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For many people, calculus is one of the hardest math classes that they will ever take in their entire lives. Most of us take math in high school and then some math in college and many people actually stop with calculus.
I’m going to share several things that you can do if you’re studying calculus that will help you get an A in the class. The first thing that you should do if you’re taking calculus is to actually do the homework. It is absolutely critical that you do all of the homework.
Never skip the calculus problems
Don’t skip any problems if there are like 30 problems in each section or 20 problems, it doesn’t matter how many problems are assigned, you should do all of them. This is an absolute requirement and it is also a bad thing. Like if you don’t like your class and you have to do the homework, that’s no fun. But always just tell yourself, why am I here? Why am I taking this class? What am I doing this for? And that would keep you motivated and it will help you finish the homework. So, again, the first thing you need to do is actually just make sure that you do all of the homework. The second thing you should do is extremely important and it’s to go over your notes. So if you’re in a physical classroom and you’re taking notes, write them down, write down as much as you can, and then when you get home, make sure you just go over all of your notes.
Make it a habit doing the notes
If you’re watching videos — make notes from the videos. So as you watch the videos, pause the video, and write stuff down, that is the beauty of online classes. That is the beauty of videos. Because if you’re taking a class and it’s in person, a lot of times it’s really hard to write down everything the teacher says and pay attention. At the same time.
I know people who just sit there and they don’t take notes and they say they have a picture memory. That’s great for those people. I’m not one of those people. I’m a note-taker. I have to go back and I have to read it many, many, many times in order to fully understand it. Most of the time when I watch a video like a lecture video, or if I go to a classroom and watch an actual lecture in a classroom, I understood maybe 60 to 70 percent of what was being taught. That’s it. 60 to 70 percent of what was being taught is what I understood. So I’m not one of those people who has a picture memory. So notetaking was always critical. And then going over those notes is super, super key. So, again, if you’re taking a live class, does write down as much as you can, and then when you get home, just make sure to dissect those notes and go through them line by line, rewrite them in a neater fashion.
So you have them in a place that you can access them. And also the act of writing down on a piece of paper, writing down everything that you learned, just writing it again makes you learn. Right. It’s not just about sitting down and watching a video or listening to a lecture and absorbing it. No, no, no. If it was that easy, everyone would do it right and you wouldn’t be watching this video. Everyone would just like, oh, yeah, that makes sense. And they would just get it in. Calculus doesn’t work that way. Right. By writing it down again, it is extremely, extremely beneficial. Also just for emphasis. If it’s an online class and you’re watching videos, make notes of the videos, pause the video, rewind it, watch it again, and then make sure you can do the examples that were in the videos on your own without watching the video. For most people, that will be enough. You will get it in the class if you actually do that, if you can actually redo all of the examples from class, usually that’s enough to get a really, really, really good grade. Even in the third thing that you should do is to actually redo the homework. Now, this seems completely insane, I think, to a lot of people. To me, it does not. I am an overture. Right? I wouldn’t I don’t want to say overachievers, because I don’t think I’m that. But I totally tend to overdo it. Whether I overachieve, I don’t know, maybe achieve to some extent, but not an overachiever overdo or so I would study excessively.
Redo the calculus
I would do all of the homework and then just redo it. Right. Just do it again, just randomly pick problems and then just do them. I know this seems excessive and it takes a lot of time, but if you want to get it in your class, think about how much it means to you. Are you willing to make that sacrifice? You’re willing to do all of the homework, go over Aldrich’s, and then redo the homework? Trust me, it is totally worth it. The fourth thing you should do is to actually pay attention to the topic list for the exam. So hopefully if you’re taking a class, your teacher has told you what to study like, hey, make sure you go over this, this, this. And this is what I do because I teach now is in my face-to-face classes. I do like an in-class review and I go over all of the topics in my online classes. I give them a list of topics and they do the homework in those topics. They will get like they can get a guarantee. Now everyone is different, every teacher is different. So what you will see on a test will vary from teacher to teacher. The war situation is your teacher says, Hey. Go over topics X, Y, Z, and then you take a test and it’s something completely different. That is the absolute worst-case scenario. So if that happens, you have a fallback plan, right? You’re doing all of the homework.
You’re redoing all of the homework already. And you’re redoing all of the videos or lecture note examples. Right. You’re redoing all of your notes. So in theory, because you’re doing that on top of going over a topic list, if you have one, then you’re pretty much guaranteed to get a good grade. You’re going to do better. If you do that much, you’re probably going to get an A. Trust me, I’ve taken a lot of math classes. I’m not saying some super genius, but I’ve taken a lot of classes and have gotten a lot of A’s and I’ve taken a lot of tests. I feel like I’m a professional T.A. at this point. Is that a good life skill? Probably not. But hopefully, by sharing this with you, it will help you in some way. The next thing that you can do is actually something that’s a little bit strange. And it’s something I’ve actually I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this before. It’s studying for speed, speed, speed. This was something that I was always naturally good at. I was always really fast. I was always really fast doing math problems. Is it bad? No, it can be, though. It can be bad. There is a negative aspect to being fast and being able to do problems fast. That negative aspect is when you encounter a new topic or a new problem. I tend to want to do it quickly. I’m impatient. I’m like, oh yeah, I can just do it.
Force yourself to slow down when doing a calculus
I should be able to just do it. And then when I get stuck I’m like, Oh, what do I do? So I have to force myself to slow down. So on a test for test-taking purposes, speed is your friend. So to study for speed, what you do is you make sure that you can actually redo all of the homework problems and all of the examples from the videos or the live lecture that you have quickly and correctly work on speed. And the reason speed is important is that you’re taking a time test. Now, you might not agree with that. You might say, hey, you know, well, I should be able to have more time. If I had more time, I’d be OK. I’m a little bit slow. That is not the reality of life. That is just not how it works. You can’t change that and I can’t change that. But what you can do is change what you can. And that’s yourself, right? Make yourself faster. I had this friend in grad school. The guy was brilliant. I mean, I just got goosebumps so smart. And he was the opposite of me. He was what I like to call a careful thinker. He was able to think slowly and work out really difficult problems and just like beautiful ways. And whenever I work with him, I would learn from him because I realized that I was much faster than him. I would jump into, oh, we could do it like this.
Know just choose your Absolon to be this. And I would just blow through it. Whereas he had this like, well, let’s just take it easy, man. And he would like, you know, to slow down and go a little bit slower. He actually failed a test in grad school. He got like a forty percent on a test and he actually came back from that and got an A-plus in the class because he was able to work on speed. So speed is important. It is a reality of test-taking. So when you’re ready for the test, go back and start working on speed, start doing things fast. This last one is like the I don’t even know the word the ultimate. Maybe it’s nirvana. If you reach this, you’ve reached Nirvana. I think I’m using the right word. Maybe not. It’s like this enlightenment stage. And what is that? Well, basically, you study so much that you can just relax the day before the test. Now, I’m saying you should do this. And I feel like a bit of I think the word is a hypocrite because, you know, I haven’t really been able to reach this stage many times, but I have reached it. And I got this idea from a friend I used to have because we would all be studying the day before the test and he would be ready for the test. He would just be sitting back of the hey, what are you doing, man? It’s like, oh, I’m just going to watch movies and play some video games going out with my girlfriend.
The test was the next day, but he was done. He was ready. So he would study so much that the day before the test he would just relax. I’ve done that a few times, maybe four or five times in my life. And let me tell you, on those tests, I have done really well. There’s something about studying a lot and being prepared ahead of time and then just relaxing the day before the test. Now, on the day of the test, you should still look everything over. Just glance it over. Don’t do it, but just look everything over and make sure that you can do it before your test. But if you can reach that stage where, like, you can just, like, relax before the test, you got this. So those are things that you can do that will help you get in and calculus and you can actually apply these things to any math class. I just want to talk about calculus, because calculus is a class that you. Most people have to take if they’re going into any type of science or engineering type degree, employ these strategies and let me know what you think.
If you have other tips for people, you’ll leave a comment!