Don’t make the mistake of taking too many
classes at once, particularly if you are just getting
started in college. As a rule of thumb, students
need to spend 2 hours studying outside of class
for each hour of class time. So, if you are taking
15 credit hours, it will likely take about 30 hours
of studying outside of class, for a total of 45
hours per week. (You can, if you want, use your
math skills to confirm these numbers!) Some classes,
like math-related classes, require more study time
than other classes. As a result, you may want to
balance your class load (by taking a less demanding
class or two) when taking a math class.
If your instructor doesn’t require you
to take a Pre-Quiz (from our Web site), you should
do it on your own. The Pre-Quiz evaluates your
skills in some basics at the start of the course.
For any questions missed, you are given page numbers
of the text to review. If you take the Pre-Quiz
and review the suggested page numbers for any questions
missed, you will be in a better position to complete
the course. You can access the Pre-Quiz under Assessment
Tools/Student Login. (Note: If your instructor
is not registered for the Assessment Tools, we
will have to get your instructor registered before
you can take the Pre-Quiz; just let us know that
you want to take the Pre-Quiz by calling 1-800-844-1856.)
Read a chapter before it is covered in class.
Doing this helps you see the big picture and gives
you a head start. Even if you don’t completely
understand everything you read, you will get MUCH
more from the
class lecture. If you have questions, you can ask
them during class. Be sure to read the introductory
page and all of the examples. You don’t need
to worry about reading the end-of-chapter material;
you can do that later. Reading the chapters in
advance does not take a lot of time,
but it will be VERY valuable; it will save you
time in the long run!
Don’t miss class, arrive late, or leave
early. Take good notes in class and ask questions
about things you don’t understand. Some students
hate asking questions because the instructor or
other students may think the questions are dumb
or because asking questions will waste class time.
The truth is, other students likely have the same
questions too. If no one asks questions, instructors
assume that everyone understands things perfectly;
by asking questions, you will be helping your instructor
know to slow down a bit.
As soon as possible after a class lecture, review
the units of the text that were covered in class.
Do the UTry- It questions at the end of those units.
Then do the Chapter Review Problems for those
example, if you cover Unit 4.1 in class, immediately
do the U-Try-It questions for Unit 4.1 and the
Chapter Review Problems for Unit 4.1 (the Chapter
Review Problems are separated by unit). By doing
the problems as soon as possible, the ideas will
be fresh and it will take less time than if you
Find a study buddy or a group of study buddies.
Studying with classmates provides a chance to
share different ways of solving problems. Remember,
there are often many ways to solve a problem.
Each student will likely have different strengths
and weaknesses; by using your combined brainpower
you will likely find an easy-to-remember solution
you may not have discovered on your own! Have
you ever felt like you didn’t know where
to start on a problem or that you were “going
These are common frustrations. Studying with
classmates is a great way to minimize these
feelings. Studying with others is not only
more effective, but it takes less time and
is more fun than doing problems on your own.
Answers to the U-Try-It questions are shown just
below the questions. Step-by-Step solutions are
shown in Appendix A of the text.
Answers to Chapter Review Problems are given
in Appendix B of the text. Step-by-Step solutions
are provided on our Web site (Step-By-Step
Solutions under Student Resources). These same
solutions are provided in printed form in a
Student Solutions Manual; if your bookstore
does not have any, you can buy one through
our Web site.
Solve the U-Try-It questions and Chapter Review
Problems without referring to the solutions;
you will learn more by struggling a bit, trying
to define the problem. Once you have an answer,
compare your answer with the one found in the
text. If your answer is wrong, compare your
solution with ours.
As you do Chapter Review Problems, circle the
problem numbers you struggle with. For example,
if you struggle with problems 7, 18, 38, and
42, circle those. Later rework circled problems.
Put a mark by the ones you still struggle with
and later do those again, until you don’t
have any problems you struggle with.
Use the Student Tutorial as a learning tool.
You can access the Student Tutorial on our Web
site under Student Resources. Your instructor
does not have to be registered for you to use
the Student Tutorial. Simply click a chapter
and begin the tutorial. The results are not
sent to your instructor—the
tutorial is for your benefit only. When completed,
you can redo any questions you missed; you
can even ask for the correct answer.
Before you do a chapter test (or midterm),
do the Practice Test(s) found at the end of
each chapter. The answers are in Appendix B
of the text, but don’t
look at the answers until you have completed
all of the questions in the Practice Test. If
your answers are wrong, you can find the step-by-step
solutions on our Web site or in a Student Solutions
Manual. Circle the problems you missed. Redo
the problems you got wrong or do a similar
problem elsewhere in the text.
If you have a comprehensive final exam, use your
circled list of Chapter Review Problems and Practice
Test questions (the questions you initially
struggled with) as a basis for review purposes.
If you have studied with classmates, study
with them when reviewing for the final. Hopefully
you will all get 100%!
Find students who can study at times that are
convenient for you, are dependable, and have
compatible personalities. Form a group.
Meet at the same times each week so you don’t
have to arrange get-togethers at the last minute.
Select a good meeting place, like a school
classroom when it’s not being used by other
Determine the most effective way to study together.
Some students sit around a table and work one
problem at a time individually, comparing answers
before moving on to the next problem. A fun and
perhaps more effective method is to use a blackboard
(or white board) in a classroom. Take turns
working problems on the board, carefully explaining
each step. Ask for help from the others. Group
members not at the board can simply watch (not
be busy working the problem themselves), anticipating
the next step; they can ask, “Why did
you do that?” or “Could
we do it this way instead?”
Reap the rewards! For the students who are quicker
at things, they learn better by explaining the
process to other students. For the students
who struggle a bit, they get to ask questions
and get new ideas on how to do things. Everyone
Here are some additional study ideas, in no particular
If you just can’t understand how to do
a particular problem, ask your instructor for
help. Some schools have labs where students can
go for help. Also, you can contact the Student
Hotline on our Web site (under “I Need
the navigation bar). E-mail your question; you
will get a response fairly quickly. Keep in mind
the hotline cannot provide help on Homework Assignment
questions or actual test questions (your instructor
wants to grade you, not grade us).
As you study and do problems, don’t just
try to memorize procedures; instead try to understand
the logic of why things work the way they do.
As an example, to find the amount of interest
on a simple interest loan we can use the formula
I = PRT. A formula like this may seem intimidating,
but it is based on common sense. If you get a
$7,000 loan (the P part) at 10% interest (the
R part), you would owe $700 for an entire year
($7,000 × 10% = $700). But if you
borrow the money for less than a year, say 6
months (or 1/2 of a year, which is the T part
of the formula), you would owe only half of the
$700, or $350.
As you do problems, try to figure out THE common
mistakes that result in wrong answers; by doing
this you will be more likely to avoid making
these mistakes later on.
As you learn from Math for
Business and Life,
look for ways you can use what you are learning.
For example, as you are studying the chapter
on Home Ownership and Mortgage Loans, think
about a home you may buy in the future. Math
for Business and Life has the reputation of
being the most real-life text on the market.
That’s why so many students
say, “Hey, this is stuff I can really use.” Having
real-life examples and problems helps make learning
As you are doing problems involving money (the
majority of problems do involve money), think
of the money as your own. You will be able
to relate to the problem better, and you will
be less likely to make a dramatic error.
Some people learn more effectively if they study
in 20-30 minute sessions, separated by short
breaks. Some research has shown that our brains
remember beginnings and endings more easily
than the middle. So, 4 study sessions of 30
minutes each provide 4 beginnings and 4 ends,
instead of 1 beginning and 1 end in a 2-hour
session, so for the same 2 hours of study we
get 4 times the benefit. The short breaks could
consist of standing up and stretching for awhile,
taking a short walk, or getting a bite to eat.
Try reviewing material just before going to bed.
During sleep, the brain sorts events of the day
backwards; while sleeping, the brain reviews,
sorts, and stores the material just studied.
When studying, use as many senses as possible.
Look at a problem, copy it down, and say it aloud.
Talking aloud about how to solve the problem
helps us organize our solution. Some people
even tape what they say aloud, then replay
the tape at various times during the day or
while going to sleep.
When doing a problem that involves more than
one step, do one step at a time. Avoid being
If you are overwhelmed with problems that include
large numbers, try substituting small numbers
and the process should be easier.
If you are an older student who has been away
from math for several years, put your experience
in the real world to work for you! Your experience
should help you relate to the real-world problems
of the text.
Be committed to finishing the course. Many
students drop out of classes because things aren’t
sinking in at first. Many of these students are
taking the class to see how things go, knowing
they will drop the class if things don’t
go well. Don’t start
your course with this attitude. Those who stick
it out generally do better later in the course
than they did in the first part of the course
and are happy they stuck with it.
Don’t sacrifice understanding for speed.
Speed will come after practice with similar problems.
If you need to, hire a tutor (or ask for help
from a friend or relative with a math background).
Experience has shown that a study buddy is more
effective than a tutor. That’s because
a study buddy is on your level. We learn from
struggling a bit with a study buddy rather
than being “told” how to work
the problem by a tutor. But if you can’t
get a study buddy, find a good math person who
has patience and will not talk above your head.
If you do get help from a math person, be sure
to do your part (like reading the text, attending
class, asking questions in class, etc.). Don’t
rely on that person to teach you, only to help
you understand procedures and the logic of the