How To Remember Maths Formulas

If you can remember Maths formulas then it will save you a lot of time in Math Methods. You won’t have to go to your bound/summary/cheat book to find them because you’ll already know them.

A Common Problem

Do you have trouble remembering Maths formulas? Are you finding it hard to remember which formula to use in a certain problem in Maths? Particularly in your tests and exams?

This is a common problem many students have. I have found that when asking my students who have trouble remembering formulas the question: “Do you write down the formula each time you use it as your first step? Or do you just write it once at the top of the page and then substitute the numbers into that formula as your first step and then repeat that process for the rest of the exercise?”

In other words “Do you only write the formula down once on the page?” And most of them do just that. And my reply is: “Because if you do then that is probably the reason why you find it hard to remember which formula to use in certain questions in your tests and exams.”

How to Remember Maths Formulas

So what is the secret to remembering Maths formulas and knowing which formulas to use in certain questions? Well firstly looking at remembering the formula.

If you write down the formula, for example the Quadratic Formula every time you use it, lets suppose there are twenty questions in the exercise on using the quadratic formula, then write it down twenty times. Once in each question as your first step. In part a), write the formula down and then substitute the numbers into it and work it out. Then do the same for part b) and then do the same for ALL the other questions.

By the time you get to the last few questions in that exercise I bet you will remember the quadratic formula! And you will probably remember it in three months time as well with a little memory jog. The thing is that to remember things you have got to get the information into your brain cells somehow. And this is usually done by repetition. And writing it down is the quickest and best way for that to happen.

You have to write steps for Maths when you are solving problems anyway so you may as well write the formula as well! And if you do that you will find that you start to remember that formula.

How to Remember Which Maths Formula to Use

As far as remembering which formula to use in certain questions, that is a bit of an organisational skill.

If you put headings at the top of your work page and you know the language of that particular topic and also do things like using a highlighter pen to put a box around formulas so that you can find them easily, you will associate the formulas with the Maths you are actually doing.

Each topic is like a little but complete package. Suppose the topic is about quadratic equations and graphs. There are numerous terms and words to know the meaning of. There are many questions to practice. And there are certain formulas and methods for doing the various questions. They all go hand in hand to make up that topic.

Writing the Formula will Help You Remember it

And if you are doing advanced Maths you really need to learn the language and the names of everything involved in the types of problems that you do and you need to write them down as often as possible. And that includes formulas as well.

You could do something like this. You could make a page just for your list of formulas for each topic at the start of each topic and write down the formulas on this page as you learn them. Then they will be easy to find and a good reference for you. You must also write them down each time you use them!

That is the one key thing you must do to remember them! It worked for me when I was in year 11 and 12 and even now when I practice advanced Maths I still write down the formula when I use it to solve a problem. If you write it down each time you use it, then you will tend to write it down correctly because you are writing the same thing down again and again. In other words you are remembering it!

Looking Ahead

What I also found when I did Maths at school was that as well as writing the formulas down each and every time I used them and also knowing the names of everything, understanding the language of that topic so to speak, that I never had a problem remembering which formula to use.

And its the same for you. When you are doing Maths homework, don’t just do the questions in the textbook without also finding out what the language means, without writing headings and that kind of thing. You’ve got to write down headings and know the names of things as well as writing down the formula each time you use it. If you do all of these things consistently then when you see them in a test, and also having practiced enough questions before the test you will know and remember which formulas to use.

And that’s really the secret. Just put that into practice and you should see things starting to change very quickly. And that also brings up the other question of how much and how to practice for tests and exams but that’s going to be in another article.