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Show Your Work


Social-Emotional Learning MS/HS/College Strategy


Organization Working Memory Attention Verbal Reasoning Verbal Memory Abstract Reasoning Visual Memory Spatial Perception

Show Your Work

Always show your work rather than erasing what you did, throwing out scrap paper, or doing everything in your head so that your teacher can see your thought process and you can self-correct by tracking what you did.

How To Apply It!

  1. For math and science problems, write down each step, trying to avoid too much work in your head. This can help trace errors to problems with conceptual understanding versus a computational error.
  2. Allow sufficient space to solve each problem so you can clearly write the sequential steps. If you write so small so that you cannot easily read your writing, it will not help very much. It is very unlikely that a teacher will have a concern about your using extra sheets of paper so use as much space as you need to write large and clear.
  3. Use graph paper or multi-colored pencils to keep your work organized.
  4. When writing essays, keep copies of your brainstorming ideas, outlines and drafts. Understanding why you eliminated ideas or where you changed course can help if you decide you need to pivot again in your thinking.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Showing work and writing down your process steps is important for all students, but it is especially important for students with weaker working memory, attention and critical thinking skills. Being able to reference the process steps in a problem or assignment will allow you to follow your thought processes if you need to go back and check your work or are interrupted in the middle of the problem.