Middle school Maths – Tips for smart study 

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With Maths making up a large proportion of tutor requests, we know it is a tough subject. Whether you are getting ready for IGCSE, the MYP, or another programme, these middle school Maths study tips can give you a helping hand.

How to Study Middle School Maths Effectively?

Mathematics is a fundamental subject that plays a crucial role in many aspects of life, both in and out of academia. A solid understanding of middle school Maths concepts will prepare you for the more complex material in higher school programmes such as the IB Diploma. Besides, strong Maths skills are often a requirement for university admissions, particularly in science, engineering, and many other fields. 

While the subject can sometimes feel challenging, it rewards perseverance and focused study. By learning the right methods and approaching problems strategically, you can develop a strong understanding and overcome obstacles in your learning process. It is also important as it enables students to set up good study habits for the crucial final years of school.

Here are some tips on how to study middle school Maths more efficiently. From asking questions in class to Maths tutoring, they are sure to improve your understanding and problem-solving skills.

Don’t Get Put Off When You Get It Wrong

We all get Maths wrong sometimes, even the smartest Mathematicians do. So don’t get dragged down when you just can’t get it right. 

Middle school Maths advances quickly! This means you may find it hard to keep up with lessons and solve Maths problems correctly. However, learning Maths is a process. By making mistakes and learning from them you can learn more than you would by getting it right the first time.

Practically speaking this means not giving up when it gets tough.  We find that this can be common in Maths as opposed to other subjects because students see Maths as binary, either right or wrong.  They feel they are either good at Maths, or terrible and this can lead to students losing motivation and stopping putting in the effort.

Review Your Mistakes

So, if we learn more by getting Maths problems wrong, it also means we need to go through our mistakes regularly. Make reviewing a habit! Weekly reviews can help you identify and address those knowledge gaps. At the end of each topic, revisit it to solidify your understanding and ensure no areas remain confusing. In the end, this consistent review will turn mistakes into stepping stones for success.

Approaching middle school Maths in this way will also gradually build up confidence. Most important for those students who find Maths especially hard.

Take Regular Tests on Difficult Maths Topics

Don’t shy away from challenging concepts! If a topic feels confusing, it doesn’t mean you’re not cut out for Maths. Don’t let these difficulties discourage you – there is always a way to find a solution.

The best thing you can do when encountering a difficult problem is to seek a different perspective. For example, you can watch an explainer video online. Often, seeing a concept represented visually can make it click. Or you can ask a classmate, friend, or tutor to explain the topic in their own words. With a few different angles, things are bound to clear up.

Once you grasp the concept, use it in practice – solve problems, take tests and quizzes, work through past exams, etc. Keep practising until you feel confident tackling any Maths problem related to that topic.

Stay Involved

Just listening to your teacher in class may not be enough. Instead, try to take an active role in class. This means not only staying engaged but also asking questions and volunteering to work through examples with the teacher.

If you don’t feel confident enough for that yet, then follow along diligently, working through the material that you have just learned. 

Furthermore, you need to practice the problems you did in class at home. This repetition will strengthen your understanding and allow transferring knowledge to your long-term memory.

Don’t Ignore Maths Homework

Speaking about practising at home, your homework isn’t just busywork. It is essential training for your brain! Firstly, consistent practice helps you solidify the concepts you learn in class. It also acts as an early warning system, revealing areas where you might need clarification. 

By diligently working through your homework, you can identify knowledge gaps early and avoid them snowballing into bigger problems later. It is also important to be an advocate for your own learning. If you don’t understand something ask the teacher.  They will be pleased to know and will find ways to help you.

Math homework

Last but not least, completing your Maths homework keeps your grades on track!

Avoid Distractions

We’ve all been there: trying to work through questions with a buzzing phone next to us. However, Maths demands focus. That’s why you need to try and fight distractions before you start. Silence your phone, find a quiet space, and let everyone know you need uninterrupted study time. 

Remember, every interruption forces you to rebuild your train of thought, and this costs you valuable time. Without these distractions, you’ll be able to solve Maths problems with laser focus and maximise your study efficiency.

Middle school is about learning how you learn. Above all, applying learning techniques and working out which are most effective for you.  This will be important for all subjects, but especially Maths as many IB schools don’t have an option to drop Maths for the Diploma years.

Build on Strong Foundations

Primary school is about the basics, middle school is about making them into strong foundations for the final exam years. Gaps due to absences, school moves, or changes in curriculum can make these foundations shaky. 

If you’ve recently switched schools and find yourself struggling, talk to your teacher! They can assess any missed topics and provide extra support. Remember, staying on top of your work and seeking help when needed is crucial for mastering middle school Maths.

After all, if you are struggling, it may not be because you are inherently no good at Mathemathics, it might rather be that you missed an integral part of the course for one reason or another.

Get Rest and Let Your Brain Relax

Just like any muscle, your brain needs rest to perform at its best. Night rest is especially important since it lets you improve your focus and ability to retain information. A well-rested brain absorbs and processes new concepts more effectively. 

Besides, you need to schedule short breaks during your study sessions to avoid burnout. You can go for a walk, stretch, or do something relaxing to recharge. When you come back, you will feel refreshed and ready to conquer challenges.

Some students put too much pressure on themselves and this can get in the way of learning. Studying Maths is a marathon not a sprint, and you won’t learn effectively if you are anxious and stressed all of the time.

Know When to Call in the Experts

Math anxiety is a real thing. It can strike quickly, leading to a loss of confidence and avoiding challenges. Don’t let this happen, especially when help is readily available. 

Start with your teacher. They’re there to support you and answer your questions. You don’t have to ask during class time. If confidence is an issue, try to approach them at a break time or after school. 

Are you not sure how to study middle school Maths altogether or need more regular support? It might be time to call in a tutor. Look for one with experience in the curriculum you are studying. If you’re an international student, make sure your tutor teaches middle school Maths in the language you are being taught at school (even if this is not your mother tongue).

Parents – to Help or Not to Help?

Parents often want to help, and these intentions are well-meaning. However, there are a few watchouts. First, parents probably don’t know how to study middle school Maths efficiently. The truth is that Maths has changed a lot since they were at school. Explaining their approach could confuse you if they’re used to different methods. Besides, a sincere attempt to help might end up creating friction. Sometimes this stress gets too much and can create conflict in the relationship. 

If frustration builds on either side, it’s a good sign to step back. Consider seeking assistance from a teacher or a tutor familiar with current curricula. This can ease tension and ensure the student receives the most effective guidance.

How to Study Middle School Maths: Final Thoughts

Being smart at Maths isn’t about innate talent. It’s about dedication and perseverance. By incorporating these study tips into your routine, you’ll develop a strong foundation in Maths for your future academic journey.

By Sara Lloyd 

Sara has been an education consultant for TutorsPlus for over 10 years and is an expert on international education in Switzerland. She is also a parent of two lively children. 

If you would like to contact Sara to answer your education-related questions, you can do so at info@tutorsplus.com. 

If you would like to find out more on how to study middle school Maths and hire an experienced professional tutor, don’t hesitate to visit www.tutorsplus.com today.

By Sara Lloyd

Sara has been an education consultant for TutorsPlus for 15 years, and is an expert on international IB education.  She is also a parent of two lively children.

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