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cant remember what the things i study

when i study my math i study hard and i can understand it well but the moment i go to take a test i cant remember how to work out a problem or how to do the problem. my mind goes u have any ways of helping me fix that.

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J S. | Your key to success in Biology Pre-Med, Nursing, AP, science/math, SATYour key to success in Biology Pre-Med, ...

Sometimes you might just blank out for a few moments when you read a question, if that doesn't panic you and you take time to realize that you have studied the material and it is somewhere in your brain, you may find the answers you seek.

Some students have learning disabilities that can be overcome.  I once had a student come and talk to suggested by one of the previous answers, "Talk to the teacher."  This was at a good college.  The student said she was studying.  I truly did not believe her but learned to give people the benefit of the doubt.  I asked her to bring me her notebook and anything else she used to study and show me how she studied.  She did.  I was really stumped because this student had studied likely more than any student I'd had before or since.  She had a great notebook, study cards, pictures, memory devices...You name it, she had it.  As a result, I had no idea what to suggest to her.  She was doing everything possible it seemed.  I sent her to the academic center on campus and they tested her learning ability.  Certain difficulties showed up.  They showed her one or two tricks specific to her inability to process newly learned information.  That took about an hour all together.  She went from F's to A's in all her college classes.  She thanked me...but, I just sent her to the professionals.  It sounds like you might have a problem processing data like this student did.  Based on that student's experience, you can likely resolve your study difficulties quickly with professional help.  See if your previous elementary/high school/college has someone trained in testing about learning.

Are you learning at a simple level...for example, you can define words, or spit back a formula?  Can you put the definition in your own words, or list places the formula can be used?  Can you create ways to remember the material?  Can you solve problems (here I don't mean math problems, but, rather, real-world problems) with what you learned?  Try to use what you have learned at many levels.  Summarize it.  Paraphrase it.  Expand it.  See if it fits with any news in today's newspaper.  Synthesize new ways to use the material.  Think about what you are learning at deeper and deeper levels.  Eventually this will be done quickly, but, at first, it takes time.

Another idea comes to me...  When I was in grade school, we had a hundred math problems for homework every night.  Today, people often have between 0 and 5.  There is something to practice makes perfect.  Try doing more problems.  Take some practice tests, too.  

Make study guides for each question on a practice test.  Put together a little booklet from a couple sheets of blank paper.  Scrap paper is ok.  Make each page after the first about 1/2 inch longer.  On the first page, put the practice question.  On the next page tab at the bottom, put, "vocabulary." Then, list any words you don't know from the question and all the answers and define them on that page.  Use more than one page if you need to but if you need more pages, keep them the same length.  Then on the next half inch tab write out one answer.  Put one answer on each of the remaining tabs except the last.  On each page, explain what that response means and if it makes sense or not and why.  On the last tab write the answer that is the correct answer.  Again, do one booklet for each question on a practice ASVAB.  If it seems to help, do another set for another practice exam.  Before long, you will likely be able to get the correct answers without going through all of this.  You can study from these booklets.  You can get hints for what to put as explanations from various study sources you use, but, be sure to put the explanations in your own words, and, cite the sources.  Many students found these types of study guides really helped.  Their preparation is another way to study.   

Put the answers and problem solving steps both in numbers and in words... even in two or three languages Write out what you do to solve the problems in words and numbers.  

Use common sense and don't hurry.  Double check your answers.

And, yes, another well and healthily, both before studying and before the test.  Don't study on sugar overloads, or, if you are hungry.  Grab and apple or some raw nuts.  Eat balanced meals.  Drink water.  Your brain needs nourishment to work well.

Relax.  Meditate or pray.  Know that you have studied well and don't panic.  If you blank out, take a minute, breath deeply, regain your confidence and proceed.  Work on another problem first if you blank out on one.  Just skip it and come back to it.  Also, remember, in math, the answers will make sense.  Have fun with them.  Enjoy the test as a game.  

Good luck.  I am sure you will do well.  Your question will help many other students, too.  Thank you for sharing it here with us.

Dr. J

© js shipman 2013 


Kevin B. | Science & Math truly are great fun.Science & Math truly are great fun.

So, you've studied and actually learned the material.  You know it well and can sit down at home and work any problem.  Then you go and TAKE A TEST.  My advice is to stop taking a test.  Doing the problems in a room on scratch paper and then filling in a dot is just one more process than doing the problems at home.  I do not think it is the math that worries you, it's the test.   Remind yourself you know how to work the problem.  You HAVE worked similar problems.  Focus on working them again and get around to the drawing a dot bit afterwards.  I was the same was once.  I was so afraid of the test until I realized the test doesn't have anything I cannot do contained in it.  Think of it as simply more problems to have fun with and you'll do fine.

Ann Marie B. | Applied Learning Tutor For All AgesApplied Learning Tutor For All Ages

Good Morning Devin, Yes, I know that feeling of anxiety test fright:) The  1 st step  that is the best thing to do is remind yourself that you are a smart person who studies hard and understands math. It will help if you take some deep breath's and relax  so you can  clear your mind of stress about the math test.  You can figure it out as long as you don't get nervous and take your time.  Math problems on a test is exactly what you are doing as homework and  studying. Self confidence will help.  2nd step after some stress management to relax and not hurry is figure out exactly what the problems is asking you to do. Then connect  that  test problem with math problems you do in your homework and  studies. I keep a pad of paper and write down relaxations for math tests and picture myself calm and cool. I also give myself time to relax and then work out the math problems in the steps of order:) that I studied.

 take care, you will do fine work on trusting yourself and forget others are in the room, just relax so your mind can sort through all of your excellent math brain power.  So proud of you for asking this important question, hundreds even thousands of us have test anxiety which is somewhat like having to speak in public. Good Luck, let me know how this works. AnnMarie from Ohio

Brad M. | STEM Specialist plus Business, Accounting, Investment & EditingSTEM Specialist plus Business, Accountin...
4.9 4.9 (231 lesson ratings) (231)

Hey Devin!  When I'm overwhelmed by a math test problem, the concern boils down to: "how in the world do I even START this thing?" I actually CHANGE the problem to a simpler one just to get moving. Example:

"Suppose you have ducks and cows. Total leg count is 52. If there are 4 more cows than ducks, how many cows and how many ducks do you have?"   YUKK!!!  What are my formulas for MIXING cows and ducks?

To get started, DON'T "mix" anything ... Simply begin with ALL cows ... 52 legs / 4 legs per cow means starting with 13 cows ... To stay at a 52-leg count, replacing a cow needs 2 ducks ... 12 cows and 2 ducks ... 11 cows and 4 ducks ... 10 cows and 6 ducks ==> Aha -- 4 more cows than ducks! My answer!!!  No equations -- just mathematical reasoning.  Quite a few ASVAB questions may get started this way.

Another example: what is 20 x 13?  Multiplication is just a "fancy way of making a pile" ... Get out your $20 bills: 20,40,60,80,100 ... 20,40,60,80, TWO hundred ... 20,40,60 ==> 260 ... Bankers don't multiply using a calculator or "cross-multiplying ten's and one's places and carrying-over the" nonsense. Make a pile ...

27 x 13?  Do TEN 27's 1st ==> 270 plus three more 27's ("30 minus 3's") ... 300-3, 330-6, 360-9,  351 :) Warmest wishes to you, sir 

Heng X. | Everything Math, Science and ChineseEverything Math, Science and Chinese
5.0 5.0 (443 lesson ratings) (443)

The reason people forget math afterwards, sometimes is because the logic is complicated. My solution to that is to break it down to pieces that you do remember.

You said you worked hard and understood math. Before you take a break, while you still understand, pause and summarize your understanding into smaller pieces. Give those pieces a name and put them back together. Think of a Lego set: you build parts first and then put the parts together. Once you are comfortable doing that, you only need to remember fewer parts rather than the thinking process as a whole.

Another thing is that there are always key words in problems. Once you make connection between your parts and the key words, and remember those connections, reading the problem will retrieve the parts that have the connection. From there, you can start thinking about the problem, rather than going blank. 

Start small, from whatever you do understand already and build on top of those. Once you do this, the logic between steps will become much more clear. By then you will figure out most of the steps are used in many different problems. The problems will become easier too.

Best wishes!


Desiree B. | The Youth Whisperer, Tutor, Advisor, and MentorThe Youth Whisperer, Tutor, Advisor, and...

Hi Devin!!

Boy do I know where you are coming from with this. I myself have ADHD and going to college was so scary because I forget things really easy too, especially when it comes to tests. I will be perfectly, honest here and tell you that there are ways that there isn't a quick fix but with a little time you can get over this. However, it can be very time consuming. BUT, I promise if you follow this you will be successful, and if you apply this to every subject you will gain some really great insight on how to be successful in school overall. This is coming from personal experience and it worked very well for me.

1. Talk to your teacher. Ask questions and see if there are anything they may be able to provide you, some good insight on the exam, etc. This let's them know that you care, and are interested in what they have to say and often times, at least most teachers like this. It shows initiative.

2. Take really good and thorough notes. Make sure that you take really good notes because good notes are your saving grace in many cases. Always pay attention to those important words like, "This will be on your exam". If you miss anything ask your teacher after class to fill in some blanks for you.

3. Start extra early! Always give yourself a head start even when you don't feel like you want to. I always started about 2 and sometimes 3 weeks early. I made flash cards of formulas. I put formulas on the front and the name of the formula on the back. If you have terms as well then I used flash cards for those as well.

4. Write, and rewrite. This was my saving grace! I wrote and rewrote my notes over and over again. At least the parts that I KNEW were going to be on the exam. When you are in class taking notes there are several things going on. First, your reading the notes on the board, and hearing what the teacher is saying about those notes. Second, your writing those things down and reading them as you write them. So you are really getting several different forms of learning that is going on through hearing, reading, writing, and listening. When you continue to repeat that process at home over and over you will memorize it better.

5. Test yourself. Create an exam for yourself or ask your teach if he/she could create a practice exam that has different questions that are on the test but same concepts and formulas. Most teachers if they are good teachers will provide there students with what they need. If you cannot obtain one from your teacher then create your own from your notes.

6. Teach it. When you feel comfortable with what you have learned teach it. Whenever I had an exam I would borrow my roommate and teach whatever my exam was for. When you understand something and teach it you gain a deeper understanding of it. If you don't have anyone pretend that you do and speak out loud as if someone was there.

7. Study every day up to the exam, the morning of, and a quick review just before the exam.

8. Do what you know best first. When you finally get to the exam do the questions you know the best first, skip those you don't know as well and come back to them later.

It sounds like a lot of work because it really is a lot of work and that is ok. Your job right now is school and the more time you spend on it the better you will be. It took me a long time to understand that and I made that effort and it paid off for me by receiving a 3.6 in undergrad and a 4.0 through my Masters degree program. You can do it!! I hope this helps you Devin :) Have a great night. Good luck!



desiree i thank u very much for replying and giving good tips to help me. im only studying my math because its my worst subject. im studying the asvab for the army. although those r really good tips but because im not in school no more some of those tips wont help. thank u again for ur advice i will use those steps that can help. thank u again for the help. goodnight


Well, I think a better way for me to start this off would have been to ask you what specifically you were working on. My sincere apologies. Math is my worst subject as well. Yes, if you use those things that will apply to your specific situation I think you will do just fine. Repetition is the best way to get the info to stick :) I wish you the best of luck Devin!

In teaching college classes, many students with ADD and ADHD said they could learn easily and remember from the way I taught.  I tried to put as much of my teaching philosophy into my answer as possible because of those students who gave me feedback.  I hope you and anyone with similar difficulties will benefit from my answer, others' answers, and the discussion here.  Dr. J