The ability to succeed at math requires a solid understanding of math fundamentals, self awareness, good teaching and persistence. The ability to use math applies to every aspect of life, making it an important subject to master. Historically, girls have performed equally well as boys at math through the elementary grades, after which boys tend to surge forward. Regardless of gender, individuals can significantly improve math grades, or recover from failing, by following these guidelines for math success:

Build on the basics

It is impossible to move forward through mathematics without a solid understanding of the basic principles. Learning math is a cumulative process. Each step relies on material learned earlier. Individuals struggling with math should step back to the point where they feel confident in their understanding of the subject and move forward from there. Practicing basic math skills improves retention, factual recall and familiarity with the subject.

Identify your learning style

Learning styles refer to the way an individual learns successfully. Learning styles are categorized in a number of ways, the most basic being visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic. While some students learn math more easily through graphs and images (visual), other students need hands on experiences (tactile). Marilyn Burns’ Math Solutions combines several different learning styles to create effective math lessons. By understanding your learning style, you can find ways to explore math in ways that make learning math easier and more productive. This self awareness can also be used when talking with the instructor about poor math grades.

Talk with the teacher

Struggling with math, at any level, indicates a need to speak with the instructor. The teacher can help identify areas that prove difficult and help find solutions. Talking with the teacher can help them to understand areas of their instruction that need improving. Teachers can also provide more relevant practice and they may recommend a talented tutor who can help improve math grades.

Get a tutor

Gifted tutors can transform a dreaded subject into one that is fascinating and rewarding, as well as provide helpful tips to master math basics. This improved outlook toward math can help provide the motivation to invest the time and effort needed to improve. Tutors are trained to identify the needs of students, to help them succeed and to make the most of each student’s abilities.

Practice, practice, practice!

Mathematics, like reading, is one subject that clearly improves with practice. Flash cards, practice exercises and rereading math texts can all work to boost math grades through repetition. The sooner intervention and support occur, the less damaging poor math skills will be on confidence and grape point averages.

Rather than struggling silently without results, students experiencing difficulties with math should seek help right away. The subject simply moves forward too quickly to make time for a delay. Procrastination is the enemy. Validate what knowledge is already in place, discover your learning style and practice in ways that help you retain the information. Talking with your teacher or a tutor can pave the wave to mathematical success and higher math grades.