Your teen will do better in math, and like it more, if she learns to:

Estimate. “Educated guesses” are one important way to arrive at precise answers. Say your teen has to multiply two four-digit numbers. One number ends in 3. The other ends in 2. Since 3 times 2 equals 6, the answer to the four-digit multiplication problem must end in 6. Knowing that gives your teen a simple way to check her work.

Remember. When your teen sees a new problem, she should think about old problems. What has she done that was similar? Did she use a formula? Can she use the same one here?

Turn things around. A good way to check long problems is to do them backward.

Draw. When your teen’s teacher presents a new concept, have her ask him to show her how to illustrate it. Often a drawing or diagram can help your teen better understand the problem.

Write. If your teen likes words better than numbers, have her ask her teacher to provide an example of a word problem that fits the concept she is learning. It may help her to know what the formula is saying, rather than just how it looks.