How to Get a Better Grade in Math

When confidence increases, math scores typically improve.
... Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

Mathematical thinking comes more naturally to some people than to others, but everyone can succeed in math. Math is used on the job and in everyday life, so it’s important for students of all ages to grasp mathematical concepts. Students in many locales must maintain at least a C average to avoid repeating math class or attending summer school. Whether you’re in fifth grade or college, if you are proactive you can earn a better grade in math.

1 Develop a Positive Attitude

A student might feel defeated before he even opens a math book, and this stands in the way of achievement. For example, when a parent says, “You’re bad in math, just like I was,” a child might think there’s no point in trying for a better grade. Since math success is based more on effort than ability, thinking you can do it is half the battle. Shedding preconceived notions is the first step toward reaching goals in math class.

2 Teach Someone Else

Teaching a math concept to another person increases understanding, so work with a study partner. A person learns 95 percent of what he teaches someone else, according to renowned psychiatrist, William Glasser. Strategies such as modeling and drawing diagrams should be used in explanations. It’s best to teach concepts in small chunks so you can revisit parts that are unclear. Parents should encourage their children to teach them the lessons they learned in math class. Their confidence will increase, resulting in higher homework and test scores.

3 Tap Available Resources

A student who seeks help typically achieves a better grade in math. Ask questions in class or request that the teacher explain a concept in a different way. Most schools make after-school tutoring sessions available, so struggling students should attend. Additionally, a variety of math tutorials are available online, and they offer visual and auditory explanations as well as sample problems and solutions. Working with a peer who has a command of the concepts is another alternative.

4 Get Plenty of Practice

Many new concepts are introduced each week in math class, and it takes practice to fully understand them and remember them for tests. You can often find answers to odd-numbered problems in the back of a math book, so teachers using these textbooks will assign even numbers for homework. Before you begin the homework, do several of the odd numbers and check your work to determine whether you’re getting correct answers. Once you’re confident, advance to the actual homework problems.

5 Master Concepts

Math is a series of building blocks, and when you don’t understand a concept and try to move to the next step, it can cause frustration. For example, in order to do algebra problems, you must be able to add and subtract positive and negative numbers. When you receive a low grade on a homework assignment, figure out what you did wrong and then redo the assignment. Students who are absent should make up missed work in a timely manner and obtain any notes that were taken in class. Some teachers allow students to retake tests in order to improve their grades and their understanding.

Karen LoBello is coauthor of “The Great PJ Elf Chase: A Christmas Eve Tradition.” She began writing in 2009, following a career as a Nevada teacher. LoBello holds a bachelor's degree in K-8 education, a secondary degree in early childhood education and a master's degree in computer education.