Effective ways of studying algebra include reading the complete question, drawing diagrams, learning to use a calculator and starting over where necessary. When faced with a difficult problem when taking a practice test, continue with the test and return to the problem later.
First, reading math problems carefully and completely helps to give a clear idea of what is expected and the calculations required to arrive at an answer. Next, draw a diagram whenever possible. This helps to get a visual image of the problem and to see the problem objectively. This visual approach also adds auxiliary lines or labels for ideas on how to solve the problem.
Knowing how and when to use a calculator helps to get more accurate answers. It is a good idea to use the same calculator whenever possible. Read the instruction manual carefully to be conversant with the different applications.
Start a problem over again on a new sheet of paper when met with incorrect answers. Spending too much time attempting to find the error in the calculations is a time consuming process, risks overlooking the mistake and also takes the focus away from the question.
Lastly, keep the workspace and paper clean and easy to read. All work on the paper, including equations, diagrams, calculations and explanations should be written down clearly for the best result. Keeping organized also helps the student trace the correct line of thinking on the page when she finds the correct answer.