Let’s get right to the point. The only reason that math is important to any student is for grades. Forget about taxes, buying groceries, playing Monopoly or keeping score in Spades. If you can’t calculate your grades in class, then you just increase the chances of not passing. I recently looked at my undergraduate transcript to take a look at a class. When I reviewed my grades in the class I realized that I received a failing grade for a class that I passed! I pretty much flipped a lid, and I’m still angry.
If your grades are based on points or percentages, it’s going to require some math up front. Instead of asking the teacher to do hypothetical grade calculation, create one of your own and ask to review it with them–with you guiding the review. Most people don’t want to do this because they don’t feel comfortable in math, but if you control the review session it leaves the teacher to do their job and TEACH. The teacher knows that providing clarity at this point rests on them, and that denying the clarity that has been requested is like begging to be fired.
If you don’t keep up with graded materials in your class, you’re simply paying for your demise. Assignments that were never completed don’t lose their effect on your grade just because you forgot about them–every point counts. For example: if homework counts as 5% of your final grade and tests count as 60% of your final grade, you might be tempted to ignore the 5%. That’s a bad way to view this, because percentages are based on a total percentage of 100, which is like saying that homework will be 5 entire points of your final grade and tests will be 60 points. If your test average is a 75 then you only have 45 out of 60 percentage points to go towards your final grade. A 45 is not passing–you’re going to need alot of points from somewhere–so now that 5 points from homework are looking alot prettier.
Schedule your assignments just like you schedule your job. You know what time you’ve got to go to work every week, so know what assignments are due each week. When you see your tasks it gives them importance, and it gives you the potential to engage the assignments. But if you never make your assignments visible–give them a face–then they remain invisible until your failed grade gets the spot light…