Tips on Checking Your Work During a Math Test

Take time to study to master the skills before the test.
... Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

Practice makes permanent, so the most successful math students tend to check work regularly on problems. Studying math is not the same as studying other subjects; working problems out on paper is necessary for learning math concepts. Checking your work in class and checking your work while doing homework is just as important as checking your work during a test.

1 Read the Problem

Some mistakes on math tests happen because the student did not completely understand the problem. Rushing through reading the problem causes students to miss important details. Read the problem carefully before working on it, and read it more than once. The Math Tip Sheet from Northern Virginia Community College suggests you read the problems more than once, then do exactly as directed. When you go back to check your work, you will save yourself any confusion and heartache as you realize you read the question wrong the first time.

2 Show Your Work

Math instructors often remind students to show their work to make it easier to grade, but it also makes it easier for you to check your work. Write out all of your work neatly, and don't skip any steps. At St. Louis University's College of Math and Computer Science, educators advise students not to bother erasing mistakes; it wastes time and makes a mess on the paper. Instead, just draw a neat line through mistakes and keep working. This will make checking your work easier, as well.

3 Don't Overthink

Stan Brown advises students at Tompkins Cortland Community College not to overthink math problems. While it is good to go back and check your work, sometimes students change a right answer to a wrong answer. If you believe you need to change your answer, check your work for the second answer just as you did for the first.

4 Time Management

Pay attention to the clock while taking a math test. Give yourself an appropriate amount of time to do the work and check your answers for each problem. If you get hung up on one problem, you may run out of time for the remainder of the test. You need to leave yourself time to check all of your work, and that may mean moving on from one difficult problem, and coming back to it after you have completed the test.

Samantha Hanly is an organic vegetable gardener, greenhouse gardener and home canner. She grows a substantial portion of her family's food every year. After receiving her bachelor's degree, Hanly embarked on a career teaching dramatic arts, arts and crafts, and languages. She became a professional writer in 2000, writing curricula for use in classrooms and libraries.