Details to Help Deal With the Mathematics Section of COMPASS





5 Pitfalls While Studying for COMPASS Math

If you are one of those people who have a morbid fear of math, this article is for you. If you dread the Math section, and think it's where you might go bonkers in the exam, this article is for you. This article is also helpful if you want to score high in the math section of the test or if you simply want to know more about this section.

The math portion targets to determine your skills in subject areas that comprise of Pre Algebra, Algebra, College Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry. Before starting with how to study for the math section, let's discuss what you must not do. Here's a list of common mistakes that students make when preparing for math.

  1. Studying math by reading:

    The most common mistake you can do is to simply read through the practice answer key and not really solve anything. Understanding is simply not enough when you are studying for math. This section, like all other competitive and adaptive tests, is objective based. So the way you solve a question does not matter as long as you get it right. But being untimed, the test allows you to solve problems in your own sweet time. Without actually practicing, you will definitely make mistakes, and this, in turn, will wobble your confidence. If you practice hard, you will slowly gain confidence.

  2. Practicing one question on each chapter:

    Another common mistake is to solve about one or two questions from each chapter and thinking that you have covered everything. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every chapter has around 5-6 different types of questions. Solving each type of question multiple times will bring you in a more comfortable position while taking this part of the test.

  3. Feeling weighed down by Fear:

    Learn to relax if you get stuck. Most times, the answer is right before your eyes, but you fail to see it because you are weighed down by your fear. This is similar to standing in your own way. Learn to relax for a few seconds if you get stuck in a particular question. When you are taking the exam, find a way to deal with stress. Instead of recalling from your memory, try to bank on your skills and trust your abilities to figure out a solution if you don't know it. Facing your fear is the best way to make it go away. If you still find it hard, try to look at math in a less serious manner. Try to Google stories about the intricacies of math in your free time. For example, try to understand the background about prime numbers, the relations of Pi. Read about mathematicians in your free time.

  4. Jumping to advanced sections before nailing down the basics:

    Most of all, math is cumulative and needs to be learnt slowly from the basic to advanced. Do not jump to advanced chapters if you find it difficult to understand the basics. Try to understand the principles inside each chapter, and then learn to apply them in different settings before you advance in your studies.

  5. Being overconfident in your abilities.

    Last but not the least, being overconfident in your abilities will make you falter because you will jump to conclusions even before reading the problem in its entirety. It will make you trust your intuition rather than facts. Try to look for keywords in word problems, and solve them using factual information rather than intuition.

Lastly, I would like to reiterate the importance of practice. Every problem you solve on your own will make you confident in your abilities, and will give you the motivation to face more problems. The trick to crack the math section is regular, constant and dogged practice of every type of problem relevant in the exam. If you start getting bogged down because you cannot get anything right, try to relax, take a break, focus and have a go at it again. More often than not, you will slowly realise that you are getting better each day. I hope these tips help. Good luck with your exams.