Article by Penny Drastik
Resources to Help you Study Mathematics
Creating a dedicated study space or setup is one of the best ways you can improve your exam preparation and study skills. Think about the tools you're currently using to learn maths. Are you someone who finds homework boring and are looking for a way to make the experience less painful? Are you happy with your current approach but interested in finding new resources to make your study time more efficient? Let's take a look at some ways to change up your study routine:

Writing Materials
For many years I just used notebooks or scrap paper for all my homework and notes. It worked reasonably well, but there were clear downsides – for example, all this paper accumulates over time and unless you're highly organised, you're likely to lose some important documents or at least waste a lot of time searching for them. It's also harder to keep backups and to ensure that you have taken all your notes with you when moving around (school, home, library etc). That being said, I believe it is important to spend some time working with paper and pen, especially in the lead-up to exams. The idea is to become comfortable using limited space and not having an easily available "undo". If you don't routinely use paper and pen during study time, I would recommend doing practice papers under exam conditions to get in the zone before you actually sit down to take the test.

The main change I made to my room during the transition from high school to university was the addition of a large whiteboard. As the maths I was studying became increasingly advanced, I found that having all that extra writing space made life so much easier. Keeping track of a long calculation on multiple pieces of paper, or searching through my messy desk to find an important piece of information I'd jotted down somewhere random were things of the past. Writing on the whiteboard also helped me stay focussed on problems (being able to see the big picture) and reduce the number of careless mistakes I made (constantly staring at all your calculations rather than finishing writing a page and putting it aside makes it more likely that you'll spot a problem, or at least speed up the error-checking process). Whiteboard vs blackboard? I find chalk very messy, so dry-erase markers were an obvious choice, but other than that the two are very similar and it comes down to your personal preference and your study space.
Reusable Notebooks
If you would like a whiteboard but don't have the room, consider getting an erasable notebook. These are notebooks made of whiteboard-like materials which can be written in, wiped clean then reused indefinitely. One advantage of these products is that many are compatible with cloud storage services (pages scanned onto your phone via an app will automatically upload to a service of your choice) and so you can make copies of your work before erasing. My personal choice is Rocketbook, since the compatible pens are easily accessible and can also be used on actual paper, but the number of products in the erasable notebook market is steadily increasing so I'd recommend researching alternatives such as Wipebook and Elfinbook as well.
Image: Example of a reusable notebook page after scanning and processing using the Rocketbook app
Tablets and Personal Computers
Clearly technology is an essential study resource for today's student, but I wanted to point out one specific way that I improved my study habits using mobile devices. In high school, my device of choice was a laptop, at the start of university I decided to switch to a slimmer, lighter 7" tablet, and only after a few years did I find my ideal solution – a larger tablet with a stylus.

My preference is the 11" iPad Pro, which is big enough for me to write comfortably and read using split screen mode while being small and light enough to carry around easily and sit comfortably on my lap. This also allows me to carry around a lot less – textbooks, handouts, lecture notes, research papers and more can all be created, edited and stored on the tablet.

Furthermore, in maths it is often easiest to write your notes by hand (instead of typing, which is very slow and can break your immersion or focus). So the tablet and stylus combine the best aspects of technology with the ease and simplicity of handwritten notes.

If you are using a laptop or desktop computer and would like to incorporate more handwritten work into your study time then consider a graphics tablet. I would only recommend typing up maths notes as a last step before an exam to consolidate your knowledge, and if you feel that you really have nothing else to do – a lot of time will be spent on inputting mathematical symbols and equations into the computer, and this effort could be better spent elsewhere.
Mathematics Applications
Tools such as Wolfram Alpha, Desmos or Geogebra can be really useful for checking your work and exploring new ideas from a visual perspective, but be careful not to become overly reliant on such resources. Only check your solution once you've completely finished the problem you're solving, and when using a graphing program to study new topics, always make your best guess at the shape of a function before trying it out on the computer. If you get completely stuck on a graphing problem, remember that plotting points is an easy way to get a better idea of what's going on, and as long as you have a calculator you can try it with any function.
Image: Using Desmos to explore trigonometric functions
Wolfram Alpha Pro offers "step by step solutions", but I don't think this is worth using. Not only is there the temptation input all your questions, but there is also the issue that you're missing out on a learning experience – sharing the problem with a friend, teacher or tutor is a much better approach. You learn a lot from discussing the ideas you've already tried, identifying the places you got stuck and seeing another person's perspective on the problem-solving process.
Image: Using Wolfram Alpha to check your answer and visualise a problem
I don't use any maths software on my tablet, but I do use a few apps to help stay organised. Notability by Gingerlabs is my choice for note-taking – the main reason for this was that at the time I bought it, the main competitor Goodnotes didn't support my choice of cloud storage backup Google Drive – but there are a variety of well-designed apps out there and I'd encourage you to take a look at all the options. If you like to keep electronic copies of your textbooks, then PdfExpert is a popular app for reading and annotating pdfs. While many note-taking apps have this functionality, somebody who frequently uses large pdfs will want the extra features and user experience improvements offered by a dedicated pdf management app.

Image: Example page from Notability app
Cloud Storage
Finally, a cloud storage service is highly recommended to back up your work and easily share files. I like Google Drive since I do most of my communication via Gmail, but there are many good alternatives including Dropbox and OneDrive.

Everyone learns differently, so everyone will have a different ideal study setup. Even if a particular suggestion doesn't work for you, testing it out will help you learn about what you do and don't find useful in a study space. Hopefully this article has given you some new ideas to try and resources to use when studying maths!