You may never have thought about the following in connection with math classes:

  • Math is like marathon training: you can’t not run, not run, not run, run 50 miles on Friday, and then smash that marathon on Saturday morning. What’s your training plan?
  • Math is like weight lifting: there’s always some weight you can’t lift and that’s ok. Along with your consistent training, you’ve got to test yourself to measure your progress — and it can’t be a test where you look at your notes!
  • Tests are like gymnastics floor routines: besides completing all the required elements, you’ve got to stick the landing and show the judges you’re done.
  • And just like in golf, visualization and the mental game are a huge part of performing at your peak when the pressure kicks in.

Why all the sports metaphors? After all, I’m a life-long nerd who only started doing Crossfit in her 20s!

It’s because everyone accepts that you can get better at sports skills through practice and coaching — but too many of us think math is just something you “have” or “don’t have.” Yeah, that’s ungrammatical, but listen to our language: “I just don’t get it.” “I’m just not a math person.” We’ve got an idea that math ability is in our genes — and the good news is that that’s totally false. 

Deliberate practice. Active recall. Fixed versus growth mindset. Stereotype threat. Drilling. How to write math, to satisfy those picky graders for the AP Calc free response section. We’ll cover it all (and if you join the mailing list you’ll never miss out!).

Categories: test-taking

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