Develop Your Math Strategies | University of Portland

Develop Your Math Strategies

Mathematics and the Growth Mindset

One key to success in math is the belief that you can learn: that our minds of capable of growth and productive struggle is an important part of the learning process. Students with a growth mindset are more resilient in the face of struggle and ultimately more successful in mathematics.

Fixed versus Growth Mindset Quiz: Do you have a fixed or a growth mindset? Take this short quiz and find out.

Fostering a growth mindset: The good news is that a growth mindset can be grown! One place to start is with your own self-talk:

  • Change “I can’t do this” into “I can’t do this yet.”

  • Change “I always make mistakes” into “What can I learn from this mistake?”

  • Change “I always make mistakes” into “What can I learn from this mistake?”

Study Skills Resources

There are many valuable places to look for improving study skills in math.  In brief, to be successful:

  • Don’t just go to class; be engaged while in class. Take notes. Ask questions. Try to make sense of the concepts while you are in the classroom.

  • Don’t just do your homework; master your homework. Start homework early, allow lots of time, and be sure you are focusing on learning the material rather than just getting it done.

  • Expect struggle. Learning takes place when our brains are challenged.

  • Use study groups wisely. Working together can help you learn from one another. Having a set, regular study group time can keep you accountable for doing your homework. However, be wary of a group that is frequently off-task or moves at a pace that doesn’t match your own. It is ok to find a new group!

  • Get help. Make use of your classmates, the Math Resource Center, and your professor’s office hours.

Other Resources for Study Tips:

Math Resources

Math Video Resources

Online math videos can be a helpful supplement for understanding procedural examples. Use videos with a note of caution: while seeing a specific example may be helpful for understanding that example, most videos do not emphasize the understanding of the underlying concepts. As you watch, be sure to ask the question why and check your understanding.

  • PatrickJMT has hundreds of helpful videos that range from precalculus to vector calculus. Easy to follow examples with clear explanations.

  • Kahn Academy has a wealth of math sources and videos for all levels of math, including precalculus, calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra.

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