Thanks to our club member Patrick Sin, and our members for compiling these Tips, as well as Marcus Barnes (M.E.B.) for the idea for this page in the first place! Got more of your own? Share them with us!
How to best use past exams:
- Use the past exams as a rough guide, for the types of questions that appeared, to what may appear on the final exam in your course.
- Look for recurring themes or patterns in the past exams. This may give some information of what to expect on the final exam.
- While using the past exams as a rough guide, note which topics were or were not covered in your lectures and required reading. You should ignore the questions in the past exams which cover material not presented in your present course. For material covered on the past exams and that was emphasized in your course, you should make sure you study that material, by whichever means seems to work best for you.
- Use the past exam as a source of practice problems which are at a level suitable for a final exam. Since Club Infinity is not allowed to give them out, team up with other individuals in your class, discuss and compare your answers to the problems.
- Pay more attention to past exams which were given to classes which were taught by your present professor. Many professors use their past exams as guides for making new ones.
Some general study tips for math courses:
- Read and understand all material you were supposed to have read in your textbook as well as for your lecture notes.
- Do as many practice problems as you can. If these are limited, try the examples from lecture or the textbooks.
- Make study notes. That is, write out all definitions and theorems emphasized in your course, as well as any tips, suggestions, warnings, or tricks, that your professor or textbook presented. Mark material that your professor said may be on the final exam, and make sure to pay extra attention to that material. This “study note” technique forces you to use the medium of writing to reinforce your understanding and memory of the material in your course, over and above just reading the subjects covered in class. Also try making mind or concept maps for ideas that may seem complex or have some flow.
- Discuss the material with a classmate. Being able to “talk about” definitions and theorems, and related problems and why they are done in the way they are, can greatly reinforce your understanding. Make sure to have your textbook and lecture notes handy when doing this, so that you can catch any mistakes you or your classmate make in your discussion of the course material.
- Give yourself ample time to study. Try to stay relaxed, and take regular breaks every hour or so of studying. Always take advantage of times when you feel motivated to study.
- Study in a place that has a lack of distractions and that you feel comfortable in, as to reduce anxiety.
- Get your regular amount of sleep before the final exam. Eat healthy (one that is full of nutrients, and other things in moderation), and take regular exercise, such as at the Tait McKenzie Centre or at Canlan Ice Sports at York. Not doing so will result in having less mental energy to attack exam problems as a result of being drowsy.
- Take advantage of study groups on campus, such as the ones from the Student Ombuds Service, the Math Stat Lab, or tutorials organized by the course director.