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If you’ve ever taken calculus, you know that it can be a challenging subject. It’s been called one of the hardest subjects in mathematics, and if you’re taking it in your first year of college, there’s even more pressure to perform well in class and on exams.
Don’t despair because, with the right approach, you can learn calculus all by yourself and without the help of a tutor. Here is how.
6 Tips to Improve Calculus Without a Tutor
Make the Most of Class Time
In any calculus class, you’ll be expected to keep up with the material and do well on tests. Here are some tips for making the most of your time in class:
- Take notes. It’s a good idea to take notes while listening because this will help you remember what was said. You can also use the lecture to check if you understand what’s going on by writing down any questions or doubts in your notebook. That way, they will remain fresh in your mind when it comes time to ask them later. If there’s something new that doesn’t make sense, write it down and try to figure out how it works before asking anyone else about it. You might find an easier way than anyone else does.
- Ask questions during lectures if something isn’t clear or makes no sense whatsoever (and only then). Don’t interrupt more than, once though. After two tries, maybe give someone else a chance. This can be hard but don’t worry too much about being embarrassed if things go wrong.
Take Advantage of Online Resources
Online resources are a great way to learn calculus. You can use them for self-study, as supplementary material, for practice tests and problems, or even for course notes. The more you use online resources and get into the habit of checking them regularly, the better your overall understanding will be.
You can find several videos on calculus 1 and calculus 2 lessons. These videos are expert-made, and lessons delivered through them are easy to understand. So, even the hardest topics feel relatively easy when you learn them through these video lessons.
Work Through Example Problems by Yourself
The best way to improve at calculus is to work through example problems on your own. First, identify the steps in solving the problem. Look for things like variables, what they represent, how they’re related (like graphs), and what operations you need to perform (like derivatives or integrals).
Then, use these examples as a guide for figuring out which steps are required when solving a particular problem. Isolate parts of the problem until it’s reduced down into something manageable by using what you know about that type of problem. If there are variables involved in an equation, use them as substitutes for whatever value you don’t know yet. This can help isolate certain aspects of an equation so that they look more familiar and easier to solve.
Study With a Group
Make a study group specifically for calculus. If you’re struggling with calculus, it can be very helpful to have someone else who is also struggling. You can learn from each other, motivate each other to do the work, and study together to ensure that you don’t get behind in your classwork or homework.
Ask questions during the class and discuss those answers in your group studies. The more people you have in your group and the more questions you can ask in class, the better you can learn. Equal participation within the group is necessary for this to work. You cannot expect one person to do all the talking and explaining while everyone else only listens and does not contribute to the discussion.
Use a Guidebook
A guidebook can help you understand the concepts, and it will also be useful when it comes to studying for tests. It’s a great idea to use your guidebook as a study aid because it will help you retain information better than if you were just relying on memory or class notes alone.
A good guidebook should have plenty of practice problems at the end of each chapter so that students can learn how to apply their knowledge in real-world situations. The best way for students struggling with calculus is through guided learning which relies heavily on repetition over time. So, make sure that your guidebook has plenty of practice material that you can solve later.
Get Plenty of Rest
It’s no secret that sleep is critical for learning, but many students don’t get enough sleep when they have a test coming up, especially when it is a subject like calculus.
Ensure you get at least eight hours every night, and if possible, even more. The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you are studying hard, it might mean going to bed earlier than normal or waking up earlier than usual to make time for additional study time before class starts.
Since you will be practicing a lot of calculus, you will need to give your brain the time to rest and recover. Otherwise, it will be hard for you to concentrate while practicing the problems or trying to grasp a certain concept.
Calculus is hard, and no one can deny it. Even with two or three tutors, students often fail to get a good grade in this subject. However, if you stick to these tips and practice hard, you won’t need a tutor to land an A+ in calculus.