The math exam may hold a special place of dread in your heart. The sheer number of possible questions, the N number of possible formula to have on the tip of our tongues and the 1000’s of calculations required to ace this one exam in and of itself seem to take more effort than the rest of the subjects put together!

Looks, feels and sounds overwhelming right? But, is it? We at Cuemath asked some of our top students about their study habits and looked into them with a scientific lens. And here are some of the fascinating conclusions we were able to reach based on the data we collected:

Study Smart. Not Long: A common trend that one often notices in students is that they feel it is absolutely necessary to devote long hours of the day to studying. However, there is an old English proverb that goes, “Quality over quantity.”

Knowing the topic wise marks breakdown is a huge boon when it comes to allocating the right amount of time to each topic in order to maximize output. Let’s take the 12th CBSE Board exam as a yardstick. This math exam is a 100 mark paper that is divided as per the following marks distribution:

## Chapter |
## Topic Name |
## Marks Distributed |
---|---|---|

1. | Relations and Functions | 10 |

2. | Algebra | 13 |

3. | Calculus | 44 |

4. | Vectors and 3-D Geometry | 17 |

5. | Linear Programming | 6 |

6. | Probability | 10 |

Total | 100 |

Knowing the topic wise marks breakdown is a huge boon when it comes to allocating the right amount of time to each topic in order to maximize output. Let’s take the 12th CBSE Board exam as a yardstick. This math exam is a 100 mark paper that is divided as per the following marks distribution:

As you can see from the marks distribution, Calculus is the MOST important topic as per the CBSE Class 12th board exams. So, ideally that is the topic that ought to be getting your maximum attention, followed by vectors and 3-D Geometry and then Algebra. While preparing your study schedule, if you allocate your time properly to reflect the marks distribution per topic (with respect to your grade), not only will you notice a marked improvement in your performance but you may just end up acing the exam altogether!

Focus On The ‘Why’ Before The ‘What’: Formula! Derivations! Steps! All these technicalities can prove to be overwhelming for a lot of students even after organizing your study-time as per the marks breakdown method. Therefore, your secret to success not only hinges on your ability to study smart, but also on your ability to allocate your brain real estate to the right concepts. Remember, there is only a finite amount of information that you can efficiently store in your brain, so don’t waste that precious space!

Focus on the fundamentals and the concepts. Everything in mathematics flows from fundamentals. It’s therefore best that you devote most of your time understanding and internalizing these. Let’s take the case of calculus once again. If you are a class 12th student preparing for your math board exams, you will be best served spending time UNDERSTANDING the first principles and limit of sums rather than spending time trying to memorize the cumbersome formulae that are often used in integrals. You will find that most of these “formulae” are nothing to be feared as they flow quite naturally from basic algebraic or trigonometric relations once you apply the fundamentals of calculus to them.

At Cuemath, we not only teach our students how to math, we also show them the best study techniques that allows them to succeed in both school and competitive exams!

Attempt The Paper In Chronological Order: Not only is it important to prepare smartly for the exam, it’s equally important to apply those tips and tricks while writing the paper itself. Over the years of teaching mathematics to a multitude of school children, our expert teachers have found that a lot of the students attempt the harder questions first, leaving the easiest for the last. DO NOT DO THAT!

Remember how at the start of every workout, trainers insist that you warm up? Well that’s exactly what the easy questions at the start of the paper are there for – they help you get settled into the rhythm of answering questions and jog your memory to allow you to start accessing the pertinent information faster. If you begin answering your paper with the hard questions first, you will end up spending more time than necessary and then will have to rush through the “easier” questions due to a “lack of time”. It cannot be overemphasized that this will increase your chances of making silly mistakes!

So, get into the habit of answering the question paper in order. This will help you finish the paper before time and reduce the likelihood of making silly mistakes.

Double Check Your Work: It flows naturally from the previous point that if you have extra time at the end of your paper, and there is no reason you shouldn’t, you MUST REVISE!

Most toppers attribute their high marks to their fantastic time management during exams that allows them to review and revise their work. Get into this habit as soon as possible as well. You could have the best possible preparation but it will all go to waste if you aren’t able to finish your paper on time and with some time left to go through your work. Revision is something that allows you to recheck your calculations, your steps and methods with a fine toothed comb, letting you weed out unforced errors that would have otherwise gone unchecked and would have inevitably led to a loss of marks. Revising your work is the best way to eliminate silly mistakes and ensure high marks in all exams, especially math as it is heavy on calculations and small mistakes pop up in the most unexpected of places!

Practice Makes Perfect: Up until now we have discussed 4 tips that work in conjunction to deliver proven results. However, none of them will work without this final piece of the puzzle, PRACTICE.

Let’s be honest, there are no shortcuts and no magic spells to success. Marks are earned, and so are the accolades that come with scoring well. The only thing that ensures that the 4 tips above work 100% of the time is practice. You must drill yourself to apply these techniques and tips. You have to get into the habit of picking up up a pen and paper and manually solve difficult problems rather than just reading the solutions. ACTIVE learning is the ONLY way to ensure consistent results and that is what we enshrine, practice and preach here at our Cuemath classes.