How to study Mathematics for exams: tips, themes and strategies
Mathematics for competitions is one of the subjects that most frightens concurseiros when it appears in an announcement. After all, it is the most feared subject since the early years of school. However, many do not know what can be considered basic mathematics for competitions .
Therefore, in today’s text, we will deal with how to learn mathematics for contests, which topics to study more and how you can master the subject with a lot of study and practice. Check out our tips!
What is basic math for exams?
The first doubt to be answered on this subject is what exactly the public notices mean by “basic mathematics for competitions” . We can consider basic mathematics as what is taught in elementary and high school, that is, from the sixth year to the last of high school.
Therefore, anyone who wants to take a public tender that requires basic mathematics can get ahead if they have already completed high school. So you only need to review material you’ve already learned.
However, sometimes what we learn in school is taught in a shallow way or it can be a long time since we finished high school and all these subjects were forgotten.
Therefore, knowing how to put together a good study plan for basic mathematics for competitions is essential. With it, you study efficiently to achieve the desired results.
Mathematics study plan for exams
To know how to put together your study plan , you must first know what are the most frequent topics about basic mathematics that fall on tests.
It is important to remember that these topics may change depending on the position you are applying for, after all, each profession requires some specialized knowledge.
However, these are the math subjects for the most recurring exams and most likely to fall on a test:
Elementary School Topics
The subjects below, common in basic mathematics exams, are taught in elementary school — from the sixth to the ninth grade.
- Decimal metric system;
- proportional division;
- Rule of three simple and compound;
- 1st and 2nd degree equations;
- Notable products;
- Algebraic factorization;
- Flat figures area;
High School Topics
The topics below are taught in the three years corresponding to High School and are also part of basic mathematics for competitions.
- Arithmetic and geometric progression;
- Notion of function;
- Simple and compound interest;
- Combinatorial analysis;
- Matrices and determinants.
However, there is no point in knowing all these contents if you do not master the fundamental topics of mathematics. Those taught at the very beginning of school life, from the sixth year of Fundamental (which, in the past, was called the fifth grade).
If you don’t know where to start studying for exam math, start by reviewing these basic subjects. That way, when you get to the more specific topics, you’ll have all the foundation you need to build on your knowledge.
Below, we list what are the basic topics of mathematics for exams that you should include in your study plan.
Mathematics for competition: what to study?
- Basic operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, potentiation, rooting, numeric expressions;
- Interpretation of mathematical problems involving basic operations;
- Prime numbers;
- Complete factorization;
- GCD (Greatest Common Divisor) and LCM (Least Common Multiple);
- Fractions (equivalent fractions, basic operations, expressions with fractions, problems involving fractions, etc.);
- Decimal numbers and operations;
- Decimal metric system.
By reviewing these topics, you create a solid foundation to study the most common subjects in mathematics for civil service exams and even solve some questions more easily.
In addition, you must solve any calculation at the tip of the pencil – which is still a very big concern among many concurseiros who are used to using calculators.
Tips for studying basic math for exams
Mathematics exercises for exams are not always divided into topics.
Therefore, try to study questions involving logic first.
Mathematics is a difficult subject for many people. Therefore, it is important to clarify two topics that will facilitate your understanding of the discipline and increase the efficiency of your studies.
#1) Threads are not always separate
In mathematics for contests, many topics are based on others. For example, even if logarithms are not on the list of most common subjects in contests, you need to understand a little about the subject to learn compound interest.
So keep in mind that you may need to study a lot more than what’s on this list.
And when you come across a subject that you can’t understand at all, research it and find out if you don’t need to learn some other subject first. It is quite possible that this is preventing you from moving forward!
#2) Logical reasoning goes beyond topics
You must have seen it in public notices or someone commented that logical reasoning is the most charged in tests in the basic mathematics part for public tenders, right?
But why then is it not on the list of most common topics? It’s because logical reasoning isn’t exactly a topic.
We emphasize that, even if the content of basic mathematics is not expressly included in its announcement, several of its topics are necessary to understand Logical Reasoning. And this is a discipline that is much more present in public notices.
General tips on how to learn math for exams
- Even if you are taking a preparatory course that has a good math study program for exams, your guide should always be the public notice. If the announcement of the next tender has not yet been released, look for the notices of past tenders to base yourself;
- Speaking of cramming, if you don’t have a good foundation in math, taking a course is essential;
- Knowing how to learn math for exams can be a slow process that requires a lot of patience and time. Don’t try to do everything at the last minute and start planning ahead, without running around . The longer you study and the greater your consistency, the better;
- While some subjects can be studied only with books and highlighters – although this is not recommended –, mathematics needs constant fixation exercises . Without them, you’ll never be sure you’re learning! Therefore, include many math exercises for exams in your study cycle ;
- Mathematics for exams can be a very exhausting subject for the head. So don’t try to spend the whole day on top of it. Alternate math studies with something that is lighter so you don’t end the day with that feeling of exhaustion;
- Do not use a calculator while studying. You won’t be able to use it on the test! Study the basic operations a lot and solve everything you can at the tip of your pencil. If you want to use the calculator, let it be just to check the answers to your calculations;
- Organization is the key to all types of learning. Do not start studying mathematics at random, choosing from above what will be studied. Plan your studies and follow that plan daily. Start with the basic materials that we present here and add what is present in the public notices;
- If math is not your favorite subject, or you are not very good with it, do not despair: even if it is difficult, nothing is impossible to learn. Keep studying often and don’t think that exam math is just for geniuses;
- In 2019, Alexandre Meirelles published a book on Basic Mathematics together with Alex Lira. The book contains all this content in a very well explained way, with almost 1,000 commented questions. Here’s the tip!
To reiterate: Organization is the key to how to learn math for exams
There are many myths surrounding mathematics. The perception that it is the most difficult subject in the world is what most disturbs the concurseiros.
Look at math for exams like any other subject: something you will study and learn in your own time and at your own pace .
As we mentioned above, studying at random does not contribute to good learning. Therefore, we always advise candidates to use tools that help organize their studies.