Quick Tips for Refreshing Your Math Skills Before College

Man writing math on the board

Science, technology and engineering professionals are in high demand across virtually all industries. The sky is the limit when you graduate with a STEM-related degree from an accredited university. It is always important to look ahead at your future career aspirations after graduation, but do not forget to focus on the task at hand: doing well in college-level courses. If you are ever having trouble with college-level math, do not hesitate to reach out for help. Your academic advisor may recommend an on-campus tutor or other university resources that can help you overcome these challenges.

Focus on the basics

High school and college level math are more similar than you might think. The formulas do not change, after all, and neither will the mnemonic devices you can use. The complexity and difficulty level will change, but as long as you still remember the basics, you can adapt. Start getting ready for your college STEM classes by brushing up on the basics. Do not be afraid to go back to very basic math that you think you’ve already mastered—you might be surprised at some of the things you’ve forgotten.

Do micro-lessons

The summer before college can be a very busy time. You will probably be working as much as you can and looking for additional scholarship opportunities—not to mention packing. There is no need to schedule marathon math studying sessions. Your brain will retain more information from micro-lessons, especially if you repeat the same micro-lessons a few times to reinforce the material. Spend about 15 minutes in both the morning and evening looking over formulas and doing practice problems.

Check YouTube for educational content

YouTube has more than just cute kitten videos. Try searching for “pre-calculus” or “geometry” and you will get thousands of results. Educational videos can be a good way of reminding yourself of the basics, but do keep in mind that it is passive learning. Turn it into active learning by keeping paper and a pencil handy and writing out the problems and solutions along with the video.

Take practice exams

Remember those practice tests you took to prepare for the SAT or ACT? It is time to dig them out and review them. If you have saved any of your handouts or notes from high school, you should go over them as well. Check online for additional practice exams. Start with practice tests intended for high school students, and then look for ones for college-level math classes. You can also use the study guides for standardized exam prep.

Learn new mnemonics

Even if you think you have mastered a particular rule or process, it is helpful to have a relevant mnemonic, or memory device. It is easy to get anxious during tests or when called on to solve a problem in class. A case of the nerves can make you forget information you do know, but mnemonics can help you overcome this.

Grand Canyon University dedicates our resources to fully support our students as they strive toward academic success. The College of Science, Engineering and Technology encourages our students to take advantage of the GCU Learning Lounge for help brushing up their math skills. If you are not yet a student at GCU, visit our website or use the Request More Information link to explore our dynamic STEM degrees.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.