uncommon Valor

    Uncommon Valor Super Fly

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    Cheat, or suck off the teacher.
     
  20. Daverisimo

    Daverisimo Brown Belt

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    When I say the pythagorean identity, I just mean that, for a given angle x, sin^2x+cos^2x=1, which is basically just a restating of the pythagorean theorem. As for that, it literally means that for a given right triangle with sides of lengths a and b, and a hypotenuse of length c, the areas of squares built off of sides a and b when summed up equal the area of a square built off of side c

    [​IMG]

    I'm sure there's a more rigorous proof out there, but the visual proof is sufficient to understand what's going on here, and it's more or less how Euclid actually thought of it.
     

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