The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

123s begin with help from ABCs

By Edna Horton/nw news editor

Becoming successful in math class was the topic of a workshop held on NW Campus last week.

Vilma Manteiga, mathematics associate professor; Kristi Johnson, mathematics instructor, and Pete Portillo, accounting and economics tutor, presented The ABCs of Math as part of the NW Campus Student Success Seminars Sept. 16.

The ABCs stand for attend class, be prepared and communicate. Manteiga said NW Campus likes to do things over the top, so they added three more letters: do homework as soon as possible, entertain possibilities and form a study group.

“Something simple as attending class, that may be the absolute very most important thing you can do in order to succeed,” she said.

Being prepared means knowing what is needed each time class meets, Manteiga said. Students should have the right materials needed such as completed homework, graph paper, a straight edge or a calculator  — something above and beyond what is needed everyday.

“I’ve been here a long time, and I’m amazed to find students that come to my math classes without a paper and pencil. I am still amazed every time I see that,” she said.

Instructors can help students succeed, but only if they know the student needs it. So students must communicate. Students should notify their instructors whenever they are going to miss class and when they are having difficulty. 

Manteiga said to communicate with other students as well. If a class needs to be missed, another student can help by sharing their notes.

Students should do homework as soon as possible. Manteiga suggests doing it after class, going over notes taken in class and not waiting until the last minute. If a problem occurs at the last minute, help may not be available, she said.

“The next part is kind of a wild and wooly one: entertain your possibilities,” she said.

Students should never underestimate themselves. Past experiences such as being bad at math or thinking they can’t do it should be forgotten. Working hard and using all the resources available can help a student be successful in math class, Manteiga said.

Manteiga also suggested contacting other students to set a time to meet and form a study group. If one student is not getting it and another student is, they can help each other.

Johnson offered advice on good study skills, habits and techniques for passing tests and the course.

“There are some courses in life that you can go ‘Oh, if I read this the night before, I can take my test the next morning.’ I’ve been guilty of that,” she said, “but never in my math classes. It doesn’t work.”

Johnson said students shouldn’t wait until the night before a test to learn the material. They should do homework daily and be neat. She said to write down what the instructor did in class, study notes and do examples.

Johnson also suggested practicing repetition — do the same type of problem several times.

Johnson said students should take a pretest at least a day or two before an exam to determine readiness for the real test. Students should circle questions that are missed then do those as another pretest. She said this technique has helped students in the past.

“They have told me that it really, really helped them. So especially if you are struggling with any math anxiety or test-taking anxiety, this is a good way to help you get over that test-taking anxiety,” she said.

Pete Portillo talked to the students about the learning center, where math tutoring is available to NW students free of charge.

Six or seven student tutors are available, and the center is open Monday-Saturday.

“Even if you don’t need tutoring, it’s a good idea to go down there and do your work,” he said.

Student Taylor Cantly said he was interested in knowing what the topic was about.

“I liked the tip about doing your homework as soon as possible,” he said.

Daniel Horn was there because Johnson recommended it to him, and he is one of her students.

Courtney Redden and Kelli Camp’s instructor Edna Greenwood gave them a free period to attend the workshop.

“We had a test on Friday, so I studied for like three days straight then went to the math class an hour before and still made a 79, so I was trying to come up with some other study habits,” Camp said.

The math tutoring lab is located in WCTS 1148. Hours are 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. 

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