1.1.1 Math Notebook

Keeping all of your own math notes in one place will be a big help. To learn math, you need to try problems on your own and write things down. Prepare a notebook to keep all the math notes you create. It can be a bound or spiral notebook, or even a binder. Use it when you do an activity in the main portion or a problem in the self-check section. In addition, make a few notes from the screens that explain a concept that is new to you or that you previously found unclear.

It is also a good idea to have a section set aside in your notebook to write down any new math terminology you run across, and its definition. Think of it as a vocabulary section. Looking back at the definition of a word can clarify a task or an explanation—and if you keep these words in your math notebook, you may actually learn them better and be able to look them up less and less frequently.

Write down the section a problem or fact came from (for example, “Section 2.1”) and give each entry a specific, meaningful title. This is important and will make it easier to find the original place the item came from.

Thinking about how you are getting on with your learning is also very helpful and you can use your math notebook to do this as well. Consider things like if you have found the best time to study, if you are taking enough notes, and if you have understood all the concepts covered in a unit? If you do this and spend some time reviewing your thoughts at the end of the course, you may well surprise yourself in how far you have come from the beginning. Think of it as your learning diary that is just for you to look at, so you can say just what you want!

Other than that, be as creative as you like. Make your math notebook uniquely yours: Individualize it. Just don’t take too much time to make things look nice.

1.1 Everyone Uses Math