When asked for his tips on how to study for math and science courses, Concord Academy senior Nuowen Lei ’22 responded, “Do your homework,” truly an innovative and radical idea. Jokes aside, if one indeed elects to do so, the question then becomes: does how you work on those problems affect your grasp of the material? 

Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of calculus or physics problems given for the night, it is easy to approach each question as a barrier to catching that next episode of Squid Game. Thus inevitably rises the temptation of flipping to the end of the unit for answers, or logging onto one of the many physics solution websites that Science Department Head Amy Kumpel despises before ever trying them yourself. (But, beware! Sometimes solutions found online are numbered falsely, so make sure to double check before you jot them down.) Unfortunately, how one approaches their practice in their own time can become a crucial factor in studying math and science, and slacking off usually does not help. 

But what if the problems are just too difficult? John Pickle of the Academic Support Center shared the following tips last year; they describe how to utilize example problems and old practice problems to shore up your grasp on class material. 

  • 1) Cover the solution with a piece of paper and begin solving the problem on your own.
  • 2) If you get stuck, slide the paper down to where you differ from their process and work through what you misunderstood.
  • 3) Try to complete the rest of the problem with the solution covered.
  • 4) Check your answer.  If you differ from the given answer, now go back through the full solution to find where you made a mistake and settle your misunderstanding.

And remember, aside from these self learning techniques, CA also provides a wide variety of person-to-person academic support such as the Academic Support Center (ASC), faculty office hours, and peer tutors in the Great Room. Best of luck on your intellectual journeys!