### Tip 1: Know your math facts!

For most students this is the single most effective way of
becoming better and more confident with math.
Know your math facts! Most
importantly, know your multiplication tables through 12, how to divide any
number by 2 quickly, perfect squares, and how to find a percent from a decimal
and vice versa.

Here memorization is key.
Read my blog every Friday for Math Fact Friday tips. Flash cards can help a lot, but only if you
actually use them! Practice them in the
car on the way to school in the morning (only if you aren’t driving!) There are also a lot of free apps you can
download on your mobile device to practice math facts and mental math. The more math you can do in your head
quickly, the less you have to use a calculator for (which takes time!)

### Tip 2: Focus! No distractions!

Turn

**off**the phone/iPod/iPad/etc and put it in**another**room to charge. Don’t even let yourself be tempted. If you don’t have a separate scientific calculator, buy one. It’s worth the $10. You will need it for higher math classes anyway and no teacher in their right mind will let you use your PHONE on a test.
While we are on the topic of calculators, make sure you know
how to use it. It takes more time if you
are trying to figure it out while you are doing your homework. Try to get the same kind you use in class so
you don’t have to learn two separate calculators. Most schools use Texas Instruments TI-30 for
scientific and TI-83 for graphing. Some
schools use Casio’s. Just ask your
teacher if you aren’t sure.

Find a quiet place to do your homework so you can
focus. If you can’t find somewhere
quiet, put on some headphones with some classical music. This is a last resort because the music
player can distract you. Ideally you
should have a iPod mini or something similar with ONLY homework songs on it.

Remember, it is YOUR responsibility to find a
distraction-free place. Don’t yell at your
sibling for distracting you if you are in the family room! Don’t be surprised if your friends won’t let
you do your homework at the lunch table.
Eat quickly and then go to the library or eat in your teacher’s
classroom.

### Tip 3: Have your resources ready!

Have everything you need to do your homework in your
backpack at

__all times__. This way you can do your homework anytime you have your backpack (at school, waiting for practice, during study hall, at home, at your friend’s house, etc.) Some things you should include in your “Homework Kit” are:- Pens (black and blue), pencils, erasers
- Textbook
- All class handouts
- Ruler, compass, protractor (if required for class)
- Calculator
- Lined paper
- Graph paper
- Cheat sheet with formulas (if you don’t have one look on the last page of your book!)

### Tip 4: Finish as much as you can at school!

Find time at school to finish as much homework as
possible. This was my main strategy
while I was in school. I practiced
gymnastics 20 or more hours per week, so finishing most of my homework at
school was a requirement if I ever wanted to sleep. I started with this strategy in 7

^{th}grade and kept with it until I graduated college!
Many classes will give you time at the end of class to start
on your homework. USE THIS TIME!!! Look over the whole assignment and do the
HARDEST problems in class so you can work with a classmate or with your teacher
to complete them. The rest of the
homework will feel like a breeze knowing you already completed the hardest
problems.

Find free time during class to complete homework
problems. Did you finish your warm-up
early? Or perhaps you finished your
classwork with time to spare. Start on
your homework!!

Also, look for time during the school day to work on
homework. If you get dropped off early,
head to your first class and finish your homework while you wait for class to
start. During nutrition break, eat on
your way to your next class. Again,
finish your homework while you wait for class to start. Obviously, if you have a free period or study
hall, work on your homework during that time.
During lunchtime, eat your lunch quickly then head to the library to
work on homework. Or better yet, ask a
teacher or counselor if you can eat lunch in their classroom and work on your
homework while you eat.

Take advantage of after school tutorials if they are
offered. Plan on going EVERY WEEK, as if
school didn’t really end until tutorial is over. Only skip if you have already finished ALL of
your homework. Or better yet, stay and
help other students with their homework!

### Students:

What are your favorite strategies for finishing math
homework quickly? Do you think you will
try any of the above strategies if you aren’t already doing them?

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