Retention seems to be a challenge for a number of students whom I see. Topics are covered in a given chapter then quickly forgotten. This is of course a big mistake. I suggest to students that they mentally tell themselves to 'hold onto this information.' Another suggestion is to keep a running formula sheet in their binder somewhere that can be continually added to as new formulas or topics are learned. When adding new formulas you can quickly review recently and not so recently learned ones. On the Math section of the ACT, topics through Algebra 2 are covered and many students have already forgotten a large part of what they learned in Geometry. So, a large part of being successful in math is not just learning new material but rather holding onto the old. Why is it so difficult to remember? When I think of other subjects such as Biology, for instance, there is many times more facts to remember than in math. Part of the reason I believe it is hard to remember is because new facts are shallowly understood as well as not tied into previously learned concepts. This is why I focus on understanding why and how something works as understanding trumps memorization every time. You can often quickly figure out a problem even in the absence of a given formula if you understand how and why a formula works. So work on deepening your understanding and see how what your leaning in math ties into the greater whole of Math. Also, the holiday break is quickly approaching-this may be a good time to take some practice ACT tests and get in some quality practice. You can break up the test and do a part every few days, then by the end of the break you will have completed a few tests. Happy Holidays.
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