Why Do I Have To Show My Work In Maths?

The main reason why your teacher wants you to show your working in Maths is so they can see how you got your answers.

If you didn’t show any working out then they have no way of knowing what you did other than asking you what you did.

Even if you’re an ‘A’ grade student they still want to know how you got your answers. And it’s easier and quicker for them (and you!) to see how you got them rather than having to ask you how you got them.

Not Showing Your Working & Doing It In Your Head

This happens with some of my students. They do the working in their head and when I ask them how they did it they have to look at it and figure out what they did.

Because they haven’t shown any working out they find it harder to remember what they actually did – and in this way they end up taking more time to review work they have done.

And this is one of the main reasons why they don’t get an ‘A’ in Maths. Because they take shortcuts and don’t show all their working they don’t remember how to do the steps to solve problems.

Even though they understand how to work out problems as they do them, because they’re doing the steps in their head they don’t remember those steps as easily as they would if they actually wrote them down.

By taking shortcuts in the beginning it ends up costing them more time later in trying to study for tests because they don’t remember the steps they did.

If You Don’t Show Your Work In Maths

You won’t do as well in set work and in Maths tests because you won’t understand and remember the Maths as effectively as you would by showing your work.

It’s a proven fact that the hand-eye co-ordination involved when you’re writing things down makes it easier to remember and understand those things.

Also, Maths will get harder to do in your head. And at some point you’ll have to use some steps for the harder Maths and may struggle with them because you’re not used to using them – and also because you won’t have foundation steps for the harder Maths.

Students who do well in Maths know this and they have to show steps for the harder Maths – that’s why they get good marks in tests.

If you want an ‘A’ in your Maths tests and you’re not getting any then showing your working out is a good first step to take.

If You Do Show Your Work In Maths

Then you’ll:

  • Find Maths easier to do.
  • Understand and remember it better.
  • Be more confident with Maths.
  • Get your Maths done more quickly.
  • Get better marks in your Maths tests.
  • Start moving towards the top of the class.

So Ask Yourself

Would you rather be good at Maths or struggle with it?

Would you like to get an ‘A’ in Maths?

If you want Maths to be easy and you want good marks then the easy way is to put the time in by showing your working. When you put the effort in at the beginning it is so much easier and takes less time later on when it comes to studying for the test.

You never know you might surprise yourself and get 100% for a test.

  • William Mandel Jan 31, 2013 @ 12:24

    Thank you for your clarity. We homeschool and this is a constant battle. I will share this with my son.

  • michael wion Aug 24, 2013 @ 15:29

    You’re welcome. I hope this has helped your son.

  • Joshua Sep 19, 2014 @ 9:11

    As a gifted HS student, I’d say you are right about much of this. However, as a person who tends to make 100’s in the vast majority of light math assignments, this sort of thing is extremely illogical. I just got back three papers, with all problems being correct, with 70’s, only because I did not show my work entirely. This makes very little sense to me, even if the teacher is trying to force a habit so I will show my work for tasks in which I HAVE to show my work. I shouldn’t be getting minimum C’s for A+ work.

    • michael wion Mar 10, 2015 @ 2:51

      Well what I used to say to my students was “If you don’t show any working you won’t get full marks”.

      And then I explained to them that if they don’t show any working out then they might not have known how to do it and guessed the answer and got it correct.

      Or they might have copied off someone else’s work or they actually did know how to do it and didn’t show steps.

      I understand that you find Maths easy to do but I guess it’s just part of the deal when you do Maths at school – gotta do what your teacher wants or you don’t get the marks.

  • chandler Mar 9, 2015 @ 9:33

    should we have to show our work if we can use calculators?

    • michael wion Mar 10, 2015 @ 2:44

      It really depends on what Maths problems you’re doing and what your teacher wants.
      If you really want to make Maths easier to understand then the most effective way of doing Maths I believe is to show the steps in your working and then use your calculator in the final calculation.
      That way you remember the steps and you really understand the concepts much better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

four + eight =