You are here

Resources to help you with problem-solving & quantitative courses

General resources

Transitioning to University Math
Justin Gray, an instructor in the Department of Mathematics, gives his best advice to incoming students on how to succeed in university-level math courses, and which strategies you used in high school you may have to change.

Exam Preparation: Strategies for Success in Mathematics Courses and Other Q-Courses
The March 2009 version of a workshop presented by Dr. Malgorzata Dubiel and Dr. Jamie Mulholland of the Department of Mathematics. Contains the "Magic Key" and step-by-step preparation instructions for quantitative exams.

A Fable
Handout given an exam preparation workshop. An analogy to how students typically behave in their math classes. Most students are "Shelley"; more successful students are "Cindy". Be Cindy.

A Better Approach to Quantitative Courses:

SFU Department of Mathematics resources

Survival Guide to 1st year Mathematics at SFU
Gives excellent tips on study habits and exam preparation. Not just for 1st year students!

Survival Guide to 2nd to 4th Year Math
Which quantitative course is appropriate for you? Both of these pages include information on how to write official placement tests, as well as links to the topics these tests cover and practice tests to help you get a better sense of your current level and areas in need of review:

Q Placement Test
Assesses whether you should take FAN X99 before any "Q" courses;

Calculus Readiness Test
Assesses whether you should take MATH 100 (precalculus) before taking any calculus courses.

First Year Mathematics Guide (Professor Randall Pyke)
Contains tips that are useful for any quantitative/ problem solving course, as well as many of the above links and links to previous math and MACM exams.

General success strategies

Understanding concepts

Problem Solving Videos (McMaster University)
To learn the conceptual approach to problem solving, access these videos: 

Problem-solving tests

  • Problem Solving Exams (University of Guelph) - Tips on preparation, writing and analyzing the exam afterwards.
  • Math Study Skills: Math Tests (Mission College) - Tips on preparing for problem-solving tests, doing well on those tests, reviewing returned tests, test anxiety, and the final exam.
  • Math Test-Taking Skills (Pima Community College) - These 15 tips cover both exam preparation and exam writing for problem-solving courses.

Reading & note-taking for problem solving courses

Reading math textbooks (Mission College)
Several tips, including the "KWL Strategy".

Reading a math textbook (Pima Community College)
These tips focus on the ways in which the approach to texts in problem solving courses should be different from other textbooks, but offer good general advice for academic reading as well.

Math study skills: Note taking (Mission College)
Several tips following the model "Listen, Write, Review, Reflect."

Overcoming math anxiety

Coping with Math Anxiety (Platonic Realms Mini-Texts)
As well as offering tips, this site provides information on the social/ cultural context of math anxiety, as well as on myths and facts related to math anxiety.

Overcoming Math Anxiety (Mission College)
Includes several tips, plus links to additional online and print resources.

Tips on how to study math (& fight math anxiety) (North Virginia Community College)  

Find more resources for your particular problem-solving course.