How to get an “A” in calculus

Published by Boni on

How to excel in Calculus

For someone looking inside a calculus class, everyone sitting there is a genius. Well, it is true that you need to have done well in previous math classes to have ended up here but that is certainly no guarantee that you will pass the class. Just being in a calculus class will not make you pass your tests and exams. As many students and teachers of the subject say, you got to put in some real work. Here are a few tips to help you understand the content well enough to do well in your exams;

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1. Allocate Adequate Time to Study Calculus

Most students who fail in calculus rarely do so for lack of intellectual ability. Actually, many students will fail because they did not allow themselves sufficient time to interact with the subject. Ideally, there is no rule as to how much time you need to polish up your abilities in calculus; consider the grade you want to score and your intellectual ability.

Going by what teachers and top scoring calculus students say, setting aside 15-20 hours per week will put you on the road to an A. Ensure that you also get to understand the simple Calculus concepts that will be used throughout the course.

2. Keep up Pace With Your Teacher

It is generally assumed that everyone who attends a calculus class has been performing well in their mathematics courses. To ensure that you keep your learning pace in line with the teacher’s pace, spend some time away from class catching up before attending the next class.

3. Attend Each and Every Class

Having a calculus teacher that explains concepts clearly, reveals techniques for tackling any problems within the subject, is genuinely concerned about you and cracks you up with jokes during class time is some great motivation to attend all classes. Even if none of the above happens in your class, attending class will make learning calculus much easier.

Did you know that hearing and watching as calculus problems are solved impacts greatly on your abilities? If you have a genuine reason for failing to attend class, make sure to catch up before the next class even if it means requesting a fellow student to assist you with the vocalization.

4. Form a Study Group

Getting help with calculus homework from a trusted stats homework help service, a friend, or studying with someone who attends the same class as you does more in the grasping content compared to working on your own.

It has been observed that students who have study groups rarely score below a B in their calculus exams. Instead of spending a lot of time going through curse material alone, you can spend a couple of hours 2-3 times a week to do better in your classes.

Even when the teacher appears to be covering all topics in calculus effectively, there are still plenty of reasons to use a textbook;

  • To get a rough idea of problem solving techniques and concepts
  • To better understand the material
  • To master different approaches used to solve problems
  • To find a connection between current material and other topics

When reading a calculus textbook, try to focus on one section at a time. In a section, look through the pictures read the explanations given. For content that looks complicated, there is no point of writing it down or underlining it; just skip it. Going through a textbook gives insight on a lesson before it is taught. You can ask your teacher to make sense of the hard areas in or out of class.

After the teacher has explained that which you could not understand by yourself, go through the chapter one more time. This time around however, take note of the introduction, explanation, illustration and proof. If you realize that you are taking time before moving to the next section, do not panic; this is the mastering stage where you need to question and interrogate everything.

It might take you more than one round of reading to completely understand sections and examples provided in text books.  As you revisit sections, mark the questions you still cannot understand with a mark you can erase later if you grasp the concept.

Do you feel that you have exhausted a certain section and are confident of your ability to apply this newly acquired knowledge? How about you try to solve the problems that are given? Make sure you arrive at the answer without reference to the examples but applying techniques you have revised earlier in the course.

5. Learn to Think Through the Problems

Most students will start to solve a problem by first reading the question, then working out an answer which they will them check against the provided answers. For wrong answers, they will manipulate their formula until they get it “correct.” If this is your style of going through the problems sections of a textbook, you have not given yourself enough time to master calculus questions. If you get a wrong answer, you must not proceed to the next until you have understood where you missed the point. Ideally, try to do other same kind of questions until you are confident of the process.

It is normal to want to be right, but a correct answer without a correct process will earn you more fails than passes. For every practice question that you tackle, strive to understand the requirements of solving the problem even before you begin. Typically, it makes sense to go through your process after you are done working on a problem to establish that the right strategy was applied.

6. Practice, Practice, and Practice More

The phrase, “practice makes perfect” applies a whole lot to calculus. If you want to be good at a hobby, skill and even art, the secret lies in the amount of time you spend sharpening what you already know. This time is also important in acquiring new skills and comparing various strategies used. You will need to borrow textbooks from your friends, teachers or library just to see how different questions are framed and various approached used.

7. Hire a Tutor

There is a large community of people who have mastered calculus to expert level. While you might never even hear of most of them in your lifetime, a few are willing to offer help with calculus homework to students just like you  – explore such avenues to your advantage.

Calculus is an exciting and fun subject to learn; you only need to develop the right attitude towards it.

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