Advice to students who are not getting what they expected, hoped for or wanted on quizzes and tests:

Dear Student,

I get emails like yours on a regular basis. Honestly, I probably can help you if you are willing to work with me. If you get to the test and can't "seem to be able to figure the problems out," it is a sure sign that you never mastered as a skill whatever is being tested in the first place. You may well have done it with a tutor, but there is a vast difference between watching someone else doing it, or doing it with someone else watching and correcting mistakes, and mastering the specific task as a skill. It sounds to me like you are doing the first two steps of "learning how to do the problems on a test", but you are omitting the most important third and fourth steps. The four steps are:

1) Watch someone else do it and ask questions so that you understand each step of what was done to solve a problem.

2) Do several problems of the same type with a tutor or study buddy watching to make sure you really are getting the process correct.

3) Practice several more problems where you have the answers to check your work. If you get any answer wrong, go back to step 2 with that problem.

4) Keep repeating step 3 until you don't make any more mistakes. At this point you have mastered the skill are ready to take a quiz or test.


I would be happy to help you get through step 4 for each quiz. Do steps 1 and 2 with your tutor, the math lab, and/or a study buddy. Get some practice problems for step 3. Check your answers and come to me with the ones you missed. If you and I were to do this, it would take a little bit of time when we first started, and then less and less each week. After about 3-6 weeks, you probably won't need me anymore.

I have never had a student follow this advice without seeing a significant improvement on quiz and test scores. However I have many who are unwilling to make the time to work with me.

Let me know what you think and if you wish to let me help you, email me for an appointment during my office hours. Make sure you have already completed the given homework assignments and bring your work with you.

My office hours are:

Mon, Wed: 9:00 - Chapel, 1:00 - 2:15.
Tues: 7:00-7:50 (am), 1:00-2:15
Thurs: 7:00-7:50 am
Fri: 9:30-Chapel