This article was coauthored by Daron Cam. Daron Cam is an Academic Tutor and the Founder of Bay Area Tutors, Inc., a San Francisco Bay Areabased tutoring service that provides tutoring in mathematics, science, and overall academic confidence building. Daron has over eight years of teaching math in classrooms and over nine years of oneonone tutoring experience. He teaches all levels of math including calculus, prealgebra, algebra I, geometry, and SAT/ACT math prep. Daron holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and a math teaching credential from St. Mary's College.
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You can learn math both inside and outside of the classroom, and it doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming! Once you have a good grasp of the basics, learning the more complex stuff will feel a lot easier. This article will teach you those basics (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) and also give you strategies you can use in and out of the classroom to help you better learn math.
Steps
Part 1
Part 1 of 6:Keys to Being a Good Math Student

1Show up for class. When you miss class, you have to learn the concepts either from a classmate or from your textbook. You'll never get as good of an overview from your friends or from the text as you will from your teacher.
 Come to class on time. In fact, come a little early and open your notebook to the right place, open your textbook and take out your calculator so that you're ready to start when your teacher is ready to start.
 Only skip class if you are sick. When you do miss class, talk to a classmate to find out what the teacher talked about and what homework was assigned.

2Work along with your teacher. If your teacher works problems at the front of your class, then work along with the teacher in your notebook.
 Make sure that your notes are clear, easy to read and cover all of the steps you need to solve the problems.^{[1] X Expert Source Daron CamAcademic Tutor Expert Interview. 29 May 2020. } Don't just write down the problems. Also write down anything that the teacher says that increases your understanding of the concepts.
 Work any sample problems that your teacher posts for you to do. When the teacher walks around the classroom as you work, answer questions.
 Participate while the teacher is working a problem. Don't wait for your teacher to call on you. Volunteer to answer when you know the answer, and raise your hand to ask questions when you're unsure of what's being taught.
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3Do your homework the same day as it's assigned. When you do the homework the same day, the concepts are fresh on your mind. Sometimes, finishing your homework the same day isn't possible. Just make sure that your homework is complete before you go to class.

4Make an effort outside of class if you need help.^{[2] X Expert Source Daron CamAcademic Tutor Expert Interview. 29 May 2020. } Go to your teacher during his or her free period or during office hours.
 If you have a Math Center at your school, then find out the hours that it's open and go get some help.
 Join a study group.^{[3] X Expert Source Daron CamAcademic Tutor Expert Interview. 29 May 2020. } Good study groups usually contain 4 or 5 people at a good mix of ability levels. If you're a "C" student in math, then join a group that has 2 or 3 "A" or "B" students so that you can raise your level. Avoid joining a group full of students whose grades are lower than yours.
 If you're still struggling, consider hiring a tutor. They'll address the areas you're having trouble with and help you build a solid foundation in math.^{[4] X Expert Source Daron CamAcademic Tutor Expert Interview. 29 May 2020. }
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Part 2
Part 2 of 6:Learning Math in School

1Start with arithmetic. In most schools, students work on arithmetic during the elementary grades. Arithmetic includes the fundamentals of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
 Work on drills. Doing a lot of arithmetic problems again and again is the best way to get the fundamentals down pat. Look for software that will give you lots of different math problems to work on. Also, look for timed drills to increase your speed.
 Repetition is the basis of math. The concept has to be not only learned, but put to work for you to remember it!
 You can also find arithmetic drills online, and you can download arithmetic apps onto your mobile device.

2Progress to prealgebra. This course will provide the building blocks that you'll need to solve algebra problems later on.
 Learn about fractions and decimals. You'll learn to add, subtract, multiply and divide both fractions and decimals. Regarding fractions, you'll learn how to reduce fractions and interpret mixed numbers. Regarding decimals, you'll understand place value, and you'll be able to use decimals in word problems.
 Study ratios, proportions and percentages. These concepts will help you to learn about making comparisons.
 Solve squares and square roots. When you've mastered this topic, you'll have perfect squares of many numbers memorized. You'll also be able to work with equations containing square roots.
 Introduce yourself to basic geometry. You'll learn all of the shapes as well as 3D concepts. You'll also learn concepts like area, perimeter, volume and surface area, as well as information about parallel and perpendicular lines and angles.
 Understand some basic statistics. In prealgebra, your introduction to statistics mostly includes visuals like graphs, scatter plots, stemandleaf plots and histograms.
 Learn algebra basics. These will include concepts like solving simple equations containing variables, learning about properties like the distributive property, graphing simple equations and solving inequalities.

3Advance to Algebra I. In your first year of algebra, you will learn about the basic symbols involved in algebra. You'll also learn to:
 Solve linear equations and inequalities that contain 12 variables. You'll learn how to solve these problems not only on paper, but sometimes on a calculator as well.
 Tackle word problems. You'll be surprised how many everyday problems that you'll face in your future involve the ability to solve algebraic word problems. For example, you'll use algebra to figure out the interest rate that you earn on your bank account or on your investments. You can also use algebra to figure out how long you'll have to travel based on the speed of your car.
 Work with exponents. When you start solving equations with polynomials (expressions containing both numbers and variables), you'll have to understand how to use exponents. This may also include working with scientific notation. Once you have exponents down, you can learn to add, subtract, multiply and divide polynomial expressions.
 Understand functions and graphs. In algebra, you'll really get into graphic equations. You'll learn how to calculate the slope of a line, how to put equations into pointslope form, and how to calculate the x and yintercepts of a line using slopeintercept form.
 Figure out systems of equations. Sometimes, you're given 2 separate equations with both x and y variables, and you have to solve for x or y for both equations. Fortunately, you'll learn many tricks for solving these equation including graphing, substitution and addition.^{[5] X Research source }

4Get into geometry. In geometry, you'll learn about the properties of lines, segments, angles and shapes.^{[6] X Research source }
 You'll memorize a number of theorems and corollaries that will help you to understand the rules of geometry.
 You'll learn how to calculate the area of a circle, how to use the Pythagorean theorem and how to figure out relationships between angles and sides of special triangles.
 You'll see a lot of geometry on future standardized tests like the SAT, the ACT and the GRE.

5Take on Algebra II. Algebra II builds on the concepts that you learned in Algebra I but adds more complex topics involving more complex nonlinear functions and matrices.

6Tackle trigonometry. You know the words of trig: sine, cosine, tangent, etc. Trigonometry will teach you many practical ways to calculate angles and lengths of lines, and these skills will be invaluable for people who go into construction, architecture, engineering or surveying.

7Count on some calculus. Calculus may sound intimidating, but it's an amazing tool chest for understanding both the behavior of numbers and the world around you.
 Calculus will teach you about functions and about limits. You'll see the behavior or a number of useful functions including e^x and logarithmic functions.
 You'll also learn how to calculate and work with derivatives. A first derivative gives you information based on the slope of a tangent line to an equation. For instance, a derivative tells you the rate at which something is changing in a nonlinear situation. A second derivative will tell you whether a function is increasing or decreasing along a certain interval so that you can determine the concavity of a function.
 Integrals will teach you how to calculate the area beneath a curve as well as volume.
 High school calculus usually ends with sequences and series. Although students won't see many applications for series, they are important to people who go on to study differential equations.
 Calculus is still only the beginning for some. If you are considering a career with a high involvement of math and science, like an engineer, try going a bit farther!^{[7] X Research source }
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Part 3
Part 3 of 6:Math FundamentalsAce Some Addition

1Start with "+1" facts. Adding 1 to a number takes you to the next highest number on the number line. For example, 2 + 1 = 3.

2Understand zeroes. Any number added to zero equals the same number because "zero" is the same as "nothing."

3Learn doubles. Doubles are problems that involve adding two of the same number. For example, 3 + 3 = 6 is an example of an equation involving doubles.

4Use mapping to learn about other addition solutions. In the example below, you learn through mapping what happens when you add 3 to 5, 2 and 1. Try the "add 2" problems on your own.

5Go beyond 10. Learn to add 3 numbers together to get a number larger than 10.

6Add larger numbers. Learn about regrouping 1s into the 10s place, 10s into the 100s place, etc.
 Add the numbers in the right column first. 8 + 4 = 12, which means you have 1 10 and 2 1s. Write down the 2 under the 1s column.
 Write the 1 over the 10s column.
 Add the 10s column together.
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Part 4
Part 4 of 6:Math FundamentalsStrategies for Subtraction

1Start with "backwards 1." Subtracting 1 from a number takes you backwards 1 number. For example, 4  1 = 3.

2Learn doubles subtraction. For instance, you add the doubles 5 + 5 to get 10. Just write the equation backward to get 10  5 = 5.
 If 5 + 5 = 10, then 10  5 = 5.
 If 2 + 2 = 4, then 4  2 = 2.

3Memorize fact families. For example:
 3 + 1 = 4
 1 + 3 = 4
 4  1 = 3
 4  3 = 1

4Find the missing numbers. For example, ___ + 1 = 6 (the answer is 5). This also sets the foundation for algebra and beyond.

5Memorize subtraction facts up to 20.

6Practice subtracting 1digit numbers from 2digit numbers without borrowing. Subtract the numbers in the 1s column and bring down the number in the 10s column.

7Practice place value to prepare for subtracting with borrowing.
 32 = 3 10s and 2 1s.
 64 = 6 10s and 4 1s.
 96 = __ 10s and __ 1s.

8Subtract with borrowing.
 You want to subtract 42  37. You start by trying to subtract 2  7 in the 1s column. However, that doesn't work!
 Borrow 10 from the 10s column and put it into the 1s column. Instead of 4 10s, you now have 3 10s. Instead of 2 1s, you now have 12 1s.
 Subtract your 1s column first: 12  7 = 5. Then, check the 10s column. Since 3  3 = 0, you don't have to write 0. Your answer is 5.^{[8] X Research source }
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Part 5
Part 5 of 6:Math FundamentalsMaster Multiplication

1Start with 1s and 0s. Any number times 1 is equal to itself. Any number times zero equals zero.

2Memorize the multiplication table.

3Practice singledigit multiplication problems

4Multiply 2digit numbers times 1digit numbers.
 Multiply the bottom right number by the top right number.
 Multiply the bottom right number by the top left number.

5Multiply 2 2digit numbers.
 Multiply the bottom right number by the top right and then the top left numbers.
 Shift the second row one digit to the left.
 Multiply the bottom left number by the top right and then the top left numbers.
 Add the columns together.

6Multiply and regroup the columns.
 You want to multiply 34 x 6. You start by multiplying the 1s column (4 x 6), but you can't have 24 1s in the 1s column.
 Keep 4 1s in the 1s column. Move the 2 10s over to the 10s column.
 Multiply 6 x 3, which equals 18. Add the 2 that you carried over, which will equal 20.
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Part 6
Part 6 of 6:Math FundamentalsDiscover Division

1Think of division as the opposite of multiplication. If 4 x 4 = 16, then 16 / 4 = 4.

2Write out your division problem.
 Divide the number to the left of the division symbol, or the divisor, into the first number under the division symbol. Since 6 / 2 = 3, you'll write 3 on top of the division symbol.
 Multiply the number on top of the division symbol by the divisor. Bring the product down under the first number under the division symbol. Since 3 x 2 = 6, then you'll bring a 6 down.
 Subtract the 2 numbers that you've written. 6  6 = 0. You can leave the 0 blank also, since you don't usually start a new number with 0.
 Bring the second number that is under the division symbol down.
 Divide the number that you brought down by the divisor. In this case, 8 / 2 = 4. Write 4 on top of the division symbol.
 Multiply the top right number by the divisor and bring the number down. 4 x 2 = 8.
 Subtract the numbers. The final subtraction equals zero, which means that you have finished the problem. 68 / 2 = 34.

3Account for remainders. Some divisors won't divide evenly into other numbers. When you've finished your final subtraction, and you have no more numbers to bring down, then the final number is your remainder.Advertisement
Expert Q&A
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QuestionHow can I solve math problems?Daron CamDaron Cam is an Academic Tutor and the Founder of Bay Area Tutors, Inc., a San Francisco Bay Areabased tutoring service that provides tutoring in mathematics, science, and overall academic confidence building. Daron has over eight years of teaching math in classrooms and over nine years of oneonone tutoring experience. He teaches all levels of math including calculus, prealgebra, algebra I, geometry, and SAT/ACT math prep. Daron holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and a math teaching credential from St. Mary's College.
Math Tutor 
QuestionCan you skip a year of math?Daron CamDaron Cam is an Academic Tutor and the Founder of Bay Area Tutors, Inc., a San Francisco Bay Areabased tutoring service that provides tutoring in mathematics, science, and overall academic confidence building. Daron has over eight years of teaching math in classrooms and over nine years of oneonone tutoring experience. He teaches all levels of math including calculus, prealgebra, algebra I, geometry, and SAT/ACT math prep. Daron holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and a math teaching credential from St. Mary's College.
Math Tutor 
QuestionHow can I get extra help in math?Daron CamDaron Cam is an Academic Tutor and the Founder of Bay Area Tutors, Inc., a San Francisco Bay Areabased tutoring service that provides tutoring in mathematics, science, and overall academic confidence building. Daron has over eight years of teaching math in classrooms and over nine years of oneonone tutoring experience. He teaches all levels of math including calculus, prealgebra, algebra I, geometry, and SAT/ACT math prep. Daron holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and a math teaching credential from St. Mary's College.
Math Tutor
Video
Tips
 Mathematics is not a passive activity. You cannot learn mathematics by reading a textbook. Use online tools or worksheets from your teacher to practice problems until you understand the concepts.Thanks!
 Practice topic by topic. Master a topic at a time, so that you can find out your strengths and weaknesses. Once you've got all the topics covered, start doing practice papers. The more practice, the better!Thanks!
 Concepts is the part of math that cannot be forsaken. Sometimes it is better to know the concepts and get it wrong than to not know the concepts and get it right.Thanks!
 Try to dissect each problem so it seems less intimidating.Thanks!
 Each concept in math is like a building block. It's best to make sure you have a solid understanding of it before moving onto something new.^{[9] X Expert Source Daron CamAcademic Tutor Expert Interview. 29 May 2020. }Thanks!
Warnings
 Don't become dependent on a calculator. Learn to solve the problems by hand so that you understand the stepbystep process. However, a calculator may become necessary in higherlevel math courses in high school and college.Thanks!
Things You'll Need
 Writing utensil (pencil or pen)
 Eraser
 Paper
 Scale
 Sharpener
 Calculator
 Notebook
 Geometry set
References
 ↑ Daron Cam. Academic Tutor. Expert Interview. 29 May 2020.
 ↑ Daron Cam. Academic Tutor. Expert Interview. 29 May 2020.
 ↑ Daron Cam. Academic Tutor. Expert Interview. 29 May 2020.
 ↑ Daron Cam. Academic Tutor. Expert Interview. 29 May 2020.
 ↑ http://www.shmoop.com/learningguides/
 ↑ http://www.classzone.com/books/geometry_concepts/index.cfm
 ↑ http://tutorial.math.lamar.edu/Classes/CalcII/SeriesIntro.aspx
 ↑ http://www.helpingwithmath.com/
 ↑ Daron Cam. Academic Tutor. Expert Interview. 29 May 2020.
About This Article
If you want to learn math, start with basic arithmetic, which involves addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. You can try worksheets, flash cards, or online software to help you memorize math problems. Once you feel comfortable with these, learn how to work with fractions and decimals, which are the basis of prealgebra. From there, learn how to solve problems with a variable, usually the letter x, which represents a number that you must discover. Keep reading to learn tips for solving specific math problems, like how to add or subtract large numbers.
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