MyMathLab: Preparing For The Final – Part 2

December 7, 2010 at 6:38 am 3 comments

We’re down to the last week of the semester, so I thought I would share some of the built-in features of MyMathLab that students can use to help prepare for their final exam.

Practice Tests

MyMathLab has a series of practice tests that are preloaded. Each chapter has two sample tests. One can be considered to be a pretest and the other as a post test. Students can access these tests by going to their homework page and clicking on the Quizzes & Tests button.

Students can take the sample tests for the chapters being covered on the final exam. It’s a great opportunity for self-assessment –

  • “Do I know the material without my resources?”
  • “Am I working fast enough?”
  • “Are there areas I need to improve?”

I often recommend that my students click through these tests as a last preparation. I tell them not to actually do the problems, but instead to simply think about their strategy for each problem in a rapid fire manner.

Use the Study Plan

For students who want to rework problems and get immediate feedback, the Study Plan is a great idea. Upon completion of an individual problem, students will find out if they were correct or incorrect. (On the sample tests mentioned above, students must wait until the end of the test to find out.) All of the learning aids are available in this format, so students can get help on problems they are struggling with.

I tell my students to find their areas of difficulty, then go to the appropriates chapters & sections in the study plan.

Pass the Test Videos

The Pass the Test videos show an instructor working out each problem in the textbook’s Chapter Tests by hand. (For some textbooks these videos are in MyMathLab, others come on a CD bundled with the book. Pearson is transitioning all of the videos to a YouTube channel.)

I tell my students to try one of the chapter tests by hand, and then to check their answers in the back of the book. For problems that they got wrong, they can view the Pass the Test video.

Some students like to watch all of the Pass the Test videos (without actually doing the problems beforehand) as a quick review session.


If you are a student, I hope you consider using some of these built-in features of MyMathLab to help prepare for your final exam.

Instructors – How do you use MyMathLab to help your students prepare for their final exam? Please leave a comment, or reach me through the contact page at my web site –


I am a math instructor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. Each Monday I post an article related to MyMathLab on my blog. If there’s a particular topic you’d like me to address, or if you have a question or a comment, please let me know. You can reach me through the contact page on my website –


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3 Comments Add your own

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by George Woodbury, George Woodbury. George Woodbury said: MyMathLab: Preparing For The Final – Part 2: […]

  • 2. Jonathan patterson  |  October 23, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I have something to say about mymathlab precalculus fall 2011: I think that there is to much material, and moreover my professor on has time to tackle certain components from each section, a highlighting of the workbook, if you will.

    With all that said, the test are comprised more of the quizes that than the test reviews.

    The test reviews are just a cluster f u c k of the homework problems.
    There is no way possible to master every homework problem as well as the study plan all the pre and post test. There is just not enough hours in the day.

    Sigh. I am passing this class no problem, but I am always trying to figure out a pattern where I can be sucessful in this class. I shouldnt have to do that.

    • 3. georgewoodbury  |  October 23, 2011 at 4:01 pm

      Hi Jonathan. Just a couple of things from an instructor’s point-of-view, as well as a suggestion for students who find themselves in a similar spot.
      Precalculus courses are often jammed with material, with the idea that every algebra skill that might show up in a calculus course needs to be covered. I’m not saying that I agree that it should be that way, but that is the status quo. If your instructor does not cover all of the material, students could find themselves underprepared for calculus. If your instructor has to rush through the material, there’s a risk that students will not be able to carry those skills to their calculus course. It’s a real catch-22.
      At least you know that the quizzes are better preparation for your exams, as compared to the test reviews. That’s a huge advantage. As far as the Study Plan goes, I would use that only to seek out practice problems. For example, if you are having trouble with a certain type of problem that was on a quiz, go to the Study Plan and look for similar problems. Then you can take advantage of the learning aids to find out where you are going wrong.
      As far as advice to students …
      1) If you think there is too much material, or that your instructor isn’t covering things completely, visit your instructor during office hours to voice your concerns. An instructor needs to hear these things from students. At the very least, your instructor can explain why things are the way they are. Or, you may be helping the instructor to understand how the course is going from a student’s point of view.
      2) If you are unsure of the best way to prepare for an exam, visit your instructor’s office hours to ask for suggestions. You will find that your instructor can be quite helpful in this arena.

      Jonathan – I think you will find that many classes will require you figuring out the best way to approach the class. The key to success is to find the best strategy for that particular class as early in the semester as possible. Good luck with the rest of precalculus!


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