I would suggest:
1) Always work hard in class and do your homework each day.
2) Try to understand both the "how to do it" and the "why that works".
The "why that works" seems to last longer in my brain and if I forget how to do something
but remember the why, then (usually) I can figure out for the "how."
3) If possible, work with someone. Usually, this makes the work more enjoyable and if you
can't do something, the other person (or persons) may be able to explain what you
need to do. Also, if you explain something to someone else, it will remain clearer
in your mind.
4) Know all the arithmetic facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division tables).
This will allow you to concentrate on the new stuff without having to spend most of your
time trying to figure out the old stuff.
5) Try to understand how the math represents the world. Some students try to memorize
geometric facts (parallel lines, corresponding angles, etc) where they could just look around
the room and see examples of them.