Math has always been an intimidating subject for me personally; fortunately Prof. Adams is a very good teacher. 

To succeed in a class of any subject you should show up to class as much as possible. Prof. Adams has a very helpful teaching technique where he will post the notes online but that alone is NOT a substitute for in-class lectures. The online notes should serve to remind you of what you learned in class. They should not be used to teach you the whole subject from scratch (it’s possible but rather time-consuming). Still, even the best student in their favorite can have their off-days where they simply couldn't grasp the material during the actual lecture. A solution to this issue is always tutoring or visiting Prof. Adams (who is more than happy to help you). One approach is to jump into your online homework assignments to learn the material at home.  If you can’t decipher the online notes quickly to answer the question, you may want to Google a math site or video to help you. Often I found I knew the basic idea but sometimes listening/reading other people rephrase the concept can make all the difference.

You may regret not completing all the online homework assignments (that last 100 can make or break your final GPA-or passing the class for others). More importantly they are ideal practice before a test. The key to success in Prof. Adams class is not to miss the MOST IMPORTANT DAY of class before a test. This day is known as Review day. If I had to choose between attending every single class day except review day or missing every single class day but making review day before an exam; I’d choose to attend the review days. Do not misunderstand what this means.  Attending class is important to understanding the material, but the review days are invaluable.  These are the days were you will be walked through every single type of problem that will be on the test and how to do them. Like all notes, review-day notes will be posted online. You may want to consider printing them out as a study guide to take with you.

A few parting notes of advice is that you should make sure you know how to use your calculators for the exam. Once again, doing the online homework is a great way to know if you can successfully use a calculator as it each problem gives you five chances to figure it out before marking it wrong. Don’t forget to ALWAYS read the directions and pay attention to detail. Good Luck!

Don’t get bogged down in calculator syntax! Your one-line scientific calculator may have sufficed in Math 70, but in Math 89, you will need exact answers (not approximations). Solution: get a four-line “math print” display scientific calculator (I recommend the TI-30XS [$15]). Also, one with a “n/d” button will save you time.


Make flashcards. Each time you learn a new formula or operation, record it on a three-by-five card. Moreover, when making such cards, use different colored pencils to break up the formulas—it has a profound effect on memorization. Your array of flashcards will make studying for the final exam a breeze.

Sit in the front row. Studies suggest that a student’s grade is lowered by one letter grade for each row from the front he or she sits.

The text for this class is very large and intimidating, as it is a combination of Math 70 and 89/90. I have observed that many students (myself included) have an aversion to opening large textbooks. Solution: purchase the loose-leaf version of the text (it is cheaper) and separate it into three parts: the Math 89 part, the other, and then the pages in the back containing the answers. Then, bind together in one (reasonably-sized) book only those chapters you will be covering for this class (as indicated in the syllabus). Binding post screws are available for a dollar each in the hardware aisle of almost every home improvement store.  Finally, take those pages with the answers and make with them a small solutions manual. The finished product is a small book you will be more inclined to open—and study.

For additional practice, do in the book the odds. The solution manual you've made will keep you from having to flip back-and-forth through the book when checking your answers. 

Use the “view my example” button on MyMathLab if you get stuck; it is much more efficient in contrast to the “help me solve this” button. However, avoid becoming dependent upon this feature when doing your homework, in which case it will cause more harm than good. 

Get good at and use prime factorization trees. There will invariably come situations in which they will become the most valued tool in your arsenal (e.g. exponents, logs, roots, and the like).       


Being successful in math has taught me to appreciate challenges. Every time I overcame an obstacle, my belief in myself grew. I used to hate math because I didn't think I understood it; however, it wasn't until I changed my psychology about math when I started to see changes in my performance in the classroom. I tricked myself into loving math. I convinced myself that I understood everything. Even when I was confused about what I was learning, I told myself that each new math topic just made sense. In order to learn, you've got to have fun. I started to think of math as a puzzle.

Every morning before class, I told myself affirmations. I told myself that I would study each day as if it were the last day before the final. Whenever I wanted to skip out on studying, I committed to the promise I made myself of studying as if it were my last chance. I recommend three hours of study for every hour of any STEM class. Work one section ahead of the class by looking at the notes from the previous semester. Before each test, focus on the study guides provided. Familiarize yourself with the material by forming study groups and quizzing each other. Sit in the front row. Create a positive culture in the classroom by getting involved any way you can. Every time you take time out to help teach another student, you learn what you teach at a deeper level. Good deeds come back tenfold. Leave a legacy everywhere you go. You get one chance to make an impression and you're always influencing someone whether positively or negatively, so leave a good impression. You never know who is watching. Sometimes the person that needs it most looks up to you for encouragement to succeed. When you succeed as a math student, you give your peers permission to succeed as well. Be the leader of the class by giving your absolute best. You can't be disappointed with yourself if there was nothing more you could have done. Remember, each day that passes is another day you don't get back. Make each day count and commit to the process of learning.